Well, it has been a while since Part One of this article, and several new videos have come out in the meantime with evidence and footage of infants born alive and sold for their organs in PP clinics. Thankfully, the push against Planned Parenthood continues despite a failed vote in the Senate to defund on a federal level. Five states have also diverted their funding those that watch the videos continue to be shocked and motivated to action.
Our pregnancy clinics are a valuable and viable alternative to Planned Parenthood both for patients and for government budgets (though far more likely at state rather than a national level). In addition to expanding our services however, we would need find a solution to what I call The Quality Problem.
In my opinion, The Quality Problem is responsible for a large chunk of NARAL’s state level success over the past several years (for example, California bill AB 775). NARAL and their friends are able to send in secret shoppers to clinics across any given state, select out all but the worst experiences, and then compile this into a report to leverage during legislation. Sure, some parts of the reports could be exaggerated or falsified, but the sad truth is that they don’t have to lie too much to make a bad impression. Despite the fact that the majority of our clinics are doing awesome things, hold themselves to high standards and serve their patients well, there are others nearby that are not, often due to a lack of support resources or knowledge. A legislator during one of the California bill hearings summed it up well; “There are bad actors among you.” So long as we have clinics that fail to meet medical and professional standards, we all look bad. I believe that the issue of quality and standards contributes to the continuation of PP funding.
As I said in Part One of this article, “Women’s healthcare is one of the most cutting issues in politics today and no self-preserving politician will vote to cut women’s healthcare funding. In order to defund Planned Parenthood, there has to be an alternative that is irrefutably better in order to divert funds.”
It is difficult to prove we are irrefutably better while reports like this are being distributed to legislators. We can, however, raise our standards and stick to them as an industry. I believe the solution is a network of pregnancy clinics that prove compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and best practices. Such a network would provide peer-to-peer support, with PMCs who have already attained compliance helping other to raise themselves up. This is a particularly effective model since standards can vary widely between states and regions, and PMCs within these areas could reach out to those smaller clinics that have less support and fewer resources.
This model is currently being tested in Montana and will soon be spreading to others, under the name Women’s Health Network. You will likely be hearing more about this endeavor in the coming months as the project progresses. In the meantime, wherever you are in the country, you can reach out to the clinics in your area to support one another and find areas of improvement. As much as we concentrate on our particular organizations and communities, things are changing fast all around us and we need to branch out to keep up.
If we as a movement work on expanding our services and raising our standards, we will no longer be the excuse for continuing abortion funding- we will be the alternative.