Published June 17, 2020
In a bit of news that surely everyone saw coming, Planned Parenthood has endorsed Joe Biden for president.
“This is literally a life and death election,” said Planned Parenthood’s acting president Alexis McGill Johnson, who apparently is immune to irony. “We felt like we can’t endure another four years of Trump; we have to do everything we can to get him out of office.”
This breathless commentary was delivered, of course, as if Planned Parenthood had ever contemplated doing anything other than opposing any Republican who happens to run for any office whatsoever, at the federal, state, or local level. (Or, for that matter, any Democrat who isn’t toeing the party line on abortion; just ask outgoing congressman Dan Lipinski.)
Aside from absolute fealty to the agenda of unlimited abortion on demand, funded by the U.S. taxpayer, Planned Parenthood asks relatively little. But deviation from the organization’s wish list will bring devastating consequences. Last summer, for instance, Biden faced a firestorm from abortion-rights activists and his opponents in the Democratic primary when he couldn’t quite determine whether he still supported the Hyde Amendment, a longtime bipartisan provision ensuring that federal dollars don’t directly fund abortion procedures.
In the end, and with a helpful nudge from actress qua activist Alyssa Milano, Biden decided that, no, he didn’t actually want to protect the consciences of pro-life taxpayers after all. In what played out as more of a faltering back-and-forth than a flip-flop — truly a PR debacle for the ages — Biden cast aside decades of support for conscience rights and solidified the support of the Planned Parenthood brigade.
Biden has spent his lengthy career paying lip service to his Catholic faith, averring that he is “personally pro-life” but, in the classic formulation of the Catholic Democratic politician, that he doesn’t wish to impose his morality on others. He has yet to walk back his previous support for the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, but then, he has yet to be asked about it. It remains unclear whether he still opposes abortion later in pregnancy, as he did when he was in the Senate.
But those fine-grained distinctions matter little to Planned Parenthood, whose constituency evidently has the presumptive nominee on a leash. After all, Biden already has sworn that he will nominate only justices who support abortion rights and that he will “codify Roe v. Wade,” whatever that means. When it counts, he has little compunction; don’t forget how he smiled along with President Obama as their administration forced religious employers, including Catholic universities and a charitable order of Catholic nuns, to subsidize abortion-inducing drugs — and dragged them to court time and again when they had the temerity to resist.
The little matter of Tara Reade, by the way, appears not to have caused Planned Parenthood’s leaders to lose a wink. Asked in late April to respond to Reade’s allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her, Planned Parenthood remained totally silent. This, after having spent months trumpeting misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh that had far less corroboration than Reade’s accusation against Biden, whom she had, at least, met.
That hypocrisy should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. For Planned Parenthood, potential victims are worthy of belief and media attention only insofar as their alleged abusers are an obstacle to the abortion-rights agenda. There is no principle whatsoever in the abortion provider’s proclamations about “women’s rights,” only a bottom line that must be protected. It is little wonder that they’ve anointed an unprincipled man like Biden to represent them.
Alexandra DeSanctis is a staff writer for National Review and a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.