Planned Parenthood President Attacks Catholic Bishops on Abortion, Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood President Attacks Catholic Bishops on Abortion, Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 19
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is so upset that the nation’s Catholic bishops are opposed to being forced to pay for abortions in the health care "reform" bills that she has written a new editorial saying so. The editorial is making its way across the pro-abortion blogosphere.

In various letters to members of Congress, the Catholic bishops have made it clear that they support health care reform as long as it does not involve taxpayer-financing of abortion.

Richards, whose top goal at Planned Parenthood is making sure abortion is included and that her centers get government funds from the government-run health care plan, used the tried and true approach of talking about everything other than abortion.

She claims abortion is merely a first step and that the Catholic bishops will begin defining legitimate medical procedures out of universal health care, as if the bishops would begin opposing medical care or surgeries.

"Does anyone else see the irony in the U.S. bishops wanting to define universal health care as covering everything except for what they don’t support?" Richards asks.

"Under this theory, I suppose women are supposed to wait to see just exactly how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comes down on a variety of health care needs to understand what in fact will be considered universal," she complains.

Richards also makes the wild-eyed claim that the Catholic opposition to taxpayer-funding of abortions in America would some how hurt women across the globe — even though UN statistics show maternal mortality at its lowest in nations where abortions are prohibited.

"The danger, of course, is not simply that the bishops are pushing to erode decades of legal access to contraception and abortion in America. Their hard-line opposition to women’s rights also endangers millions of women around the globe," Richards claims.

"The effort to criminalize access to safe abortion endangers most women in the developing world," she contends, adding that women "primarily in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean" are at risk because abortions are illegal.

Yet, a 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) report shows countries that have decriminalized abortion in recent years in response to pressure, such as Ethiopia, have failed to lower dramatic maternal death rates. Ethiopia’s maternal death rate is 48 times higher than in Mauritius, which is the most pro-life nation in Africa.

"According to WHO, the country with the lowest maternal mortality rate in South America is Chile, which protects unborn life in its constitution. The country with the highest is Guyana, with a maternal mortality rate 30 times higher than in Chile," Aracely Ornelas of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says.

He adds that Guyana has allowed abortion without almost any restriction since in 1995. Ironically, one of two main justifications used in liberalizing Guyana’s law was to enhance the "attainment of safe motherhood" by eliminating deaths and complications associated with unsafe abortion.

"Worldwide, the country with the lowest maternal death rate is Ireland, a nation that prohibits abortion and whose constitution explicitly protects the rights of the unborn,’ Ornelas says.

Richards concludes her op-ed: "We call upon Congress and the White House to continue to stand firmly on the side of women in health care reform."

It appears the nation’s Catholic bishops are doing just that.

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