How should a Christian view Planned Parenthood?
Question: "How should a Christian view Planned Parenthood?"
Answer: Believers in Jesus Christ enjoy broad freedom in our spiritual lives. Certain issues see sincere, God-honoring Christians agreeing to disagree. However, there are sensible limits to any freedom. Christian liberty does not extend to endorsement of sin (Romans 1:32). Agreeing to disagree does not require acceptance of evil (Isaiah 5:20). When it comes to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, there is absolutely no biblical justification for Christian support (Proverbs 6:16–19). Those who find that statement offensive should consider the ghastly alternative: claiming the name of Christ while endorsing an organization that profits from the murder of the innocent.
Ultimately, one single concept provides ample evidence proving Christians are morally obligated to reject Planned Parenthood. That, of course, is the issue of abortion itself. Scripture is clear: deliberately ending the life of an unborn child is no different than deliberately ending the life of a newborn, toddler, or any other child. Every conceivable excuse for Planned Parenthood, including health care, legal rights, other services, and such, are entirely irrelevant in light of the moral evil of abortion.
This is a point on which there can be no reasonable dissent for a believer in Jesus Christ. Those who seek to defend abortion, from a Christian standpoint, are entirely and completely in contradiction to God and His Word.
The fact that Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider should be reason enough for Christians to withhold support (see Deuteronomy 27:25). That the organization pushes extreme views of abortion and does so dishonestly is reason enough to condemn it. That the group’s origins are grounded in eugenics and an anti-Christian worldview should cause believers in Jesus Christ to denounce it using the only term that makes any sense: evil. One would hope that even non-believers would recognize those disqualifications, as well.
Margaret Sanger founded the organization later re-named Planned Parenthood with the intent of promoting birth control. In fact, Sanger was adamantly opposed to abortion, calling it “evil.” In her view, open access to contraception would make abortion entirely unnecessary—a prediction modern groups like Planned Parenthood have deliberately stymied.
Sanger is rightly condemned for her association with eugenics: the idea that a culture’s breeding ought to be controlled with the intent of reducing “undesirables” and promoting “superior” heritages. Despite what many think, Sanger herself did not hold what modern people would consider especially racist views. Her stance on eugenics was mostly class-based: to Sanger, the “unfit” meant poor people, the disabled, and the less-intelligent. However, she also long held associations with people whom even that era considered flagrantly racist, such as white supremacist author Lothrop Stoddard.
Where Sanger was legitimately venomous was toward social and religious groups she saw as polluting the culture’s purity. Among them, for example, were those for whom religion led to excessive breeding—this is a group Sanger thought should be prevented from procreating.
Fellow eugenicists of Sanger’s era also felt it was important to slow the breeding of “undesirables” and the “unfit.” For most, this was defined very much by ethnicity. Overwhelmingly, in practice, groups targeted for reduction by eugenicists were almost exclusively non-whites, Jews, the poor, immigrants, and so forth. Even though Sanger’s personal views were—in theory—based on class, not race, she and her organization were steeped in a worldview that denied the inherent equality of all people.
After Sanger’s death, Planned Parenthood continued to move further and further into the extremes of abortion advocacy. Today, Planned Parenthood has lobbied for the most radical procedures, such as late-term abortions. The organization has opposed parental consent laws and supports legislation that would force health workers to violate their conscience in providing abortion drugs and services. Even from a non-Christian perspective, these are deeply troubling attitudes that ought to be opposed.
The foundation of racial and social prejudice is reflected in Planned Parenthood and their fellow abortion providers today. Minorities in the USA obtain abortions at a grossly disproportionate rate to whites. African-Americans, by some measures, abort five times as many pregnancies as whites. In areas like New York, there are routinely more abortions than live births in black communities. This is largely due to rhetoric claiming that abortion is the only reasonable or moral option available.
It would be fair to say that the voice of “minorities” in America would be far more powerful had they not been disproportionately targeted for population control in the decades since Roe vs. Wade. Many who politically support abortion reflexively claim any racial disparity is proof of racism, yet groups like Planned Parenthood are literally suppressing the growth of non-white populations in the name of “reproductive rights.”
An infamous defense of Planned Parenthood has been that abortion is “only 3 percent” of what they do. Christian and non-Christian, pro-life and pro-abortion groups alike have denounced that statement as profoundly dishonest. This figure was calculated by counting every possible transaction as a “service.” According to such math, for a woman who went to Planned Parenthood for condoms, was given a pregnancy test and STD test, then came back for an abortion, and then a mandatory follow-up exam, the abortion would have “only” been 20 percent of the “services.” Clearly, not all “services” are the same, and some are necessary parts of the abortion process. To claim otherwise can’t be anything other than a deliberate lie.
Further, estimates of Planned Parenthood’s income from abortions suggest that almost 40 percent—or more—of their income is from abortion services. And literally every “service” they provide, other than abortion, can be obtained at numerous health clinics and hospitals.
Even if the 3 percent claim were true, it would still be an insultingly poor defense. A man who beats his wife “only 3 percent of the time” is still an abuser. A judge who sells rulings for cash in “only 3 percent of his cases” is still corrupt. And even if an organization used “only 3 percent” of its services directly in the act of killing innocents, they are still morally and spiritually bankrupt (Proverbs 1:15–16).
Planned Parenthood can and should be denounced by followers of Christ due to two facts that are plain, beyond debate, and beyond question:
• Biblical Christianity denounces abortion as the murder of the innocent.
• Planned Parenthood engages in abortion, even the most extreme, radical aspects of abortion.
Therefore, it is true beyond reasonable debate to state that Christian believers cannot, in good conscience and in good faith, support Planned Parenthood in any way, shape, or form. Those who endorse the organization are deeply misled or deliberately ignorant or morally bankrupt. A person cannot legitimately claim to follow Christ while deliberately enabling a child molester, willingly funding a brothel, or knowingly aiding a serial killer. In the same way, and for the same reasons, tolerance of Planned Parenthood is flatly incompatible with Christianity.
Recommended Resource: Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader by Abby Johnson
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Questions about Worldview
How should a Christian view Planned Parenthood?