Pro-Life Advocates Blast "Dear Abby" for Advising Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 25, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Blast "Dear Abby" for Advising Abortion

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
November 25, 2003

Los Angeles, CA ( — "Dear Abby" is giving some bad advice, according to people who oppose legalized abortion.

In a column earlier this year, "Abby" recommended that a young pregnant woman who professed to being "Alone and Terrified" report to Planned Parenthood for counseling. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion operation.

A number of readers questioned the wisdom of Abby’s advice. This week, she devoted an entire column to pro-life objections to her advice.

For instance, someone identified as "Appalled in Florida" wrote: "I was shocked when I read your reply to ‘Alone and Terrified,’ the teenage girl from Columbus, Ga. She had just discovered she was pregnant and was afraid to tell her parents because she was scared of their reaction. You advised her to go to Planned Parenthood. Were you advising her to get an abortion?"

Abby responded, "No. That’s a matter of personal choice." But she went onto say, " I knew that Planned Parenthood would advise her about her entire range of options." Obviously, say pro-lifers, Planned Parenthood’s "range of options" includes abortion.

Another reader, Dana S. of Escondido, California, wrote, "Here in California a girl recently died because rather than going to her parents for help, she went to Planned Parenthood. Secrets should never be encouraged. Parents are the teen’s best option."

Abby responded with a line that could have come straight from a spokesman for Planned Parenthood, "All medical procedures, and that includes abortion, carry some risk. According to reports I have read, the girl died of septic shock after taking RU-486. However, abortions are far safer today than they were 10 years ago — and certainly safer than when the procedure was illegal and performed in back alleys."

The irony here, say pro-lifers, is that the pro-abortion lobby maintained that abortions were perfectly safe ten years ago. In fact, abortion is an inherently dangerous practice that is lethal for an unborn child and often threatens the health and safety of his mother.

Still another reader, Lenore in Manhattan, Montana, noted: "You should read ‘Grand Illusions,’ George Grant’s expose of the racist roots of Planned Parenthood. Not to have advised that girl to visit her local Crisis Pregnancy Center was misleading."

Abby then launched a defense of Planned Parenthood’s founder, saying, "Margaret Sanger, who founded the tiny birth control clinic that was to become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, became a family planning crusader because she felt it was vital for poor women (and that included women of color) to control their fertility and not be forced to have large families they couldn’t take care of.

"A woman who is not in charge of her reproductive life is not in charge of her life. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the average woman, without birth control, would have between 12 and 15 pregnancies in her lifetime."

Pro-life activists note that, in her response, Abby is showing a blatant bias against large families. She also failed to address Sanger’s bigoted statements against blacks, Italians, and others she deemed "unfit."

In her concluding remarks, Abby defended abortion-on-demand, using the rhetoric of the abortion industry, "Planned Parenthood’s mission is to help women make the right choice for them. For some, that means carrying a pregnancy to term. For others, it means using birth control. And for still others it can mean having an abortion. It is a matter of personal freedom and deeply personal choice."

Abby did not include information sent to her by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. The pro-life group noted that, in recommending that the young woman go to Planned Parenthood, Abby was greatly increasing the chances that the woman would have an abortion. According to Planned Parenthood’s own statistics, the number of abortions at its centers far outnumber its adoption referrals.

The "Dear Abby" column is now written by Jeanne Phillips, daughter of Pauline Phillips, who wrote the columns for decades under the pen name "Abigail Van Buren."

Readers wishing to respond to Abby’s pro-abortion columns can write to her at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.