WashPost: 'Reality Belies Perception' In Akron Planned Parenthood 'Abortion Clinic That Isn't'

September 16th, 2015 6:05 PM

Doctors can practice defensive medicine, and when it comes to Planned Parenthood, the liberal media often practice defensive journalism, aiming to prevent any prosecution or condemnation of the nation’s largest abortion provider. 

The front page of Wednesday’s Washington Post, on the day of the second Republican presidential debate, carried the headline “At a Planned Parenthood, reality belies perception. Ohio clinic that doesn’t perform abortions sees 7,100 patients each year, most of them young and poor.” 

The reality and the perception about Planned Parenthood is obvious: by its own annual report, it performed almost 328,000 abortion in a year, or about 898 abortions a day. To spend an entire story chronicling one of the PP affiliate clinics that does not perform abortions – but refers unhappy pregnant women to a clinic 26 miles away – is not “typical.” It doesn’t “belie” the pro-life argument against Planned Parenthood’s activities. 

Abortions are more deadly than cigarettes, but one can’t imagine that when the tobacco companies were under attack in the Clinton years, that The Washington Post would have done a story on RJR Nabisco by going to chronicle an Oreo factory and writing “Reality belies perception: They’re not merchants of death; they make cookies.” 

The online headline was “Planned Parenthood is a symbol. This is the reality of one Ohio clinic.” This also suggests pro-lifers aren’t acknowledging a “reality.” Here's the Twitter version: 

The sympathetic reporter was Monica Hesse, who wrote a massive Post story in May gushing over a woman who drove from Wyoming to Montana to procure an abortion, with no real opposition in the story. Once again, Hesse’s whole story focused only on the people inside the Akron affiliate of Planned Parenthood. While one photograph inside showed a single pro-life protester outside the clinic, he was not quoted. 

The Post has stopped reporting details from the Center for Medical Progress videos, and Hesse couldn’t even acknowledge they have revealed anything. Instead, it’s only “purported” that they show Planned Parenthood discussing a business in selling fetal “specimens.” Notice where the front-page story goes inside the paper: 

There they were, in a state whose attorney general had recently opened an investigation of Planned Parenthood, in a country where House and Senate members were threatening to shut down the federal government [TURN THE PAGE] over Planned Parenthood funding, at a time when an anti-abortion group was releasing weekly videos that purported to show the organization’s employees talking about selling fetal tissue for profit — and in a universe where Planned Parenthood had again become a symbol for one of the most divisive moral battles of the modern era.

The headline inside the paper is “Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinic that isn’t.” Hesse and the Post passionately believe that Planned Parenthood is a vital provider of health services for the poor, harassed by potentially violent extremists. Check this paragraph: 

This clinic sees nearly 7,100 patients a year, most of them young and poor. The clinicians administer 3,400 pregnancy tests, write 2,900 prescriptions for birth control and provide 13,200 screenings for sexually transmitted infections to the women and men walking into a boxy building between a restaurant-supply store and a used-car dealership. Inside the clinicians’ office, a pamphlet on the wall reads “Bomb Threat Checklist.”

This is plainly changing the subject, as usual, from the violence committed by Planned Parenthood, 898 times a day. Hesse explained that “those videos” are causing anger and raising security concerns. 

Like nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s facilities nationwide, Akron doesn’t perform abortions. Three of the organization’s 27 centers in Ohio do; the nearest is in Bedford Heights, where protesters regularly picket. When pregnancy tests come back as unwanted positives, those patients are referred to Bedford Heights, 26 miles away.

That referral had now become enough of a metaphorical [?] tie to the organization’s more controversial mission that one patient had come in and said, angrily, “I saw those videos,” and one employee’s husband found himself defending his wife’s profession to colleagues who had never before shown an interest. Earlier that morning, at the weekly staff meeting, Stephanie Kight, the Ohio state director, told the workers that a large antiabortion demonstration was announced for the coming weekend in front of the clinic.

That appeared to be a protest on August 22, so this isn’t exactly a breaking-news story. Hesse discussed a meeting the Akron Planned Parenthood staff had about how it’s “risky” to tell anyone they work for this misunderstood employer, so in some cases they lie even to their own parents: 

Employees should think about the risks of disclosing their workplace, [“education manager” Constance] Dunlap said. They also should think about the emotional risks of not telling people. Dunlap said that her own parents did not know where she works. They are in their 80s and devout Baptists. “My dad thinks I’m a teacher,” she said, and the meeting ended and it was time to open the clinic.