Photographs of ultrasound of pregnancy at 4 weeks and 20 weeks of pregnancy Selective focus.

Rebranding The Culture of Death? Planned Parenthood’s Latest Strategy

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
April 17, 2019

Does Planned Parenthood just need to rebrand its image? That suggestion appeared in a recent headline from the USA Today, which read, “With abortion services in the crosshairs, Planned Parenthood is reshaping its image. Will it work?”

This question overflows with moral significance and urgency. Planned Parenthood believes it needs to recast its image from America’s largest abortion provider to something less politically charged and volatile.

Make no mistake, Planned Parenthood does not intend to halt the abortion services it provides. On the contrary, the organization will continue to provide abortions and it is determined to retain all of its government funding—amounting to over a half billions dollars. Federal law prohibits tax monies flowing directly to abortion procedures, but the tax funding keeps Planned Parenthood in business. And it is a deadly business.

Planned Parenthood wants rebrand itself as one of the nation’s front-line health care providers, thus providing camouflage for its determination to kill unborn babies in the womb.

The article from the USA Today takes a sympathetic approach towards the organization. The first sentences of the article read, “The Trump administration is pushing ahead with its reproductive health agenda. It has rolled out changes to the Title X program, which funds family planning services for low-income people, that are designed to have a chilling effect on organizations that provide abortions or include this option in counseling.”

The USA Today adopts a similar strategy employed by many other pro-abortion activists. They have reframed the discussion by removing the language of ‘abortion’ and replacing it with phrases like ‘reproductive health.’ Part of the rebranding strategy, no doubt, will utilize euphemisms such as this in order to accuse opponents of abortion as opponents of “healthcare.”

Moreover, the last phrase of the paragraph reveals the rhetorical strategy now adopted by the pro-abortion movement. The article accuses President Trump of changing Title X funding policies which will now have a “chilling effect on organization that provide abortions or include this option in counseling.”

Imagine if the article instead read, “President Trump is altering Title X policies in an effort to prevent American taxpayers from paying for abortions.” Or, imagine if the reporters wrote, “The President is determined to uphold the sanctify of human life by removing tax-payer funds from institutions, which provide abortions.” But that is not how the article reads.

Instead, pro-lifers are now opposed to ‘reproductive health,’ and pursue policies that harm low-income families who need ‘family planning services.’

The effort to rebrand the image of Planned Parenthood stems from the public perception of the controversial organization. The article reports, “Planned Parenthood, known as a staunch defender of abortion rights, is working to recast its public image. Under its president, Leana Wen, who took office in November, the nation’s largest reproductive health provider is highlighting the breadth of care it provides—treating depression, screening for cancer and diabetes, and taking on complex health problems like soaring maternal mortality rates.”

Again, words carry enormous meaning. Planned Parenthood is not described as the largest provider of abortions, but as the largest reproductive health provider. They intentionally do not define ‘reproductive health’ so that they can draw attention away from abortion.

The article continues, “This strategy, analysts say, could buttress Planned Parenthood against the efforts by the White House and other abortion opponents. But it’s complicated. Even as the organization leans into its community health work, Wen [the President of Planned Parenthood] isn’t abandoning the abortion-related services that have helped form the organization’s identity—and its opposition.”

Indeed, Dr. Wen said, “We cannot separate out one of our services. That’s not how medicine works.” This raises a larger strategic question and highlights some potential division in the ranks of Planned Parenthood—as the organization attempts to rebrand itself away from an abortion provider, Leana Wen has drawn a line in the sand. She wants abortion front and center. It is central to good ‘medicine.’ So much for successful rebranding.

Despite the apparent quandary, USA Today reports: “The effort to thread the needle could, if successful, change the public’s perception of Planned Parenthood. But if it backfires, it could make the organization even more vulnerable. Some people are skeptical of the payoff, given how polarizing abortion politics are.”

The article then highlights the potential failure of this strategy. USA Today cites Karen O’Conner, a political scientist at American University, who said: “The minute you start talking about abortion, it’s a risky strategy.” The reporters explained that “it’s likely to attract strong reactions from people who see abortion providers not as reproductive health professionals but as ‘baby killers.’” O’Conner then concluded, “If I was doing it—and this is as somebody who studies social movements and women’s organizations—I would take abortion out of the equation and talk about ‘reproductive health is health care.’”

No amount of rebranding, however, will ever change the deadly determination of Planned Parenthood. Indeed, soon after President Trump took office, he dispatched emissaries to propose a deal to Planned Parenthood—if the organization got out of the abortion business, the President would cease all efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding.

Not only did Planned Parenthood say “no,” they emphatically denied the offer and went public in an attempt to embarrass the President. Rather than causing damage to President Trump, Planned Parenthood flew its true colors—they are monomaniacally committed to abortion even if it harms their reputation and costs them taxpayer funding. They doubled-down on their image as the central institution of the culture of death in America.

This PR stunt by Planned Parenthood will eventually fail. Why? Because the organization has time and again run, not away from, but towards abortion. They want to expand abortion coverage and offer this morally atrocious service in the most outrageous circumstances—even offering abortive care to women who want an abortion up to and after a baby’s due date.

No public relation strategy will ever successfully rebrand the murder of babies in the womb as ‘reproductive health.’ The effort itself is one of the most insidious evils imaginable.

In essence, Planned Parenthood is attempting to make the unborn life inside a woman’s womb nothing less than a matter of ‘reproductive health.’ If you can get away with that, then you can erase even the most baseline moral standards of any human society.

But, as the article makes clear, Planned Parenthood itself cannot stay away from the abortion issue. Its own president pushes the issue to the fore of the conversation. Speaking before a group in Providence, Rhode Island, Wen declared, “Abortion is part of the spectrum of full reproductive healthcare, and we know reproductive health care is health care, and health care is a human right.”

Words cannot describe the blatant, atrocious, and shocking inhumanity of Wen’s repugnant remarks. If you follow the line of her logic, she averred that abortion is reproductive healthcare; reproductive healthcare is healthcare; and, healthcare is a human right. In short, Wen believes abortion is a basic human right—it is a human right to end life.

This is moral degradation of the highest order.

Just because Planned Parenthood provides a range of medical services in no way atones for its practice of abortion. It will continue to promote the culture of death, so much so that it now enshrines abortion—the senseless murder of innocence—as a basic human right.

If Planned Parenthood gets away with rebranding itself on these terms, our society will have lost its mind, and its conscience.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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