Pro-life groups often point out the lopsided statistics in Planned Parenthood's own reports showing abortions outnumbering adoptions by huge margins. In 2010, they performed 391 abortions for every one adoption referral. Planned Parenthood has downplayed the imbalance, even calling critics "misleading" in their use of numbers. The organization portrays itself as simply an advocate for women's health, laying out all the options and allowing each individual to make her own decision. Pro-lifers have forcefully disputed that assertion. And a closer look at Planned Parenthood's own website supports the pro-lifers' contention.
The main Planned Parenthood website contains a menu titled "Health Info and Services". Under this menu, "Abortion" is clearly visible, but "Adoption" is nowhere to be seen:
"Pregnancy", however, appears further down the list, and selecting that option brings up a new page - but "adoption" is still absent:
The main categories, including "Abortion" and "Morning-After-Pill (Emergency Contraception)" remain on the left side of the screen. In the center of the screen, one might notice "Pregnancy Options." Clicking that link finally presents visitors with the word "Adoption" for the first time:
However, it is listed on the left side of the screen as "Thinking About Adoption" under "Pregnancy Options" and following - you guessed it - "Thinking About Abortion". But, then again, "Abortion" comes before "Adoption" alphabetically; perhaps that is the reason for the order. The third option is "Thinking About Parenting."
This is where things begin to get mildly creepy. Clicking on any of the three options brings up a new page that begins with this paragraph:
Millions of women face unplanned pregnancies every year. If you are deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy, you have a lot to think about. You have three options — abortion, adoption, and parenting.Then, in all three cases, the following paragraph is virtually identical, except for the words "abortion", "adoption", and "parenting.":
Whether you're thinking about having an abortion, you're helping a woman decide if abortion is right for her, or you're just curious about abortion, you may have many questions. Here are some of the most common questions we hear women ask when considering abortion. We hope you find the answers helpful.
Whether you're thinking about placing a child for adoption, you're helping a woman decide if adoption is right for her, or you're just curious about adoption, you may have many questions. Here are some of the most common questions we hear women ask when considering adoption. We hope you find the answers helpful.
Whether you're thinking about parenting, you're helping a woman decide if parenting is right for her, or you're just curious about parenting, you may have many questions. Here are some of the most common questions we hear women ask when considering becoming a parent. We hope you find the answers helpful.Granted, the presentation is consistent with the moral equivalence one would expect from Planned Parenthood, but it is jarring nonetheless.
Six questions follow under each of the three headings relating to further information on each topic. I will not take the time to go through all 18 questions, but rather focus on the first question under Abortion and the first question under Adoption. Clicking on "How Can I Know If Abortion Is the Right Option for Me?" presents the reader with some information on pregnancy and abortion, as well as a list of primary reasons women might choose abortion. Clicking on "How Can I Know If Adoption Is the Right Option for Me?" brings up a very similar presentation on adoption, even using many of the same words and phrases. Women choose abortion or adoption "because they care about themselves and their families or their future families." Under Abortion, we are told: "In fact, about half of all women in the U.S. have an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives. About 4 out of 10 women with unplanned pregnancies decide to have abortions. Overall, more than 1 out of 3 of all U.S. women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old." The Adoption page repeats the "half of all women" statistic, but is silent about how common or rare adoption is. Does this not appear to give women the "safety in numbers" argument about abortion? After all, could that many women make the wrong choice?
There is also a subtle difference in the reasons given for each pregnancy option. Abortion is chosen because a woman "feels that having a baby now would make it too difficult to work, go to school, or care for her children." The comparable item under Adoption leaves out the last phrase and says: "She feels that raising a baby now would make it too difficult to work or go to school." The implication: women who choose abortion already have children, so they are mothers. And mothers are not anti-baby, so abortion is not the choice of a selfish person - mothers choose it, for goodness sake!
Further down each page is a box where more questions are posed: "Some Things to Ask Yourself If You Are Thinking About Abortion" and "Some Things to Ask Yourself If You Are Thinking About Adoption". The Adoption list asks: "Does adoption feel like what I should do, not what I want to do?" There is no equivalent on the Abortion list.
Perhaps most telling of all is one other question: "Will I be able to cope with the feeling of loss that I may have?" On which list does this question appear? No, not the Abortion list. The question in that case is simply: "Can I handle the experience of having an abortion?" While the question is posed later "How Will I Feel After The Abortion/Adoption?," again only the Adoption answer refers to "loss." There is no question women giving up a child for adoption would feel a sense of loss. But surely a significant enough number of women would feel a sense of loss following an abortion to make it worth mentioning. I am not suggesting post-abortion emotions are presented as insignificant, but Planned Parenthood is very careful to downplay the negatives. The irony here is of course that adoption actually results in "parenthood"; abortion does not.
In the interest of time, I have left a number of aspects of this issue unexplored (such as the parenting option.) Planned Parenthood may cast itself as the Kris Kringle of women's health, cheerfully directing bewildered patrons to the best option, whether it be Macy's or Gimbels, or more to the point: abortion, adoption, or parenting. But Planned Parenthood knows what it is selling, and much like the oft maligned corporations castigated by liberals for being greedy, they know what generates a profit. Sadly, adoption referrals are irrelevant to their bottom line.