Here’s something I’m keeping an eye on. Abby Johnson resigned as the director of the Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, after viewing an ultrasound of an abortion. The impact of ultrasound on abortion is interesting- Slate ’s Will Saletan has written about it before-but what has me intrigued is that Johnson says she became conflicted because “she was told to bring in more women who wanted abortions,” and that the organization was “changing it’s business model from one that pushed prevention, to one that focused on abortion.”
If Johnson is right, that would be troubling but not surprising. While the number of abortions performed in the United States has been steadily declining , the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood has been increasing . As a pro-lifer, I am conflicted about Planned Parenthood myself. The clinics offer lower-cost birth control to women who might not otherwise be able to afford it, which is a good thing for all of us who are interested in reducing abortions, not punishing people for having sex. But it’s also the nation’s largest abortion provider. If Planned Parenthood IS emphasizing abortion over birth control to help its financial situation, expect the right to be up in arms, and expect cries for the group to lose its federal funding to grow louder. (Rep. Mike Pence has introduced a bill in the House to do just that.)
What’s mysterious to me about this whole story, though, is that Planned Parenthood got restraining orders against Johnson and the pro-life group with which she is now working. The order says that “Planned Parenthood would be irreparably harmed by the disclosure of certain information, but does not bar Johnson or Coalition For Life volunteers from the premises.” Is Planned Parenthood going to such lengths to keep Johnson from discussing its “business model”? I don’t want to jump to conclusions. But I will be watching.