Last December it was reported that the United States Supreme Court had left in place a Kentucky law requiring doctors to show fetal images to patients before they abort. This would be in line with the informed consent section of the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling. The Justices refused, however, to review, or comment on, the appeals court ruling that upheld Kentucky’s law, one that further requires doctors to describe the ultrasound image in detail while the pregnant woman listens to the fetal heartbeat. So . . . a quick peek is okay but anything more moving is a bridge too far? Is the Supreme Court in fact leaving a path open for future litigation defending the “right” of women not to be made uncomfortable by facts? After all, while the fact that life begins at conception might be construed by abortion activists as mere philosophical whimsy, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a heartbeat is as real as it gets.
The ACLU, representing the interests of Kentucky’s one remaining abortion clinic, argued that making doctors “display and describe” ultrasounds violates their First Amendment speech rights. What a difference a state makes; in New York the so-called Boss Bill, or Senate Bill 660, signed by Governor Cuomo in 2019, tells employers they can’t use abortion advocacy as a reason to deny employment—even if the place of business is a pro-life pregnancy center. Is the ACLU nobly defending the free speech of the clinic’s doctors, or are they cynically creating a smoke screen to protect a lucrative abortion business? Too many women changing their minds would have a detrimental effect on profits.
The detached opinions of legal experts and vote-hungry declarations of pro-abortion politicians abound, but how can we know what the average person really and truly thinks about abortion? Polls? That practice has degenerated into a propaganda tool. A recent one claimed that 75 percent of Americans are pro-abortion. But what was the polling question? Was it a stilted and manipulative: “Do you want to see women go back to rusty coat hangers and back alleys?” Ummm . . . no. “Great! I’ll mark you down as Pro-Abortion!” That type of approach was my polling experience during the 2016 election. Which may explain why liberals were blindsided by Donald Trump’s victory. Poll questions are fashioned to get the desired answer, not a comprehensive over-view.
There was, however, an opportunity during the Obama years to get some real numbers on abortion views, but it was torpedoed. This first came to light in May of 2016 when the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited ruling in the case the Little Sisters of the Poor brought against Obamacare, which would have forced them to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, including abortifacients. During oral arguments, the Obama administration admitted that it could have accommodated the nuns all along but chose not to. So why the hardball legal shenanigans? Why wasn’t “choice” allowed from the get-go? Perhaps it was feared that if too many employers opted for the non-abortion policy it would result in the kind of hard numbers that could make abortion look bad. “Bad optics” for the abortion cause. Can’t have that!
After the Trump administration issued new regulations protecting religious employers from having to offer contraception coverage, more legal action ensued, with Pennsylvania and New Jersey suing the government and landing the Sisters back at the Supreme Court last month. “This is a nonsensical political battle that has dragged on six years too long,” says Mark Rienzi, president of Beckett and the lawyer representing the Sisters. “These states have not been able to identify a single person who would lose contraceptive coverage under the new HHS rule, but they won’t rest until Catholic nuns are forced to pay for contraceptives.” A Supreme Court decision on the latest case is expected by the end of June.
Many U.S. companies, including Adobe, Bank of America, Clorox, Expedia, Marriott, Delta, and several more, provide funding to Planned Parenthood. Big Business tends to be sensitive about image, so their support for the abortion giant must be a positive gauge about public abortion support overall, right? Except that Planned Parenthood makes a big deal about hyping their mammograms and cancer screenings, which blurs the picture. And attempts to reconsider funding are met with well-organized, vitriolic campaigns accusing the company of being anti-woman and causing the kind of public relations problem shareholders prefer to avoid. (Remember what happened to the Susan B. Komen Foundation several years ago when it tried to part ways with PP? Within days it apologized for its errant ways.) Planned Parenthood did finally have to end its practice of selling organs and tissue from aborted babies after unsuccessfully claiming that David Daleiden’s undercover videos exposing their fetal parts trafficking scheme had been selectively edited. The firm PP hired to debunk Daleiden’s evidence was Fusion GPS, the same group that created the infamous Steele Dossier for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. (A federal appeals court found the videos hadn’t been doctored but that message wasn’t exactly trumpeted by the media.)
Most women are traumatized with fear that abortion will once again become illegal and make their time on earth feel like an existential prison. And even if it’s not an option they would ever use themselves, to have all womankind yoked to biology, while men are free to enjoy, and promote, all the pleasures of the modern sexual revolution, is a pill too bitter to swallow. And so there’s this tendency to defend abortion as if it’s a dear friend people are being mean to, and to dismiss odious crusades like the Shout Your Abortion campaign and the gleeful I Had an Abortion tee-shirts as inconsequential fringe, when in fact the sentiment behind them is becoming more mainstream every day. From a 1973 Supreme Court stamp of approval, to the Democratic Party labeling it a social good that should be free of stigma, to New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio calling abortion “sacred,” to governors Andrew Cuomo (NY) and Ralph Northam (VA) now blessing infanticide—the trickle-down effect is netting more and more people every day. Recently, I was sitting on a subway bench waiting for the train. On my left was a young man, on my right a young woman who was talking on her cell phone making an appointment for an abortion. She was completely nonchalant. It wasn’t until she had to pinpoint her last menstrual cycle that she became in any way rattled; voice dropping, shoulders hunching, eyes darting to her bench mates. Apparently discussing her period in public rated a blush, but arranging for an abortion? No problem!
So, what method can be used to help sensitive people who are drowning in misleading information and slick politics that put them at odds with their better angels? How to find out how people really feel about abortion? What puts the cards on the table? Cupcakes!
If your local Planned Parenthood held an Abortion Bake Sale with signs promoting it out in front of the clinic, how many sane people would stop to buy a box of cupcakes and after the dinner dishes were cleared put them on the table and say: “Enjoy! They’re not only delicious but it’s for a good cause. You’re helping someone abort their baby!” Would a Bank of America executive participate in this kind of fundraiser? Would pro-abortion politicians bring this dessert home to their own families, and, while tussling the children’s hair, say: “Eat up kids! You’re helping rid the world of inconvenient babies!” Would even feminist icons and the nasty-tee-shirt crowd actually order a dozen for their office party? Ooops. On second thought . . . if you have the stomach for it, check out the “Support Abortion Access” bake sale described in this link.