Analysis

Planned Parenthood erases fact that ectopic pregnancy treatment isn’t an abortion from its website

UPDATE, 7/27/22: Planned Parenthood has responded to the news that they scrubbed their website of information regarding the difference between treating ectopic pregnancy and committing an abortion. In a statement, Adrienne Verrilli, vice president of communications and culture at Planned Parenthood, told the Hill that the language change was due to the pro-life movement, who she said would “twist” their language for nefarious purposes.

“Planned Parenthood believes that everyone should have access to medically accurate information to help them make informed decisions about their health care and their lives — without judgment,” she said. “That is why we regularly update the health information on our website. Anti-abortion politicians, on the other hand, routinely misrepresent language around ectopic pregnancy to serve their own agenda. Our web page on ectopic pregnancy was updated to retain factual information about ectopic pregnancy, while also ensuring that the information could not be twisted or misrepresented by anti-abortion politicians.”

Still, Verrilli continued by admitting that treatment for ectopic pregnancy is not the same thing as an abortion — and ended with fear-mongering about pro-life laws.

“Although these treatments are different from abortion care, many patients and health care providers fear potential civil and criminal penalties around the treatment of pregnancy outcomes — including but not limited to ectopic pregnancy — because of the egregious overturning of Roe v. Wade,” she said. “As a result, patients experiencing an ectopic pregnancy may have life-saving treatment delayed or denied due to providers’ fears of facing legal or criminal repercussions.”

7/21/22: Planned Parenthood has freshly scrubbed its website in light of the media’s attempts to convince women that ectopic pregnancy treatments and other lifesaving procedures are actually abortions. Induced abortion, however, is the intentional killing of a human being before birth.

What did Planned Parenthood purge? A sentence that read, “Treating an ectopic pregnancy isn’t the same thing as getting an abortion.”

The clear distinction that abortion is not necessary to treat dangerous ectopic pregnancies was present on the Planned Parenthood website in 20202021, and most of this year — even as late as July 14, 2022. Since the Supreme Court’s reversal of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, media misinformation has spread like wildfire, muddling the true definition of abortion in the minds of the public.

Just days ago, Live Action News documented that Planned Parenthood’s website stated, “Treating an ectopic pregnancy isn’t the same thing as getting an abortion. Abortion is a medical procedure that when done safely, ends a pregnancy that’s in your uterus. Ectopic pregnancies are unsafely outside of your uterus (usually in the fallopian tubes), and are removed with a medicine called methotrexate or through a laparoscopic surgical procedure. The medical procedures for abortions are not the same as the medical procedures for an ectopic pregnancy.”

Screenshot: PlannedParenthood.org

But because the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision returned the regulation of abortion to the states, suddenly pro-abortion media did its best to conflate abortion and ectopic pregnancy.

Now, Planned Parenthood seems to have scrubbed the verbiage entirely. The website now states instead, “Ectopic pregnancies are unsafely outside of your uterus (usually in the fallopian tubes), and are removed with a medicine called methotrexate or through a laparoscopic surgical procedure. The medical procedures for terminating a pregnancy in the uterus are usually different from the medical procedures for terminating an ectopic pregnancy.”

See screenshots below (left, today; right, July 14, 2022):

Image: Planned Parenthood ectopic pregnancy language change side by side (Accessed July 14 v July 20 of 2022)

Planned Parenthood ectopic pregnancy language change side by side (Accessed July 14 v July 20 of 2022)

This is not the first time Planned Parenthood has edited or scrubbed information from its website once its “facts” conflicted with its agenda.

Scrubbing Sanger

In 2015, as Live Action News previously documented, Planned Parenthood began scrubbing Margaret Sanger’s name from one of its prestigious awards. As you can see in the image below, Planned Parenthood’s so-called “Maggie Award,” named “after Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger,” quietly transitioned into the Planned Parenthood “Media Award.” Sanger was a known eugenicist who selected population control enthusiasts, fellow eugenicists, and white supremacists for her board; she was celebrated by Planned Parenthood for decades.

Though Planned Parenthood had begun to scrub Sanger’s name, there was no public reckoning of her racism. That did not occur until 2020, when accusations of systemic racism and white supremacy from within the corporation surfaced publicly. At that point, Planned Parenthood had to admit the racist legacy of its founder.

Planned Parenthood corporate, along with at least 19 affiliates, also acknowledged a present-day problem of systemic racism within the organization.

Image: PPFA Maggie Award now Media Award

PPFA Maggie Award now called Media Award

Purging prenatal care

In 2017, a Live Action investigation exposed Planned Parenthood for being an abortion-focused corporation. The investigation highlighted the fact that virtually no Planned Parenthood locations provide prenatal care, despite the abortion giant’s public claims to the contrary. Soon after, Planned Parenthood purged its website yet again.

The image below from a Planned Parenthood website in Arizona shows the term “prenatal” in bold on the left-hand side just prior to the Live Action exposé. But just a week after the exposure of Planned Parenthood’s false claims, the capture on the right shows how the term disappeared from Planned Parenthood sites. Several examples of this purge were demonstrated by Live Action News here.

Abortion is not a treatment for ectopic pregnancy 

In 2019, Dr. Patricia Santiago-Munoz, an OB-GYN at UT Southwestern Medical Center, wrote:

Ectopic pregnancy treatment is not the same as abortion. The medical definition of ‘abortion’ is removal of an embryo and placenta from the uterus. This includes termination of unwanted pregnancy as well as otherwise normal pregnancy in which the fetus’ or mother’s life is in danger. Note the phrase ‘from the uterus’ – the only place an embryo can develop into a baby. Logically, treatment cannot be generalized as ‘abortion,’ particularly because many women with ectopic pregnancies planned to conceive and wanted to carry their pregnancies to term…

It is possible for an early ectopic pregnancy to end in miscarriage on its own. However, in most cases it does not, and medical intervention is needed. To treat ectopic pregnancy, the doctor will recommend either a surgical procedure or a medication called methotrexate. In rare occasions, the drug can have serious side effects, such as liver or skin reactions, so it is important to discuss the most appropriate treatment with your doctor.

A June 2022 Politifact post on ectopic pregnancy care also admitted, “Most of the medical experts we talked to were clear that they don’t consider ectopic treatment an abortion.” The article did not detail precisely which “medical experts” Politifact consulted. On July 6, 2022, Vineeta Gupta M.D., J.D told Forbes, “Treatment of ectopic pregnancy, medical or surgical, is not an abortion but a lifesaving intervention,” and the image below of the headline for an article published by VeryWellHealth.com clearly demonstrates this point.

Image: VeryWellHealth Ectopic is not abortion

VeryWellHealth Ectopic is not abortion

In March of 2022, outspoken abortionist Jen Gunter, who has been used by Facebook’s Fact Checker in the past, tweeted, “Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion. It is treatment of an a ectopic pregnancy…” In 2019, Gunter tweeted, “We don’t call treatment of ectopic pregnancy an abortion, we call it treatment of ectopic pregnancy. We don’t do abortions for ectopic pregnancy, we do medical or surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancy.” In a separate Twitter thread Gunter wrote, “Doctors do not call therapy for an ectopic pregnancy an abortion, we call it treatment of an ectopic pregnancy.” She later tweeted, “Speaking with patients is often different and telling someone they were not really pregnant is not correct and could even be cruel. They are pregnant, but it can never result in a live birth. But conflating ectopic pregnancy with abortion is dangerous and wrong.”

So the question remains: why would Planned Parenthood suddenly and at this time choose to remove such clear language about the obvious differences between ectopic pregnancy and abortion?

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