“We will never forget September 11, 2001.” These words that we’ve heard in different contexts over the last couple of weeks around the 10th anniversary of 9/11 mean one thing for those who value all human life, and quite another for those who only value those lives that are wanted and convenient.
For those who value life, September 11th is a time to pray for all who suffered and died that day in 2001 due to the sinful behaviors of others. It is also a personal reminder that we know not the day nor the hour when each of us will be called into eternity. Actions have consequences; “the wages of sin is death,” but through God’s justice and mercy in our own lives, the culture of life continues to bring hope and healing to others.
For Planned Parenthood, however, the aftermath of September 11, 2001 was a time for helping women in need by offering free reproductive services, including abortions, emergency contraception, and birth control. Yes, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) will never forget that date as they “[reached] out to women who have been displaced and [eased] their fears” by offering these services from September 18th to 29th that year at no cost. In their own words, “The tragic events of September 11th will not alter or diminish this legacy.”
In September 2001, I was director of Project Rachel, the post-abortion healing ministry in Arlington, VA. We were also reaching out to women, but in a very different way – by offering hope and healing during this time of terrible pain and suffering as their own personal post-abortion grief intensified in the aftermath of 9/11. And yet, PPNYC blatantly offered more grief and false hope as a response to women who barely had time to even begin processing all that they had just experienced! The 9/11 tragedy brought sudden death and loss of loved ones to countless Americans. And the best that PPNYC had to offer was more sudden death and loss of loved ones through abortion?
This is the legacy that PPNYC and its allies offer for women who are suffering. Ten years later, their legacy continues; this time with the blessing of the federal government as they celebrate the new U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that private insurance companies and the government will now pick up the tab for free “reproductive health” services for women. Once this takes effect, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) will be able to deepen its coffers with private insurance payments for contraception and sterilization, as well as the government Medicaid payments they are currently receiving from the feds. This continues a pattern of the current administration’s commitment to find new ways to direct federal funding to its pro-abortion political allies at Planned Parenthood. This new norm will allow all women with healthy functioning reproductive organs to be offered an array of pills, devices, and surgical procedures to alter themselves (as though they were mere cats and dogs) under the guise of “disease prevention.”
Such false and empty “solutions” to the “problem” of fertility betray a profound distortion not only of women’s health, but also of women as persons.
As human persons, we are much more than the sum of our body parts, and our fertility is not a disease. A woman’s body expresses who she is as a human person, and her ability to have children is a perfection of her personhood, not an error. Treating the gift of fertility as a disease to be prevented naturally leads to a paradigm of “use” between men and women, or one of mutual objectification.
But this reality doesn’t fit into PPFA’s agenda, as they claim to be women’s protectors, exclusively through their promotion of “reproductive freedom.” In the name of “reproductive freedom,” PPFA’s legacy strips women of their inherent feminine dignity, thus moving them ever closer to becoming non-persons – things that can be used and discarded.
Human persons are made to love and to be loved, not to use and be used. This truth seems to be lost on the promoters of reproductive freedom, as is the irony that the “freedom” they are selling always seems to end in loss and loneliness as relationship after relationship falls apart.
One wonders if Planned Parenthood’s female benefactors, supporters, employees, and volunteers have resigned themselves to an adversarial approach to men, and the sad outcomes that seem practically guaranteed by their worldview. And if so, do they consider themselves to be persons or things? Perhaps among all of the remembrances surrounding the 10th anniversary of that dark day of our nation, remembering the sobering words of a very prominent “doctor” may provide an insight into their quandary:
“… If you’d never been born, well then what would you do? If you’d never been born, well then what would you be? You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree! You might be a doorknob! Or three baked potatoes! You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes. Or worse than all that…Why, you might be a WASN’T! A Wasn’t has no fun at all. No, he doesn’t. A Wasn’t just isn’t. He just isn’t present. But you…You ARE YOU!…That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! Shout loud, “I am lucky to be what I am! Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam! I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be! If I say so myself, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!” – Dr. Seuss
The joy available to those who embrace fertility for the gift that it is really does have an aspect of childlike happiness, not least of all because children may become part of their lives. The good doctor’s wisdom may seem out of place among the memorials of 9/11, but if what we seek is to turn from a culture of death to a culture of life, this may be exactly what women need to hear.