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.
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.)