Allegations of racism have been dogging the reproductive advocacy group Planned Parenthood lately, spurred by bloggers and a string of YouTube videos. [It was even mentioned (briefly) today by one of our bloggers' roundtable guests.]
At issue: claims that the group targets black babies for abortions.
The Christian Post has what seems to be the most objective reporting available:
"A pro-life student group at UCLA has released a series of shocking videos over the past few weeks that it claims proves that Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of surgical abortions, is racist and deliberately targets minority groups for abortions.
According to the student group, which calls itself The Advocate, during telephone conversations with representatives at Planned Parenthood facilities in Idaho, Oklahoma, Ohio, New Mexico, and three other soon-to-be-disclosed states, UCLA students posed as racists who railed against affirmative action and requested to make donations to "abort black babies," because of what they described as "the less black kids out there the better."
None of the callers, according to The Advocate, were turned down.
... Planned Parenthood, however, has been quick to deny the "authenticity" of what they called "edited" tapes, and argued that their organization was one that "denounces racial bias" and "helps all individuals -- regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation."
... According to the student group, 14 million African-American babies have been aborted since 1973, constituting the largest source of African-American deaths, exceeding that of terrorism, cancer, AIDS, and heart disease combined."
Related: Black Pastors Protest Planned Parenthood
UPDATE (5/5/08): Planned Parenthood has provided us with written statements, regarding the April protest and the allegations on the YouTube video. Read both in their entirety after the jump.
Planned Parenthood Statement -- April 2008
Planned Parenthood has a solid 92-year history of community service dedicated to ensuring that all women and families have access to vital health care services. Those services are more important than ever as this country faces a health care crisis -- too many women can't afford birth control, too many families don't have adequate health insurance coverage, and too many young people are faced with unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. The one thing all of these people can rely on is Planned Parenthood. As a safety-net provider, it is Planned Parenthood's mission to provide women, men, and teens with affordable access to reproductive health care services and information, regardless of income.
Forty-seven million Americans are uninsured, and more than 17 million women need access to government- funded family planning services. Birth control prices are going through the roof for college students and low-income women. Teens are being given false information in federally funded abstinence-only programs instead of being given the medically accurate, age-appropriate information they need to make responsible decisions. The result is a rising teen birthrate and a rising rate of sexually transmitted infections among teenagers.
At the root of the problem is the need to address health care disparities in this country, and at Planned Parenthood we strive do just that every day. The recent statistics on sexually transmitted infections and the teen birthrate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrate the kind of disparities that Planned Parenthood seeks to address with its education, screening, and testing programs
The CDC revealed that a shocking number of teenage African-American girls -- nearly half -- carry a sexually transmitted infection. This compares to an overall average rate for all teenage girls of at least one in four. The largest increases in the teen birthrate were reported for non-Hispanic black teens, whose overall rate rose five percent in 2006. In addition, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer than the general population.
These examples drive home the need for Planned Parenthood's presence in all communities. Ninety-seven percent of Planned Parenthood health care services are related to prevention --- including contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment.
Planned Parenthood partners with both local and federal governments to fill the gap through which millions of Americans would fall without our support. It's time to stop playing politics and start working together toward commonsense solutions to keep all Americans healthy and safe.
Statement of Planned Parenthood Federation of America -- March 2008
Planned Parenthood's mission is deeply rooted in the philosophy of equality for all, and our doors are open to everyone. We firmly and unequivocally denounce racial bias in the delivery of health care. It is deeply troubling that an opponent of reproductive health care baited some of our local employees in these offensive, deceptive phone calls.
Two local employees made serious mistakes in their responses to these politically motivated tactics and Planned Parenthood has apologized for the way these calls were handled. They violated the organization's protocols and principles and we are expanding our employee training program for handling deceptive and offensive calls.
For more than 90 years, Planned Parenthood has provided high-quality preventive health care services and education to women, men and teens. Our top priorities are the health and safety of those who rely on us.