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Abortion and Planned Parenthood in 2021

By Jim Sedlak

The year 2021 was one of those years when organizations and individuals who either support abortion rights or condemn abortion as murder could point to gains and losses in their efforts. Those who think the wanton killing of preborn children is justified can point to all the efforts of the Biden administration to remove any protection for preborn children from federal policies this year.

Biden used executive orders and actions that simply ignored established procedures to force Planned Parenthood’s view on abortion as an unfettered right to unlock the doors to federal money and swing them wide open to Planned Parenthood and other killers of children. The clearest example of this was the changes to the Title X program, which were done at an unheard-of speed. There are procedures that are supposed to be followed when making changes to longtime federal programs. When Trump took office in 2017 and sought to eliminate Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, he followed established procedure and made the change, but it took him the better part of three years to accomplish the task. Biden, on the other hand, in answer to a demand from Planned Parenthood, just bypassed the normal procedures, and in less than 10 months, announced that Planned Parenthood would be rejoining the Title X program in the 2022 fiscal year.

But, despite these national-level gains, Planned Parenthood continued to face problems at the state level. The Guttmacher Institute (originally founded as the research arm of Planned Parenthood) reports that 106 abortion restrictions were enacted across 19 states in 2021, leading Elizabeth Nash, principal policy associate of state issues at the Guttmacher Institute, to tell Reuters that “(This) was the worst legislative year for U.S. abortion rights since Roe v. Wade.”

Planned Parenthood saw this play out at the state level. During 2020, Planned Parenthood “temporarily closed” 19 locations in six states. During 2021, it was only able to reopen eight of those clinics (five in New York state and one each in Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania).

Of course, not all states are trying to save preborn babies. As we reported last month, the state of California is working closely with Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups to make the state into an abortion haven. The plan is to have the state pay for almost all abortions and to provide travel and lodging expenses for women who come to California from other states to kill their children.

The battle at the Supreme Court of the United States is also a place where those wanting unfettered abortion are facing increasing obstacles. Texas passed a Heartbeat Law (SB 8) this year that uniquely tried to end most abortions in the state after six weeks gestation through an exceptional “citizen lawsuit” approach. When SCOTUS was asked on September 1 to stop the law from going into effect, it refused to do so by a vote of 5-4. When the Biden administration filed a lawsuit against Texas and tried to force the court to put the law on hold, SCOTUS included a discussion of this law with a previously scheduled hearing on a Mississippi law that put restriction on abortion after 15 weeks gestation. Although the court has not announced any decision on the Mississippi case, SCOTUS did announce it would continue to let the Texas law remain in effect.

All this tends to sound positive, but a look at the legislation being supported by many pro-life groups leads to the unmistakable conclusion that these apparent legislative gains are being made on the bodies of many preborn babies. Just about every “pro-life” law has exceptions.

The first class of exceptions should be obvious but are just not acknowledged. We talk about the Texas law that regulates abortions after six weeks or the Mississippi law that regulates abortion after 15 weeks. That means that these laws offer no protections to any preborn babies less than six weeks old (in Texas) or 15 weeks old (in Mississippi).

Then we get to the other exceptions. Some pro-lifers insist on killing a preborn child to protect the “life of the woman,” even though no doctor can attest to any situation where the direct killing of a preborn child saves a mother’s life. Another common exception is “rape and incest.” In this situation, many who call themselves “pro-life” are willing to kill an innocent child for a crime committed by his or her father.

As we look to 2022, we call on all pro-lifers to fight for every baby every time. The House version of the Life at Conception Act (H.R. 1011) would do this. This bill has been in Congress for decades, but it never gets voted on despite having 132 cosponsors. It is past time we move that and similar legislation forward at the federal and state levels.

2022: The year to save all preborn babies by banning abortion—every time and for every reason.

Jim Sedlak is the executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria Network. He has been successfully fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.