Usually the century mark for a person, place, or thing is a momentous and joyous occasion. Not so this time.
On Sunday, Planned Parenthood turned 100. Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers are marking the organization’s birthday in hashtags: #100YearsOfAbuse and #100YearsStrong, respectively.
But the statistics that have emerged from that 100-year reign are staggering. The award for “most notable” goes to—more than 7 million abortions.
And Cecile Richards has claimed: “We’ve made incredible gains during our first century and we’re just getting started. We will build on our proud legacy and launch our second century with as much passion, courage, and conviction as our first.”
Planned Parenthood is likely here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future), but that doesn’t mean we stop having conversations about the organization and the truth behind its practices.
Here are three ways to talk to someone in your life about Planned Parenthood.
Whether pro-life or pro-choice, it’s safe to assume you want women to have access to quality health care.
The definition of “quality health care” is where the two sides diverge. It seems reasonable to claim that quality health care should include a safe and clean environment where nurses and doctors provide all the information to a patient. And if that patient is pregnant, the information provided includes an ultrasound with a detectable heartbeat.
But to start with common ground means to establish the low bar of quality health care as a right we can all support. Don’t wade into the bothersome details just yet.
Though Planned Parenthood has escaped the restriction of federal funds, the facts don’t lie and are hard to deny. It’s very important to cite the numerous other health care providers, what services they perform, and their accessibility.
First, there are 20 times as many federally qualified health care centers that serve women as Planned Parenthoods. The argument that closing Planned Parenthood clinics or restricting their funds will inhibit access to quality health care for women is ridiculous. Don’t we want women to have access to a health care provider in their neighborhood? Doesn’t proximity matter?
Second, The Daily Signal cited a few interesting numbers. Planned Parenthood claims about 30 percent of all abortions in the United States every year. Compare this outrageous number to the percentage of Pap tests performed (less than 1 percent) and breast exams (less than 2 percent).
If a woman needs a mammogram (which Planned Parenthood is not licensed to perform), why not remove the middleman that Planned Parenthood has become? Don’t we want clinics that offer access to every health service instead of just a few?
Third, we’re all aware of the horrifying videos released by David Daleiden that raised questions about the selling of baby parts by Planned Parenthood for profit. (Planned Parenthood had denied any illegal activity.) Though the organization has avoided suffering any major consequences, the videos exist and those conversations are difficult to forget.
If we care about women, it’s important to point out that altering abortions (therefore putting a woman’s health in danger) in order to make a profit is not only illegal, but heartbreaking. Women deserve the truth, and they deserve better.
Words are one of the best defenses you have in this conversation. It’s “baby” vs. “fetus,” and neither side can change what terms they use because both risk losing the argument. So, stick with “unborn baby/child.” Humanize the life the other side refuses to.
Also, talk about rights. Pro-choicers love to talk about the human right to do with your body what you want. But their opinion of when the same rights do/don’t apply to an unborn child are loose (at best), and are usually defined by convenience. So, fight back.
Steal the word “rights” to talk about the unborn child and their right to dignity and respect. As medical advances show more clearly when life begins, the battle for the word “rights” becomes more important.
Just make sure that when talking about Planned Parenthood and abortion you don’t demonize the women who’ve chosen this option. Many have been lied to and felt like they had no choice. To win this argument is to show compassion—for the mother and for the baby growing inside her.
Planned Parenthood has been around for 100 years, but that doesn’t mean the organization will celebrate another century of “success”—especially with the rise of health care technology, social media, and your willingness to have a conversation about the true nature of its practice.
Gather your facts, establish common ground (remember: this is a conversation, not a shouting match), cite examples, and choose your words wisely.
Beverly Hallberg is a contributor to The Daily Signal, a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and president of District Media Group.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by The Daily Signal.