Human Rights

Abortion patient: Planned Parenthood’s counseling consisted of ‘five terse questions’

Pro-choice author Jennifer Baumgardner, who started the t-shirt campaign “I Had An Abortion” told the story of an abortion patient in her book “Abortion & Life” (New York, NY: Akashic Books, 2008):

I went with my boyfriend and friend to Planned Parenthood. I think I was headed into my eighth week at that point. I went into a room for pre-abortion counseling- five quick, terse questions. I had assumed that I was going to get a half-hour and I would finally be able to tell someone or talk to someone about how freaked out I was, but I didn’t get to.

Pro-life websites and publications are full of testimonies from women who went to Planned Parenthood and were not given adequate counseling. Live Action even documented Planned Parenthood counselors giving false information about the development of preborn babies.

But it is unusual to find such an indictment of Planned Parenthood in a pro-abortion book. It’s a moment of honesty that can be commended, but it is also further evidence that Planned Parenthood shortchanges its patients when it comes to counseling.

A survey of post-abortion women  from David Reardon’s groundbreaking book “Aborted Women: Silent No More” found that 95 percent of women surveyed said, “Planned Parenthood gave “little or no biological information about the fetus which the abortion would destroy.”

Not only did the Planned Parenthood staffer who “counseled” this woman give no information about the preborn baby, he or she did not allow time for the woman to ask questions. Certainly, Planned Parenthood did not screen her to see if she was being coerced into the abortion, or if she was ambivalent and searching for another answer.

Abortion facilities often claim they will never do an abortion on a woman who is ambivalent. Pro-lifers have heard from many, many post-abortion women that this is not the case. It seems clear that in this instance, “five terse questions” is not enough to determine if a woman has doubts about her abortion. Women deserve better than this.

At eight weeks, this abortion patient’s child already had a beating heart, recordable brain waves, and fingers and toes. The abortion would have ripped her limb from limb with violent suction.

Although the patient in this case did not express regret about her abortion in her testimony, it is clear that she has been poorly served by Planned Parenthood. If she had not been aware of fetal development before going into the clinic and did not know how developed her baby was, she could be in for a nasty shock when she finds out.

Women deserve better than this. They deserve to have their needs met in a caring setting. A crisis pregnancy center would sit down with this woman and discuss all her options, giving information about the risks of abortion and, if she is receptive, the development of her preborn baby. They would sit down with her in a one-on-one conversation and take as much time as she needed to sort through her emotions and make an informed choice. It is the crisis pregnancy centers, which the pro-abortion movement misses no opportunity to malign, that would’ve given this woman the attention and care that she needed.

The testimony appearing in Baumgardner’s book is only one small example in a massive heap of evidence that Planned Parenthood serves its clients poorly. To see this admission in a pro-abortion book, where there would be no exaggeration of Planned Parenthood’s flaws, is telling.

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