Obama loves PP

BN-JO842_mcgurn_J_20150727162751“Mr. Obama made history as the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood.” William McGurn

“Planned Parenthood has ‘the highest ethical standards.” Josh Earnest, White House spokesman

“Those who march for “Black Lives Matter” should picket Planned Parenthood (which killed 90,000 black babies in 2014).” Anon

“Take sonograms, or ultrasounds. In the first video, Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Deborah Nucatola describes using ultrasound to help those doing the abortion ‘know where they are putting their forceps.” McGurn

The Political ‘Science’ of Planned Parenthood

Obama, not noticeably shy about weighing in on controversial subjects, is steering clear of this one.

William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2015, p. A 11

‘When the science is inconvenient, when the facts don’t match up with the ideology, they are cast aside.”

So charged Sen. Barack Obama in a Planned Parenthood speech in 2007. The line was a dig at George W. Bush for his approach to abortion and reproductive rights. Eighteen months later, the new president repeated his snipe in his inaugural vow to “restore science to its rightful place.”

Today President Obama is the one finding the science inconvenient. In the past, the president hasn’t hesitated to weigh in on other controversies while they were in progress—from an altercation between a black Harvard professor and a local white cop to more recent comments about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Suddenly, however, he has nothing to say about two secretly recorded videos that include one Planned Parenthood doctor talking about a “less crunchy” abortion technique that would leave fetal organs intact for harvesting.

Then again, for all Mr. Obama’s talk about restoring science to its proper place, his promises made clear that, if elected, he would not only be the first African-American president but have a good claim to be deemed as the first Planned Parenthood POTUS as well. The price was jettisoning the soothing Bill Clinton language—“safe, legal and rare”—for a more militant approach in which no abortion is beyond the pale.

In the process, President Obama has had to overlook the contradictory approach to science among his own allies. Take sonograms, or ultrasounds. In the first video, Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Deborah Nucatola describes using ultrasound to help those doing the abortion “know where they are putting their forceps.”

On “Fox News Sunday” last weekend, Carly Fiorina underscored the contradiction. Planned Parenthood lobbies against laws requiring women to have an “opportunity to look at an ultrasound before she makes an incredibly difficult choice to end the unborn life within her,” said the Republican hopeful. “And yet they are using that same technology to harvest body parts.”

At other times when the facts don’t match up with his ideology, Mr. Obama retreats to silence. In 2013, when Kermit Gosnell’s abortion horrors were before the American people, Mr. Obama’s then-spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the president couldn’t comment on an ongoing trial.

The reporter pressed for an answer, noting that the president’s position had special relevance for this case. As an Illinois state senator, he pointed out, Mr. Obama had opposed a bill that would have provided medical care “to babies who would be born after a botched abortion” like those that Dr. Gosnell was accused of killing.

Two weeks after that White House news conference, Mr. Obama made history as the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood. Two weeks later, Dr. Gosnell was convicted of murdering three babies. Still, the president has said nothing.

Now we have two Planned Parenthood docs on film talking about the value of human organs in a fetus whose humanity they would deny. In private the euphemisms disappear. “When they talk to the public or to women about to get an abortion they talk about ‘tissue,’ ” says Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life. “But when they talk to someone buying body parts, it’s about intact hearts, livers and lungs.”

Ditto for another inconvenience: Shouldn’t a decent respect for the facts include some presidential acknowledgment that Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider?

Finally, there is the president’s apparent willingness to put Planned Parenthood’s funding—slightly less than half of its $1.3 billion in annual revenue comes from taxpayers—above all else. Back in 2011, President Obama informed Republicans he would rather see the entire federal government shut down than cut a nickel from Planned Parenthood.

Which brings us back to today. When asked last week at the daily press briefing if the president has any concerns about the videos, White House spokesman Josh Earnestreferred the reporter to Planned Parenthood, which he described as having “the highest ethical standards.” The only concern Mr. Earnest allowed was over the editing of the videos.

It’s an odd indifference for a president who likes to scold his critics for subordinating science to ideology. At a time when many in the pro-choice camp are saying how repelled they are to see Planned Parenthood reps joke about selling embryonic livers and buying Lamborghinis, the president remains unperturbed.

This is the abortion culture of Planned Parenthood. In that same 2007 speech where Mr. Obama first played the science card, he also endorsed its absolutist stance: “On this fundamental issue, I will not yield, and Planned Parenthood will not yield.”

That’s not science. That’s pure political allegiance. And a grubby one at that.

Write to mcgurn@wsj.com.

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