By Camille Rodriguez, SFLA’s Southern California Regional Coordinator
There was a time when I didn’t miss an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The DVR was always set to record and even when I was caught up I would still find myself watching the occasional E! marathon to reminisce on the times we shared. Trips to Greece, France and Thailand were all a step out of my own reality and a step into a luxurious life I could only dream of living; never mind the idea of beautiful homes, chic stylists and daily hangouts with hilarious sisters. I will shamelessly admit that my love of Cuban coffee stemmed from an episode where Khloé is desperately running around Miami in search of cortaditos. You can’t make that stuff up! I had to try one for myself! Through the ups and downs, babies, boyfriends and breakups, my Sunday nights (or Monday evenings) were reserved to see what was going to happen next!
Since life gets busy and time goes on, I had to friendzone the relationship I once held so dear and keep up through Instagram, Snapchat, and yes, the occasional in-flight E! marathon. Regardless, I felt like I knew these girls as much as one could from my position and most especially appreciated when Kourtney chose life for her first baby after finding out she was pregnant in unideal circumstances. This woman is strong! You can imagine my surprise then, when I scrolled through Instagram this past May only to find that they went on a field trip to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and left using the hashtag “#istandwithpp.” Wait, what?! I was admittedly stunned.
Fast forward to Sunday evening when the episode aired. I had to know what Planned Parenthood presented to these sisters. Family is what they are made of. How could they support an organization who continually destroys the family unit without apology? “There is nothing worse than wanting to support people, but not knowing,” said Kim, when talking to Kourtney about the public push for the government to defund Planned Parenthood. Fair enough. They then called Khloé who stated, “I think it’s a really big misconception…I think people think Planned Parenthood is, like, an abortion center.” Well, here’s the breakdown from Planned Parenthood’s own annual report. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood committed 328,348 abortions. Let that sink in for a minute. Three hundred twenty-eight thousand, three hundred forty-eight abortions. Resist the temptation to jump to any other number and just sit on that for another moment. 328,348. Abortion, noun: the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. Planned Parenthood committed 328,348 abortions in ONE year.
Naturally, I’m going to give Khloé the benefit of the doubt, she’s my old friend after all and I would have my beloved Cuban coffee without her. They’re not experts. The whole purpose of their field trip was to learn more. So, I kept watching.
As they walked through the doors of the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood, the sisters were greeted by smiling faces and were welcomed with open arms. Yeah, I would be that desperate too, Planned Parenthood, try not to forget your talking points. “We primarily provide life-saving cancer screenings, STD treatment, birth control…90% of what we do is preventive care.” Nope, didn’t forget them. Sorry to burst your bubble, Sue, but abortion isn’t preventive care and it makes up over 90% of your pregnancy services. Way to not mention abortion at all, by the way. Moving on.
“How many clinics are in California?” asked Khloé as they’re walking through the hallway. “There are many, many clinics. California sees about 1.5 million patient visits each year,” replied Sue. Hearing that I couldn’t help but wonder how many of those visits are actually reported to the Center for Disease Control considering abortion rates haven’t been reported to the CDC from California since 1997. States are not required to report abortion data to the CDC, so we’re working with skewed numbers from the beginning. How many more abortions are happening that we don’t even know about? And you still want our tax dollars and the repeal of Hyde. Nah, I’m good.
The sisters were then introduced to two young women who work with high school students and teachers who stated they focus on preventing STDs, birth control, abstinence and healthy relationships. “What is the weirdest question you guys have got,” asked Kim. The teacher’s reply, “Can you use a snickers wrapper as a condom.” You’re teaching abstinence, yet a high schooler is asking if you can use a candy wrapper as a condom. Yeah, okay. Another talking point to save face? What in your abstinence talk evoked such a question? And no, please refrain yourself from the candy wrapper.
Addressing healthy relationships, Planned Parenthood has a booklet called “Healthy, Happy and Hot” which says:
“Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status…Sharing your HIV status is called disclosure. Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status…Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) their status before having sex…these laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”
Real healthy. Am I being sarcastic? Hard yes.
Continuing through the episode, the sisters meet three female patients of Planned Parenthood. These women share their stories and gratitude. One woman opened up and shared that in her abortion appointment, the doctor sensed her hesitation and refused to go forward with the appointment until the woman went home and thought about her decision. She then decided to parent her child. This is awesome and I’m not here to discredit her story, so I’ll share two of my own.
The first is of a friend who supported Planned Parenthood…until she got pregnant. Knowing she wanted to keep her baby, she walked into the local PP and asked for pregnancy verification, which is required to obtain insurance. Because she did NOT want an abortion, this Planned Parenthood turned her away stating it was illegal for them to touch her if she wasn’t terminating her pregnancy. They sent her away unless she wanted an abortion. Nice. The second is of an encounter with a woman I met outside of the Planned Parenthood in downtown Los Angeles while sidewalk counseling. She walked out of the doors in tears. I asked if she was okay and she continued walking. After a moment had passed, I looked down the sidewalk and saw her still there. She was sitting on the curb crying. I walked over to see if she needed help, which she politely refused. Before walking away because I wanted to respect her space, I asked if she wanted prayer. She looked up at me with tears streaming down her face and nodded, “yes.” We shared that moment and after introducing ourselves, she walked away.
“The perception of Planned Parenthood is that it’s this abortion clinic and that’s nothing of what it’s like,” said Kim. Sometimes I think we only see what we wish to see and the fear of taking off our rose-colored glasses allows the perpetration of violence to continue. “People need to be more educated before they form opinions,” stated Khole. I wholeheartedly agree. Maybe the Kardashian sisters can join us on the sidewalk in Los Angeles one day to gain a new perspective. I hope they would also open their minds to hear the thousands of stories of women who were deceived by Planned Parenthood and wish they could turn back time. Women are strong, capable and deserve to be empowered! Heck, the Kardashian empire is made of women! Let’s use that influence to hear both sides and really educate a nation that deserves the truth.
With over 10,500 FQHCs serving over 25 million patients a year, outnumbering Planned Parenthood 16:1, I’d say the truth is We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood.