In 2009, Abby Johnson left Planned Parenthood to become an anti-choice activist, apparently after watching an ultrasound of an abortion. This year, another Planned Parenthood employee left — this one because she didn't like giving out birth control.
Kate Shellnutt of the Houston Chronicle's Believe It Or Not blog tells the story of Ramona Trevino, who left a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Sherman, Texas earlier this year to work for anti-choice organization 40 Days for Life. The reason: "As her oldest daughter entered the teenage years, Trevino grew more uncomfortable interacting with young girls who had many sexual partners." Says Trevino, "You send them away with a birth control script, but is that really going to help the problem?"
Well, if that problem is unintended pregnancies, then the answer is a resounding yes. But if Trevino was disturbed by young women being sexually active, maybe she shouldn't have been working at Planned Parenthood in the first place. Significantly, the Sherman clinic did not provide abortions — and anti-choicers protested outside it anyway. This, like Trevino's pill-inspired change of heart, reveals that the anti-choice movement really isn't about abortion alone — and some members support policies that would actually increase the number of unintended pregnancies.
Those members are applauding right now — the Sherman clinic closed last week due to a lack of sufficient business. This means the women who did visit the clinic will have to drive forty more minutes to receive birth control, testing, and preventive health care like pap smears. According to Gerry Brundage of the Texoma Pro-Life Association: "all that, 'Oh, where are women gonna go? Women are gonna die,' stuff [is] just rhetoric." But while former Sherman clients may have an alternative for now, cuts to Texas's family planning budget have put clinics around the state at risk. Holly Morgan of Planned Parenthood of North Texas tells the Dallas Observer,
[T]he patients just aren't going to have anywhere to go. [...] The lawmakers who did this were really just cutting off their nose to spite their face. To cut $66 million for family planning care can only create more health problems and more unwanted pregnancies. They say their target is abortion and abortion providers, but this is just about denying health care to poor people.
Sometimes whether something is "just rhetoric" depends on whether you care.
From Planned Parenthood To Picket Lines: Why Women Convert To ‘Pro-Life' [Chron.com]
In Utero News: Sonogram Bill Has Been Blocked, But Texas Women Are Still Kind of Screwed [Dallas Observer]
Anti-Abortion Groups Gather To Celebrate Closing Of Planned Parenthood In Sherman [Dallas Observer]