Monday, April 28, 2008

Debating Planned Parenthood's Version of the Public Good

In March, Roanoke College professor Gerry McDermott and I published an Op-Ed in the Washington Times, and had a back and forth with Cecile Richards, national president of Planned Parenthood, and the research director of the Alan Guttmacher Institute who responded by writing letters to the editor.

Then on Friday, April 18, we republished our Op-Ed on Planned Parenthood in the Roanoke Times. On April 26, David Nova President of a 4-state Planned Parenthood complex, responded. Below is a copy of our response to Nova sent to the Roanoke Times.

Letter to the editor

David Nova’s commentary (“Working for the good of the public,”April 25) charges we “grossly exaggerated” data regarding the percentage of abortions provided to black women. Yet we used data from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood. According to Roanoke College professor of statistics William Ergle, our calculation of 683,000 black abortions (56% of the total) was “not grossly exaggerated but absolutely correct, based on the information provided.” Interestingly, Nova presents no other statistics.

Nova says the explanation for these shocking statistics is that black women are three times as likely to have unintended pregnancies. Then why are they 4.8 times as likely to have abortions? The rate of unintended pregnancies falls short—significantly—of the rate of abortion.

Nova complains we don’t offer solutions. Planned Parenthood has been in the driver’s seat on reproductive health for thirty-five years, offering its services far and wide. Yet things have only gotten worse—sexually transmitted diseases are way up, abortions in the black community have skyrocketed, and even Nova talks about the “public health crisis.” The Planned Parenthood “solution” has failed, yet we are supposed to be grateful for our $8000 taxpayer support for its Roanoke clinic.

Nova claims Planned Parenthood focuses on prevention—of unintended pregnancies and abortions. Notice the implication—Roanoke Times readers who were not “intended” by their parents would be better off never to have been born. And if Planned Parenthood really wants fewer abortions, why does it fight so hard against parental notification bills? They would surely reduce the number of abortions.

Gerald McDermott, professor of religion, Roanoke College
Carol Swain, professor of political science and law, Vanderbilt University
2007 Carol M. Swain. Web design by CSP