Planned Parenthood Can't Distance Itself from its Past | Opinion

The following essay is adapted from Lila Rose's new book, Fighting for Life: Becoming a Force for Change in a Wounded World. Copyright © 2021 by Lila Rose. Available May 4 from Thomas Nelson.

In 1963, Jewish philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt, who had fled Germany as Hitler came to power, coined the phrase "banality of evil" in her reporting on the trial of Adolf Eichmann.

One of the principal architects of the Holocaust, the balding, bespectacled Eichmann looked more like an everyday bank clerk than an executioner responsible for genocide. He claimed to have no particular hatred for Jews. In fact, he insisted he had just been obeying orders as he helped design the "Final Solution" to murder millions of innocent men, women and children.

Evil often looks more like Eichmann than like a madman screaming hatred. Someone with the ability to design and carry out something appalling but lacking the moral strength to say "no." Evil can wear a nurse's coat, a lawyer's suit or a minister's robe. Evil can come softly. Just as Lucifer himself can masquerade as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), the greatest injustices can be presented as justice and the greatest lies as truth.

In a recent op-ed in The New York Times, Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, declared that the billion-dollar organization responsible for millions of abortions in the United States was done "making excuses" for its founder, Margaret Sanger. In the op-ed, Johnson made excuses for Sanger's embrace of eugenics and racism, "pledge[d] to fight the many types of dehumanization we are seeing right now" and committed to heal the harms caused by the beliefs of Margaret Sanger.

Except, of course, for the harm from Sanger's most devastating belief: "The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."

Margaret Sanger's creation, Planned Parenthood, leads an industry responsible for killing more innocent people than any 20th-century regime. Planned Parenthood now commits nearly half of the United States' abortions. Currently, that means it is responsible for killing nearly a thousand children in America every day. As a proud eugenicist and a matter-of-fact dehumanizer, Sanger viewed herself and her allies as champions of progress and women's rights. Taking its cue from its founder, Planned Parenthood would go on to kill millions of American children and advocate against every single proposed abortion restriction.

Planned Parenthood
Anti-abortion demonstrators hold a protest outside the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis, Missouri, May 31, 2019, the last location in the state performing abortions. - Missouri was set Friday to become the first US state in half a century without abortion services unless a court steps in at the last moment to keep its sole remaining abortion clinic in operation.Unless the courts rule in its favor in an emergency motion, the St Louis clinic will lose at midnight (0400 GMT) its license to perform the procedure. SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

Today, thanks to Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, the most dehumanized among us is the child in the womb. This child is not even considered a human being worthy of basic legal protection. Preborn children are routinely dismembered, suctioned to death, deprived of nutrients or given lethal injections, all with the consent of the law and in the name of "rights." Yet many Americans today rarely think about abortion—much less consider it evil.

Consider Rosa Acuna. After getting pregnant with her third child, she consulted her doctor about her then six-to-eight-week pregnancy and health complications caused by a kidney disorder. According to Rosa, she asked her doctor "if there was a baby in there." He responded by saying, "Don't be stupid, it's only blood."

Her doctor performed an abortion three days later. Back at home, Rosa experienced vaginal bleeding and went to the emergency room. The nurse told her she had the remains of her baby inside her and she would need an operation to extract it from her uterus. That's when Rosa realized her first-trimester pregnancy was not a blood clot or a bunch of cells. It was a human baby.

Based on what we learned from Rosa's case, my organization, Live Action, decided to expose the lies that many abortion facilities tell women. We named the investigation the Rosa Acuna Project and sent our undercover investigators to clinics in several states. Each investigator claimed to be considering an abortion for herself but wanted accurate medical information first, especially about how developed her unborn baby was.

In Appleton, Wisconsin, clinic staff claimed that a 10-week-old baby in the womb doesn't have a heartbeat. In fact, a baby's heart starts beating about three weeks into pregnancy. In Milwaukee, a clinic staffer insisted that a six-week-old fetus had "no arms, no legs, no heart, no head, no brain." None of that was true. The staffer also lied to make adoption sound more difficult than it is, and urged the woman to have an abortion as soon as possible.

In Indianapolis, our investigator, claiming to be 10 weeks pregnant, asked the clinic worker when her baby's heart would begin to beat. The worker answered, "It's around...I think the eighth or the ninth week that you can hear the heartbeat.... It's not a baby, it's a fetus, not like a person." Planned Parenthood staff repeatedly spread misinformation and dehumanized preborn children to encourage would-be clients to have an abortion.

What's at the root of every injustice? A lie. A lie about the human person or about what justice even means. Most of those who believe the lie simply don't know any better. The most dangerous ones are those who know better. Planned Parenthood knows better, but is trying to distance itself from its founder's beliefs while doubling down on her practices. To combat them, we have to study the deception and take the time to understand it. Truth can rehumanize those whom our opponents have successfully dehumanized. Knowing the truth ourselves is not enough. We must apply the truth and save lives.

Lila Rose is a speaker, writer and human rights activist. She founded and serves as president of Live Action, a media and news nonprofit dedicated to ending abortion and inspiring a culture that respects all human life. She also hosts the podcast The Lila Rose Show.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.