Planned Parenthood Federation of America clinics in 11 states have reported a string of suspicious incidents where women come in asking questions about sex-selective abortions, leading the organization to believe it’s being targeted with a “hoax” by an anti-abortion sting operation.
Women claiming to be pregnant came into clinics over two dozen times, asking provocative questions about sex-selective abortion, the Huffington Post reports. (Patient confidentiality prevents PPFA from identifying the clinics.) The women asked questions like how soon they could find out the gender of their fetus and whether they could schedule an abortion if they were expecting a girl.
The volume of the visits and the odd nature of the questions raised PPFA’s eyebrows, which has caused them to believe they’re being targeted by anti-abortion extremists. As feminist writer Jessica Valenti explained in The Nation, the anti-abortion extremists are probably Live Action (run by this woman, Lila Rose) who tried to sting PPFA last year by sending in actors playing pimps and prostitutes wearing video cameras and then heavily editing those victims to imply PPFA supported sex trafficking of underage girls.
It’s almost inane that I actually have to explain this, but if this does turn out to be a hoax concocted by Live Action (or whoever), the lengths they are going to to prove Planned Parenthood is doing dastardly deeds speak volumes about how convoluted their scheme actually is. For one thing, sex-selective abortions are sadly prevalent in places like China (resulting from the one-child policy and a preference of male babies), but there doesn’t exist actual data on the prevalence of it in the United States. And for another thing, Planned Parenthood clinics are non-judgmental about the reasons women seek abortions as a general policy, beyond screening women for coersion. No one is suggesting that sex-selective abortions should be A-OK; however, letting clinics decide which reasons are legit and which reasons are not legit is a slippery slope.
It’s also particularly questionable that anti-abortion folks would try to stick Planned Parenthood with hating girl babies, or something. Like, really, that’s the best you’ve got, guys? The women’s rights/health organization beloved by feminists actually hates women? That couldn’t be further from the truth. As PPFA vice president of education Leslie Kantor and PPFA senior medical advisor Dr. Carolyn Westhoff wrote yesterday on the blog Reproductive Health Reality Check:
As a women’s rights advocate for nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood finds the concept of sex selection deeply unsettling. Planned Parenthood does not offer sex determination services; our ultrasound services are limited to medical purposes.
Gender bias is contrary to everything our organization works for daily in communities across the country. Planned Parenthood opposes racism and sexism in all forms, and we work to advance equity and human rights in the delivery of health care. Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other.
Recent attempts to restrict or deny access to safe abortion under the guise of preventing gender bias is harmful to women’s health, counter to a human rights agenda, and primarily a political tactic of groups who work to make abortion illegal.
Of course, to a certain extent, it does not matter what the truth is when anti-abortion extremists are all-too-happy to twist the facts and spread misinformation. Kantor and Dr. Westhoff write that these incidents are likely part of a larger “propaganda campaign” which will be further used to undermine reproductive rights.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.