Like most people, I occasionally put my foot in my mouth. That can involve calling a friend by the wrong name, making a double entendre, or realizing that I’ve just asked out a nun. Well, technically she was a sister.
Last year, I visited Aquinas College (a Catholic university in Tennessee) to watch a friend receive an award for a paper he’d written. There were other students up for awards that night, and more than a few of them were wearing habits.
The sisters gave informed talks on a number of issues, including religious freedom in Vietnam and the relationship between suffering and free will. One was particularly well spoken, so I approached her after the event concluded. She proved to be a fascinating conversationalist, and at some point I simply forgot that this woman belonged to a religious order. After about twenty minutes, I inquired if she was on Facebook. When she said that she wasn’t, I noted that I would “be in the area for a while, so if you want to meet up for coffee…”
I don’t recall the exact moment when it clicked that the person I was asking out on a date had taken a vow of celibacy. What I do recall was the unmitigated wave of embarrassment that followed; while I’m not Catholic, I knew this wasn’t a varsity move. The sister seemed to be aware of my embarrassment, because she made the sort of facial expression you’d give a puppy who’s just tripped over his ball.
Given this experience, I try to have sympathy for those who make foolish remarks. An opportunity to do that came up recently when a commenter named EdinburhEye announced that, “Anyone who opposes public funds being used to pay for safe legal abortions for poor women, is obviously anti-life: they support clinics like Kermit Gosnell’s.”
As you probably know, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was a Philadelphia abortionist convicted of killing three newborn babies along with a patient, Karnamaya Mongar. Witnesses at Gosnell’s trial spoke of filthy operating rooms, aborted corpses left to rot in refrigerators, and how the doctor gleefully joked about killing his young victims. The grand jury report on these events cited a number of contributing factors, including the hands-off approach to regulating abortion that had been taken under Pennsylvania’s pro-abortion governor, Tom Ridge. What it did not identify as a catalyst, however, was a lack of public funding.
There’s certainly no shortage of funding at America’s largest abortion provider: last year, Planned Parenthood received over half a billion dollars in federal money. In fact, the organization has been collecting nine figure government checks for some time now. Has the extra cash helped to protect vulnerable women? Denise Fairbanks seems to feel otherwise.
Ms. Fairbanks alleged in a lawsuit that she was brought to Planned Parenthood for an involuntary abortion by her incestuous father. Although she claimed to have explicitly informed clinic staff of what had happened, Planned Parenthood’s employees simply aborted her baby and then turned her back over to the abuser.
The stepdaughters of Timothy Smith and Gary Cross have a similar story–both were sent to Planned Parenthood to cover up the abuse they suffered. This was especially difficult for Cross’ stepdaughter since her baby was 22 weeks along and thus couldn’t be killed via vacuum aspiration. Instead, the child had to be manually dismembered one piece at a time. That gets even more disturbing when you consider the evidence compiled by Dr. Kawaljeet Anand at the University of Tennessee: his research suggests that a fetus can experience pain at just 20 weeks.
These cases are consistent with the damning footage Live Action has shot at Planned Parenthood facilities. In 2011, volunteers with hidden cameras went to clinics and presented themselves as sex traffickers using underage prostitutes. Time and again, the volunteers encountered staff members who were willing to lend a hand, with one employee offering to arrange involuntary abortions on girls who “can’t speak English” and “won’t know what’s going on.”
Planned Parenthood hasn’t just failed to prevent predatory abortions–apparently it can’t even provide sanitary conditions. In 2013, two nurses, Joyce Vasikonis and Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, spoke publicly about the “meat-market” atmosphere they witnessed while working for Planned Parenthood of Delaware. Some of the lowlights included unwashed operating tables, unsterilized instruments, and an “assembly line” attitude towards performing abortions.
Given the crushingly depressive nature of these facts, you might be wondering if I have anything positive to add. Well, if you’ve found yourself unexpectedly pregnant, then I have some good news: there are alternatives to having Planned Parenthood convert your baby into medical waste.
Sites like Adoptimist.com and Parentprofiles.com feature hopeful couples who are eager to give your child a loving home, while the volunteers at Optionline.org can help you find pregnancy care resources in your area. Finally, the group StandUpGirl provides a place online where you can connect with women who have been in similar situations.
And, if you’re not impressed with what your tax dollars are subsidizing, you’re far from alone. Live Action has established a petition calling for Congress to end its annual subsidy of Planned Parenthood; you can sign it here, along with more evidence of the abortion lobby’s corruption. You can also help by holding pro-abortion politicians responsible for their agenda. The simple truth is that although making a foolish comment might warrant sympathy, Planned Parenthood and their friends in Washington are in need of some accountability.