Affiliates Leave Planned Parenthood Over New Abortion Directive

Planned Parenthood in Oklahoma does not do abortions. So far as I know, it has never done them.

It refers women for abortions and advocates for abortion, but it does not do them.

Based on that, I believed, back in my pro choice days, that Planned Parenthood did not do abortions, at all. I don’t remember if they told me that, or I just assumed it, based on my contacts with Planned Parenthood in Oklahoma. I do know I didn’t explore the question, mostly because I didn’t care one way or the other. At that point in my life, it would have been fine with me if they had performed abortions at their facilities.

Years later, when I came out of my stay-at-home-mom hibernation, I discovered that Planned Parenthood was the nation’s largest abortion provider. However, Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in Oklahoma still, at least based on what I was told, did not do abortions. Planned Parenthood was, through the voices of its lobbyists, the voice of abortion at the legislature, but they didn’t actually do abortions themselves.

However, based on what I’ve read about a new Planned Parenthood directive, I think that is about to change. Planned Parenthood issued a new directive a few months ago requiring all affiliates to perform abortions at their sites. I assume that means that the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Oklahoma will follow this directive and will be, or may even be now, performing abortions.

It turns out that not all Planned Parenthood affiliates are willing to do this. A smattering of affiliates around the country have cut their ties with the larger Planned Parenthood organization over this directive. To be honest, this surprises me. I’m don’t know why they made this decision. But it is encouraging to hear.

The NBC News story (which I believe is biased toward the pro-choice position) discussing this reads in part:


A Planned Parenthood affiliate in New York is leaving the organization rather than comply with a policy that all affiliates must offer on-site abortions, fueling hopes among anti-abortion activists of a split within the abortion-rights movement. But the move is an isolated one that has nothing to do with political battles, officials of the family planning organization say, and the policy appears likely to take effect in the new year with little disruption.

M. Alex JohnsonM. Alex Johnson is a reporter for NBC News. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

The decision last week by Planned Parenthood of South Central New York to go independent comes as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is fighting legislative attempts in several states to bar it from receiving state health funds because the organization provides abortions.

Planned Parenthood oversees 74 regional affiliates that operate about 800 offices and clinics across the country. The affiliates don’t provide a standard menu of services, however, leading Planned Parenthood in late 2010 to issue a directive requiring them to offer a roster of core services — including cancer screenings and HIV testing in addition to on-site abortions — in at least one of their locations by 2013.

Matt Yonke, a spokesman for the Pro-Life Action League, an anti-abortion group, said the decision by the New York affiliate highlighted that some Planned Parenthood workers were “deeply uncomfortable with what goes on inside their workplace” and were being backed into a corner.

“No matter what conglomeration of services your Planned Parenthood affiliate provides, it had better provide abortion, or you’re out because that’s what Planned Parenthood does,” he wrote last week on the group’s website. (Read more here.)

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  • Robert King

    So, just to clarify, it sounds like PPFA is requiring that all local affiliated organizations offer abortion in at least one of their sites (i.e, abortion must be offered in at least one site of those operated by PP-Oklahoma or PPSCNY), but not that every single site (i.e., every office/facility operated by a PP-affiliate) offer abortion.

    My first superficial read misunderstood the distinction between “affiliate” (regional organization) and “site”.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I’m sorry. I didn’t see this. I’ve been preoccupied the past few days with other work. Based on a Daily Caller interview with Lisa David, Vice President of Health Services Support for Planned Parenthood, it is one per affiliate. However, if a copy of the actual directive (some people are calling it a “mandate”) is floating around, I haven’t gotten a copy of it. So what I’m saying is based on this interview and others like.

      The question of “affiliate” is a little bit complex. I believe that here in Oklahoma the Tulsa and Oklahoma County Planned Parenthoods are two separate affiliates. I think they used to have separate boards, which would seem to indicate that. Remember, it’s been decades since I worked with these people, so that my not be accurate today. But I think they are still organized this way.

      If what Ms David and other have said is precisely accurate, then that means there would be two new abortion clinics here in Oklahoma, one each for Oklahoma City and Tulsa. I assume that these would be in direct competition with the three other abortion clinics I know of, as well as the various private doctors and hospitals that do abortions. I don’t think that every single Planned Parenthood office would have to provide abortions.

      You can find a list of Planned Parenthood affiliates here.

  • Fabio P.Barbieri

    I don’t really see the point. These people, even though they may not want to perform abortions themselves – they may not even have the facilities and personnel, it may cost too much for them to set it up now – still were willing to refer women for abortions. In other words, they acted as the gatekeepers. What difference does it make if they do it as part of PP or independently?

  • arkenaten

    Something every Catholic/pro lifer should read.
    Have a couple of tissues handy….

  • Peg

    The difference is we know exactly who,s writing this blog and what her background is . It’s also well researched and fact based. I’m also sure that Rebecca’s blog is not an open forum for atheists to avenge offenses to their beliefs as well but at least she has the bravery to accept open comments.

    I also have tissues for Tanya Reaves and family in Chicago and the families in Conn. Thank God the Catholic church is there at St. Rose of Lima parish to help heal those are are suffering as they do throughout the world. Thank God for all the catholic hospitals and schools and missions and saints like Mother Theresa who serve the least of these daily. All life is sacred– we can see that more than ever today. Instead of trying to disrupt this blog why not go fundraise for an aetheist hospital.