“It is indeed a new look…a new branding, if you will.” That’s the explanation offered by Leslie Durgin, a senior vice president at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. She was speaking of Planned Parenthood’s new “upscale” approach to marketing abortions and other “services” to wealthier suburban women.
This new strategy and marketing plan was described in chilling detail by reporter Stephanie Simon of The Wall Street Journal [article available by subscription only]. “Flush with cash, Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide are aggressively expanding their reach,” she explains, “seeking to woo more affluent patients with a network of suburban clinics and huge new health centers that project a decidedly upscale image.”
The nonprofit, which traces its roots to 1916, has long focused on providing birth control, sexual-health care and abortions to teens and low-income women. While those groups still make up the majority of Planned Parenthood’s patients, executives say they are “rebranding” their clinics to appeal to women of means — a move that opens new avenues for boosting revenue and, they hope, political clout.
Planned Parenthood may be legally defined as a nonprofit organization, but it is flush with money. The organization took in over $1 billion last year, and reported $112 million in “excess of revenue over expenses.” The group also received $70 million in federal funds — your tax dollars at work.
Make no mistake — Planned Parenthood has an agenda, even as it did when founded by Margaret Sanger and other radicals in the early 20th century. The organization receives hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from killing unborn babies. It wants to extend its reach into the population.
As Simon reports:
Last spring, the nonprofit — which has 882 clinics nationwide — dropped its crusading mission statement setting out the rights of all individuals, no matter their income, to “reproductive self-determination.” In its place, Planned Parenthood adopted a crisp pledge to “leverage strength through our affiliated structure to be the nation’s most trusted provider of sexual and reproductive health care.” Ms. Richards says the new statement implies expanded services for all — she’s especially eager to draw more male patients — but some outsiders wonder why it no longer mentions affordability or access.
“This is not the Planned Parenthood we all grew up with… they now have more of a business approach, much more aggressive,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, who runs abortion clinics in Texas and Maryland.
Planned Parenthood is setting up new offices known as “Express” which will offer services just short of abortions in upscale suburban settings such as shopping malls. Look carefully at how The Wall Street Journal describes their new approach:
The group has always operated some suburban clinics, but some of its local affiliates, which have a great deal of autonomy, have made a determined effort in the past few years to “be the provider of first choice…for people who do have other options,” said David Greenberg, Oregon’s top Planned Parenthood executive. Officials note that health insurance doesn’t always cover contraception and even women with access to private doctors may prefer the confidentiality of buying birth control or getting a herpes test at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
“It is high time we follow the population,” said Sarah Stoesz, who heads Planned Parenthood operations in three Midwest states. She recently opened three express centers in wealthy Minnesota suburbs, “in shopping centers and malls, places where women are already doing their grocery shopping, picking up their Starbucks, living their daily lives,” Ms. Stoesz said.
One Planned Parenthood executive went so far as to say, “I like to think of it as the LensCrafters of family planning.”
Planned Parenthood may try to brush up the organization’s image, but the business remains abortion. In a chilling reminder of the grotesque intersection of baby killing and business, local independent abortion centers are complaining that Planned Parenthood threatens their own volume in abortions. Amy Hagstrom Miller runs abortion clinics in two states, and she is not pleased:
“Ms. Hagstrom Miller competes with Planned Parenthood for abortion patients — and finds it deeply frustrating. She does not receive the government grants or tax-deductible donations that bolster Planned Parenthood, and says she can’t match the nonprofit’s budget for advertising or clinic upgrades. She has carved her own niche by touting her care as more holistic — and by charging $425 for a first-trimester surgery at her Austin clinic, compared with $475 at the local Planned Parenthood. (Both Ms. Hagstrom Miller and Planned Parenthood say they work out discounts and payment plans for the needy.)
This is about revenue and profit, market growth and competition. It is a horrifying glimpse into the cold hard reality of what stands behind the abortion movement in general and Planned Parenthood in particular — the ideology of death and the love of money. Can we imagine a more lethal combination?
Planned Parenthood may soon be coming to a mall near you, but no matter how much they want to burnish their image and go “upscale,” their business remains death on demand. The Culture of Death creeps on — mile by mile, mall by mall.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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