By Jim Sedlak
This past week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund revealed a desperate effort to save their joint corporate existence.
The move was prompted by the fact that Planned Parenthood has been losing—at the ballot box, in local communities, and in the halls of Congress. Cecile Richards, president of both the Federation and the Action Fund, is full of bluster but very short on victories of any significance.
Without belaboring the obvious, let me just recount the fact that Planned Parenthood has imploded over the last two decades. It has gone from 938 medical facilities to 600 facilities over this time period, with a consequential loss of over 740,000 annual customers. Its political fortunes have not fared any better as it has lost one major race after another over the last eight years, culminating in the catastrophic loss of the presidential election last November when it became apparent that it is completely out of step with the American public. And, of course, earlier this month it came within a single vote of losing over $500 million in taxpayer funding.
If you’re Planned Parenthood, you must do something to stem the tide.
Its leaders looked around and decided to focus on what its opponents have successfully used against it for decades—community organizing. It is time, Planned Parenthood determined, for it to come down from the cloak rooms of Congress and state legislatures, and from the Hollywood parties, and actually converse with “ordinary people.” So it has announced plans to launch organizing efforts in its remaining 600 cities to desperately try to stem the tide.
As usual, Planned Parenthood announced its new effort with fanfare and threw around a lot of ultimately meaningless numbers in an effort to disguise its failures. BuzzFeed News reported that “in the lead-up to last month’s vote, [PP] held 2,400 marches, meet-ups, phone banks, and rallies, and collected 1 million petition signatures. . . . They made 200,000 phone calls to members of Congress, followed by calls to people who live in the same state to tell them to call their members of Congress (including 20,299 to tell Nevadans to call Sen. Dean Heller). They drafted 90,000 supporters to a ‘Defenders’ program, with tools for ‘real-world actions’ and an ‘Emergency Guide’ to the latest ‘urgent action to focus on.’”
Kersha Deibel, Planned Parenthood director of constituency organizing, stressed, “We’ve always had local organizers, activists, supporters, but not 1 million new supporters who are ready to come out and do the organizing work.”
Sounds impressive, but Deibel’s claim of a million new supporters apparently comes from PP’s claim to have one million signatures on its petition. Anyone who has collected signatures on a petition knows that very few signers are actually “supporters” of the sponsoring organization.
The more important problem for Planned Parenthood is that there is no indication that all this activity changed even a single vote. Even Nevada senator Dean Heller, targeted by Planned Parenthood, voted “yes” on the final “Skinny Repeal” bill that would have taken taxpayer money away from Planned Parenthood. The one vote that killed the bill was cast by Senator John McCain, and it was clearly not cast to keep Planned Parenthood’s funding.
So, fresh from this “lucky break” in Congress, Planned Parenthood has announced its new nationwide community organizing campaign run by Kelley Robinson, a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has been an organizer for Planned Parenthood Heartland, Choice USA, and is currently national organizing director for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She will be assisted by fellow young adults; by Nilofar Ganjaie, lead field organizer at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii (Seattle, WA); and by others.
Out of its Defenders program, Planned Parenthood has identified 1,000 young people it will send to four training events (250 at each) in September. These three-day trainings will cover digital programs, protests, congressional town halls, and the more basic work of building volunteer structures. BuzzFeed reports that Planned Parenthood will equip volunteers with online tools like phone banks and webinars, as well as “lots of pink materials, including shirts.”
PP plans to choose 600 of the 1,000 attendees as volunteer leaders and send them to organize in the communities where it operates medical facilities. This massive campaign will be very costly (PP estimates it will cost half-a-million dollars just to run the training sessions in September) and must be taken seriously by those opposed to the reign of terror coming from this murderous organization. The anti-Planned Parenthood community is already gearing up and putting plans in place to counter Planned Parenthood’s latest effort. American Life League’s educational efforts on how to successfully fight Planned Parenthood and its latest thrust are already taking shape.
Ultimately, Planned Parenthood’s effort will be unsuccessful. Its anti-God, anti-life, and secular Humanist philosophies cannot succeed. The voices of over eight million babies slaughtered in Planned Parenthood facilities since 1970 cry out for justice.
Planned Parenthood has launched this new desperate effort and says it wants to emphasize its power by having all of its supporters wear pink. Sadly for Planned Parenthood, pink will be the color of failure.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League and founder of STOPP International. He has been fighting Planned Parenthood, and winning, since 1985.