Especially now as election tensions heat up, you’ve probably seen a social media post on your own feed very similar to this one:
A post you see like this may lack the bad interaction with pro-lifers, but still share a similar story: “I support Planned Parenthood because I was helped by them for non-abortion services during a time of need.” I myself recently saw a post very similar to this in a Catholic Facebook group I follow. Because this story is so common and prevalent, it’s important to know what a proper pro-life response is.
First Things First
In every single conversation, whether in person or digital, your first response should be kindness. Abortion aside, you’re speaking with another human being who faced some hard times and had the courage to share their story, either with just you or publicly. The knowledgeable pro-life advocate knows so many of Planned Parenthood’s dirty secrets that it’s hard not to launch immediately into why they’re so despicable, but we have to remember where their clients are coming from. Not everyone knows the truth about them, and pro-lifers being aggressive or otherwise unapproachable about it isn’t going to help.
So yes, your first response should be something along the lines of, “I’m really happy that your health was benefited by a (cervical test, breast exam, etc). I wish everyone could catch serious health issues early.” If the person you’re speaking with had undergone such a helpful test at any other facility, this initial response would be a no-brainer.
That’s Great, But…
Unfortunately, we can’t just leave it at that. After an initial human kindness response, it’s more than fair to point out why, good services aside, you personally don’t support Planned Parenthood. Consider the logic every post like this has to inherently use:
I know they kill over 300,000 babies every year – but they do good stuff, too.
This line of logic simply wouldn’t fly with any other issue we could possibly be discussing. Consider a thought experiment with homelessness as the social issue in place of abortion. Imagine there’s a large chain of homeless aid shelters called “Help for You.” They serve meals, help people find jobs, and offer free clothing. But, they make most of their money to operate the shelters by executing homeless individuals who’ve been deemed “nuisances” by their community. They execute over a quarter of a million homeless people each year for about $400-$1,000 each.
Would anyone be saying: “I know they kill a bunch of homeless people every year, but they also serve meals and give out clothes so I’m cool with it.”
No, probably not.
FYI: In many of these conversations, it’s bound to come up that, “Abortion is only 3% of their services!” This is false, and this video can help you debunk it.
Abby Johnson had a memorable way of putting this during a Facebook Live she did with Students for Life when the quarantines first began:
Would abortion advocates still support Planned Parenthood if they killed puppies?
Posted by Students for Life of America on Friday, April 3, 2020
You may next want to calmly explain other reasons you don’t think Planned Parenthood deserves any sort of support.
What’s the Alternative?
So, we’ve reacted compassionately. We’ve drawn a parallel example and pointed out why the logic is bad. We’ve stated reasons (with sources) why we don’t like Planned Parenthood. What now? In fairness, that does suffice. Presenting a well-reasoned argument about why Planned Parenthood is bad news is all you technically need. But the icing on the cake is providing a better solution.
The pro-life movement supports Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) as the natural replacements for Planned Parenthood facilities. These centers cater to the medically underserved, allow patients to pay on a sliding scale based on ability to pay, and offer infinitely more quality medical services than Planned Parenthood. FQHCs offer the whole spectrum of medical care – without the life-ending profiteering and endless scandal that the abortion giant is always neck-deep in.
Anyone can visit wwwfindahealthcenter.hrsa.gov to locate one.
Women who feel compelled to turn to Planned Parenthood for non-abortion services should know that better options are always nearby. FQHCs outnumber Planned Parenthoods by up to 20:1. If Planned Parenthood was to disappear, these centers would only need to absorb an extra 2 patients per week. The only reason many women don’t know about these better options is because Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar marketing machine and massive political player. They simply have more advertising.
And the Part About the Pro-Lifers
We’re not here to blame the victim. There’s always a chance, with any post, that a story is fabricated. That’s the risk of social media. But that’s not our call to make (unless substantial contrary evidence is involved). So we assume the poster above has shared an authentically negative encounter with pro-life activists.
If that’s the case, the pro-lifers’ behavior should be denounced mercilessly. There is no excuse for it. Pro-lifers who berate women, threaten violence, or otherwise behave badly ought to be tossed out of our movement because it’s inexcusable, unhelpful, and cruel. Compassion, civility, and respect must always be the cornerstone of pro-life activism and we won’t settle for less. We must always be the bigger person, remembering that abortion-minded women are not our enemy, but rather victims of our enemy. Even our true enemy, the abortion industry, is made up of human beings – and threatening them with violence is equally wrong.
Have more questions on this topic? Visit AskaProLifer.com or reach out to your state’s Regional Coordinator at [yourstate]@studentsforlife.org to discuss it more!