Jon Scharfenberger, one of our Missionaries for Life encountered Planned Parenthood workers in Washington, DC over the summer. After talking with them about the abortion issue, they were surprised to discover possible new allies!
Promoting a Culture of Life on the Streets of Washington, D.C.
As a friend and I were walking through Chinatown in downtown DC after dinner, we noticed three Planned Parenthood “fundraisers” asking for donations from people walking by. Looking forward to this encounter, my friend and I approached them and inquired into the nature of their activity. Wearing Planned Parenthood shirts, David, Bert, and Lilly were being paid by Planned Parenthood to solicit money from hopeful donors on the streets of downtown DC. Their job description was primarily based on asking passerby’s for a monetary donation. My friend and I pressed them on their knowledge of abortion and we found that they were not even prepared to answer the most simple of questions. For example, they gave conflicting answers as to what percentage abortion services comprise Planned Parenthood’s entire operations. Dave said 3% while Lilly claimed it was 7%. When asked about how much money Planned Parenthood profits off abortion services, Dave stated they make, “only a couple million dollars, which is really insignificant compared to other services.” According to a report released by National Right to Life, Planned Parenthood’s total income averages over $1 billion per year, with approximately one-third of that ($374.7 million in 2008) coming from clinical abortion services. [http://www.nrlc.org/news/2009/NRL05/PPAnnualReport.html]
As our discussion evolved, we found that Dave was the only employee who held strong pro-abortion beliefs. In fact, Bert and Lilly, both black college students, ultimately admitted that abortion was murder and that they were pro-life. However, while they did not personally support abortion, they believed in the ‘good’ of Planned Parenthood’s other services – birth control, counseling, cancer screening, etc. This is a perfect example of how Planned Parenthood reels in individuals, some of whom are pro-life, and fights so hard to cover-up abortion. They advertise that abortions are only an “insignificant” part of their business and feed false information and statistics to pro-life individuals. The fact that Planned Parenthood clinics perform approximately 5,000 abortions per week can hardly be called “insignificant.”
Nevertheless, for 45 minutes, my friend and I engaged in a serious but genial debate on abortion and Planned Parenthood. While Dave was fervent in his pro-abort beliefs, Bert and Lilly were appalled to hear the statistics of abortion, the facts about the beginnings of Planned Parenthood and their connection with the eugenics movement. In the end, at their urging, we exchanged emails and promised to send them statistics and information on abortion.
Such an exchange as this is ultimately what pro-lifers are called to do in today’s world. Our duty is to engage and change the hearts of others, be it in a private setting or as public as on a sidewalk in Washington, DC. God willing, we planted a seed in them which will compel them to seek employment elsewhere.
Jon Scharfenberger is a Senior at Ave Maria University, former President of his Students for Life group and a 2010 SFLA Missionary for Life.