Earlier this month, Pro-Life Utah team member Lindsey Tafengatoto penned an op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune in which she pointed out the obvious differences between abortion and miscarriage and also expressed regret for her own abortion (Lindsey runs our abortion healing support group here in Utah).
Planned Parenthood of Utah took notice of her article and was none too pleased, as it portrayed their organization in a negative light. Their Vice President of Public Policy Heather Stringfellow wrote a blog post on their website that slammed Lindsey as well as our sidewalk advocacy program. Just as her superior (CEO Karrie Galloway) did recently, Stringfellow wasted no time fitting numerous inaccuracies into one short article. Here we set the record straight about four specific falsehoods she promulgates in her piece (ironically titled ‘The Truth About Abortion’):
Utah sidewalk advocates “literally stand in the way of ….access to healthcare”
Our local sidewalk group has been trained by members of the national organization, Sidewalk Advocates for Life (SAFL). One of the core components of their philosophy is that sidewalk advocates are to be completely peaceful and law-abiding 100% of the time. We do NOT “literally stand in the way” of anyone going into a Planned Parenthood facility (have never blocked doors, obstructed entrances, or disrupted traffic). Furthermore, Planned Parenthood has security cameras at their location; if our sidewalk advocates had ever violated a boundary or broken a law, they would jump at the chance to pursue legal action against us. And while we have had the police called on us on several occasions, each time the officers concluded that we had done nothing wrong (Planned Parenthood was simply attempting to intimidate us).
To learn more about why we are completely law-abiding in our advocacy, watch this short documentary by SAFL entitled “Desperate Measures.”
Carrying a pregnancy to term is much more dangerous than abortion
The obvious question to follow this statement is “more dangerous for whom?” Abortion is 100% more dangerous for the baby than carrying a pregnancy to term.
Stringfellow makes absolutely no attempt to provide any evidence for her claim. Others who make this argument often refer to the deceptive study by Raymond and Grimes when making this claim. The study is missing key information and does not give an accurate presentation of the facts. They claim that death from childbirth is 14 times higher than death from abortion. Priscilla K. Coleman, Ph.D, has written a paper exposing many holes in their study. First, many states are not required to report abortion, so they rarely report deaths caused by abortion. Second, most women who have complications experience them after they leave the abortion clinic. They are admitted into the emergency room and the cause of death is not accurately recorded because usually women will not reveal they had an abortion. Third, suicide is rarely connected to abortion, even though risk of suicide goes up 154% for post-abortive mothers. Finally, Raymond and Grimes failed to include any information about abortion related deaths after the first trimester. Abortion after the first trimester counts for 12-13% of all abortions.
With incredibly flawed information and lack of careful analysis, it is not possible for the above statement to carry any weight.
Women never regret abortion
Stringfellow writes that we at PLU have “mounted a campaign to lift up the false narrative that…..women regret their decision to have an abortion.” These words are linked to an article in which a woman readily admits to regretting her abortion. Besides their utterly misogynistic denial of someone’s firsthand experience, Planned Parenthood here makes the absurd implication that women never regret an abortion.
It doesn’t take long to find resources dedicated to supporting women with post-abortion regret. “Surrender the Secret” and “Rachel’s Vineyard” are two well-known groups that have helped thousands of grieving women after their experience. Photographer Angela Forker’s new collection “After the Abortion” is a powerful artistic rendering of women’s authentic stories of deep pain and suffering following an abortion.
We never would claim that all women who have had abortions regret their decision, but to deny that some women regret their abortions flies in the face of statistics, logic, and common sense.
(read the harrowing experience of a post-abortive women who attended our local healing group)
Pro-Life Utah claims that abortion is legally equivalent to murder
In a seeming attempt to debunk a supposed claim that we made, Stringfellow writes,
“The truth is that abortion is legal, whereas committing murder is a first degree felony.”
Literally no one who is even mildly familiar with the topic claims that abortion is illegal in Utah, so this line is a ridiculous strawman fallacy. Similarly, we’ve never claimed that “abortion is murder” (as they say we have), as we understand the importance of semantics in this debate. “Murder” is a legal term, and Lindsey’s piece does not use the word even one time. Abortion is killing, however. Back in 1952, Planned Parenthood Federation of America admitted as much when they wrote in their annual report: “An abortion requires an operation. It kills the life of a baby after it has begun.” Concerning the legality of abortion, however, Stringfellow’s blatant misrepresentations about our claims are nothing more than a sloppy attempt to smear our efforts.
Overall, we are slightly amused and even encouraged by Ms. Stringfellow’s piece. It demonstrates Planned Parenthood’s desperation, as post-abortive women speaking out about their negative experiences is a direct threat to their organization. It exposes their hypocrisy, as they claim to stand for women while simultaneously dismissing the viewpoints of women that challenge their narrative. And it reaffirms that our sidewalk advocacy work is effective at reaching those in crisis and offering life-affirming solutions (thus driving down Planned Parenthood’s abortion revenue); if they did not see these efforts as such a threat, there would be no need for them to address the issue in an article.
Ms. Stringfellow and her colleagues should know that we fully intend to continue to strongly speak out against Planned Parenthood. Our sidewalk advocacy outreach is only growing in size and in the number of hours we cover each month. We will continue to be a safe place for women grieving their past abortions who need space to talk. We will never stop reaching out to women in crisis pregnancies and offering them loving solutions.