Investigative

3 ways Planned Parenthood’s counselors are trained to promote abortion as a social good

abortion, woman pregnancy, pregnancy centers

Recently, the pro-life group Feminists for Life obtained some internal Planned Parenthood documents used for training new employees. The documents, developed by Planned Parenthood and The Consortium of Abortion Providers, give sample questions women might ask their Planned Parenthood “counselors” before agreeing to have abortions, along with three sample answers, telling abortion workers which answer is the preferable, correct one.

This article discusses three sample statements from the training, each from a woman in a slightly different situation.

The top of the training literature states, “Women have abortions for a variety of reasons. Including because they care about themselves, their families or their future families.”

Below are some sample statements from this training literature which a woman might make, along with their “right” and “wrong” answers, according to Planned Parenthood. These statements and responses all promote abortion as a positive thing for women and their families:

1. “One thing I know is that I’ve always, always wanted children. But if I had a kid now, I’d be stuck for the rest of my life.”

Sample answer #1: “You wouldn’t be stuck; lots of women say there’s never a time when they’re really ‘ready’ to have a baby, yet somehow we’re all here.”

It should come as no surprise that, according to Planned Parenthood, this is not the right answer.

Planned Parenthood officials don’t want their workers to say anything that might dissuade a woman from going through with her abortion. After all, if the woman walks out the door, Planned Parenthood makes no money. Planned Parenthood does not sell keeping the baby or placing the baby with an adoptive family – they sell abortion. So this answer is not the correct one.

Sample answer #2: “Good for you for realizing that. It sounds like you know exactly what you’re doing.”

From Planned Parenthood’s perspective, this seems like a good answer; after all, it affirms the woman’s decision to have an abortion. But there is a reason why this is not the “right” answer.

Planned Parenthood’s aim goes beyond simply selling a woman an abortion in the here and now. Planned Parenthood isn’t just selling a one-time product; it is selling a viewpoint that abortion is good. As we saw in my previous article, many women still view abortion as a bad thing with a stigma attached. There is still a sense in society that abortion is morally wrong.

Planned Parenthood wants to destroy that. In Planned Parenthood’s pro-abortion world, abortion is a positive good for women and for society. It wants women to believe abortion is good for themselves and for others. The more a woman sees abortion in a positive light, the more likely she is to see abortion as the answer to future pregnancies and the more likely she is to support Planned Parenthood’s political goals. It is not enough to concede to an abortion; abortion must be presented in the most positive light possible.

Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson explains in a quote from a webcast by And Then There Were None, a pro-life outreach to abortion industry workers:

[T]he talking point [at Planned Parenthood] was that women choose abortion because they care about themselves, their future families, and their current families. And so it turned abortion away from focusing on the baby and turned it more as a life decision. A positive life decision.

It is not enough for it to be “the woman’s choice” for her own self-interest. Planned Parenthood needs to frame abortion not just as a convenient choice, but as the morally right choice. To the woman, and to the public at large, abortion must be a social good. The problem with this is that nothing about abortion is actually good:

Sample answer #3 (Planned Parenthood’s “correct” answer): “It sounds like you are preparing to be the best mother you can be someday.”

In this way, if a woman has any lingering doubts or guilt about aborting her baby, they are eased by the implication that she will be a better mother to her future children because of her abortion. The idea is that by aborting this baby now, she can be a more selfless and dedicated mother when the time is right.

Abortion is presented not just as a solution to a problem but as a way to create a better world by creating better mothers.

2. “I can never tell my family about this. They are really strongly against abortion. But my husband and I already have three kids, and we’re struggling every day as it is.”

Planned Parenthood uses the woman’s devotion to her other family members as a way to manipulate her feelings, turning the attention off of the child yet unseen and on to the family members who are seen.

Planned Parenthood’s “approved” answer: “Some people are very judgmental about the hard choices we face. And others… They’re going to support you because they know you’re trying to do what’s best for your family.”

This response paints abortion as something that’s not just best for the woman, but best for everyone involved (except for the preborn child). The intended message is that abortion actually improves families, when the reality is that abortion destroys certain family members in favor of the perceived preservation of other family members.

3. “I really don’t believe in abortion. I believe in personal responsibility. So, I never thought I’d have to even consider abortion.”

Sample answer #1: “I hear you have some strong feelings against abortion. If you like, we can talk about your other options.”

From Planned Parenthood’s perspective, this is definitely not the right answer. Planned Parenthood doesn’t want a woman to choose another option besides abortion.

Sample answer #2: “You wouldn’t believe how many people who say they’re against abortion are suddenly for it when they need it.”

This affirms the woman’s choice, but it also highlights the woman’s conflict, carrying with it a subtle negative slant, and therefore, Planned Parenthood says this answer is the wrong one. It implies that an abortion decision is a self-serving one — something to do because it’s better for her personally, despite the woman’s better judgement. As we’ve seen, this is not the message Planned Parenthood wants women to receive.

Planned Parenthood does not want a woman to feel that abortion is wrong or selfish; staffers need to distract the woman from her negative feelings about abortion.

Planned Parenthood’s “correct” answer: “It sounds like you did everything you possibly could to prevent a pregnancy. For a lot of women, that can feel so unfair.”

This immediately distracts the woman from the question of whether abortion is right or wrong. Instead, it portrays the woman as a victim in an unfair situation, whose birth control has let her down.

The worker has skillfully maneuvered the woman away from her negative feelings on abortion, changing the subject. The counselor can now guide the conversation into a better direction for Planned Parenthood, taking the negative emotions and conflict the woman feels about abortion and replacing them with anger at the failure of the woman’s birth control. Those negative feelings about abortion have been supplanted by feelings of anger over the existence of the pregnancy and a sense of victimhood.

The thing to take away from these sample statements and responses is that Planned Parenthood is not just trying to get women to submit to abortions. They are trying to make women view abortion itself differently, not as a negative thing but as a positive decision.

This is how Planned Parenthood takes what could be a one-time decision and makes it a lifelong dedication to the pro-abortion movement driven by the belief that abortion is good and moral.

Source: Serrin M Foster “What to Expect When You’re Expecting at Planned Parenthood” The American Feminist Fall/Winter 2016

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