by Steven Ertelt
April 20, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Without the hoopla that has accompanied past events, leaders of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America held their annual conference this past week. The abortion business normally hands out awards to media outlets and local affiliates, but instead met without any fanfare.
Jim Sedlak, executive director of STOPP International, a group that monitors the nation’s largest abortion operation, says he believes a lower key meeting signals troubles at PPFA.
He said the event must have been a "soul-searching strategy session and not a celebration of past accomplishments looking forward to a future full of promise."
"Planned Parenthood enters this conference without a leader," Sedlak explains.
That’s because longtime president Gloria Feldt announced her departure in January.
At the time, Feldt said she planned to be at Planned Parenthood for only five years, but stayed ten. She said she had been working with the PPFA board for six months to begin the transition process.
However, Sedlak contends Feldt was forced out.
"[D]espite public pronouncements, Feldt was asked to leave," he says.
"The reasons include the fact that her in-your-face promotion of abortion was raising objections throughout the organization, and her effort to tie Planned Parenthood to the presidential campaign of John Kerry backfired when Kerry lost the election," Sedlak explained.
In addition to problems at the top, Sedlak says the abortion business is facing the closing of dozens of centers — contrary to its plan to double its size.
"To put it bluntly, Planned Parenthood has been forced to close dozens of its facilities because they can no longer attract customers," Sedlak says.
In fact, in 1985, Parenthood operated 763 facilities nationwide. That number increased to 922 in 1992. At that time, PPFA announced it would attempt to expand to 2,000 facilities by the year 2000.
Instead, the abortion operation encountered opposition in many areas where it attempted to expand. Rather than open new facilities, PPFA was forced to close some and combine others.
As of June 2004, PPFA said it operated only 850 facilities — an 8 percent decrease from 1992.
"Given the fact that Planned Parenthood has opened some new clinics, it has closed down an average of one facility every month for the last 10 years," Sedlak explained.
Part of the problems center on the fact that state legislatures are looking to send fewer public funds to the abortion business.
Some states, such as North Dakota and Mississippi, have never given money to Planned Parenthood while others, like Missouri, Colorado and Ohio, have more recently cut off public funds. In Texas, lawmakers are considering a proposal that would end a $13 million subsidy the abortion center receives.
It’s against that backdrop that Sedlak says participants have arrived in Washington for the conference.
"As we watch the Planned Parenthood people arrive, we do not see any of the outward exuberance we witnessed in previous years," Sedlak explained. "While we may be reading too much into body language, it appears that this year’s conference is serious business."
Still, Sedlak says he doesn’t think the nation’s largest abortion chain will concede defeat.
"Planned Parenthood has not given up. It’s scrambling for plans to revive the organization," he says.
Part of the new focus may be on working with Christian churches that support abortion.
Planned Parenthood hired its first chaplain last year and recently opened two new centers in Oregon — in churches.
Some PPFA executives made a recent trip to Europe to learn how to expand its programs to reach teenagers. They returned and wrote a report on working with religious groups and praised religious leaders in Europe for tolerating similar work there.
Related web sites:
Stopp International — https://www.all.org/stopp