Maybe it”s complicated and maybe it”s not

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s latest effort to whitewash their sepulcher is puzzling. Knowing that most evangelical Christians find their work pretty repulsive, the country’s largest abortion provider has trotted out their chairwoman, Alexis McGill Johnson, who describes herself as a Christian, to tell us that abortion is “complicated.” Everyone who is shocked to hear a pro-abortion liberal Christian describe the killing of more than a million unborn children a year as “complicated” raise your hand. No one? Me neither.

Mrs. Johnson is only saying what liberals, liberal Christians, liberal Baptists and even liberal Texas Baptists have been saying since 1973. Perhaps we should stipulate that unmarried pregnancies, single motherhood and unfit parents are a big, complicated mess. Will that move the dialogue on to explaining the sordid source of Planned Parenthood’s power and income? When asked about the greater success Planned Parenthood has had drumming up abortion business in minority communities, the chairwoman pointed out not only is this also complicated but it is also a civil rights issue comparable to the Voting Rights Act.

In an effort to downplay the abortion business Planned Parenthood does, she pointed out that only about 10 percent of their business is abortion. Why then does this industry leader raise and spend millions to build giant abortion clinics; why do they turn out thousands to disrupt the Texas Senate’s deliberations? As I suggested last year in a TEXAN column, it may be because this mere 10 percent of their business actually generates a third of their income. I remind you that it was not Planned Parenthood’s right to hand out condoms, refer people to actual doctors for breast exams or even give terrible, anti-family advice that was at risk when Texas passed a bill to require higher medical standards for the state’s abortion industry. It was the ability of substandard clinics to make money from abortions—even late-term abortions that dispatched a thousand orange-shirted protestors, and a gubernatorial campaign.

But let’s look at 10 percent for a moment. What percentage of abortions are late-term each year? The answer is 1.5 percent. Those 15,000 or so human beings sound like a worthy cause for pro-lifers but piddling business for abortionists. And yet, they fight as though this small percentage matters. What percentage of Americans identify as homosexual? Gallup says 3.4 percent but some say it’s higher, though not 10 percent. And yet that portion of our population has launched a hundred court cases and now will likely force some Americans out of business and cost others their jobs. What would you say about a man who spends 90 percent of his weekly 119 waking hours feeding the hungry and volunteering in a pediatric cancer clinic, but the other 11.9 hours as an arsonist? How about a florist or baker who gladly accommodates 97 percent of her customers who want help with a wedding but who will not accept the 2 or 3 percent who want to have a same-sex ceremony? What are her chances? No one is mollified by hearing that Planned Parenthood manages to set the industry standard for abortion but with only 10 percent of their customers. Nothing could be further from relevant.

A big thanks to for running this interview. It shows how incredibly clueless American radicals can be. Those who were pro-abortion before reading the story will say, “See there!” And those who were not will say, “So what?” I guess it also points to the huge span of beliefs called Christian in our day. We know that but it’s a little startling when we see someone use casually a term that for us holds a very specific and holy meaning. Perhaps there is a cynical use of “Christian” in this case. Pro-lifers have no reason at all to muddy the meaning of the word; the chairwoman of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has more to gain if she can shave off a few undecideds. She didn’t say anything about abortion that an atheist couldn’t have said. It’s complicated, yes. It’s all about rights and freedom, yes. But attaching the term “Christian” added nothing to the same rhetoric pro-abortion America has been using for decades.

“Complicated” doesn’t mean that same thing as “tragic” or even “difficult,” by the way. Sometimes it’s very difficult to do or live with the right decision. Often, taking the right path will make our lives much messier. I’m not sure the difference between right and wrong, or life and death, is always complicated in itself. But when it is, alive and dead are still the same outcomes. Feeling conflicted about it is of very little use. 

Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan
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