Imagine a video featuring various people talking about how happy they were to be alive. They shared how they had narrowly survived car accidents, cancer, attempted murder by an abusive partner, and other near-death experiences. They danced and sang and declared their intention to make every moment count, while upbeat music played in the background. And at the very end of the video, there’s a logo for… an anti-abortion group.
What would you make of such an ad? The most generous thing you might say is that while it conveys a positive message about the value of life generally, it misses some pretty key elements of the abortion debate. Less generously, you might denounce it as manipulative, and as shamelessly exploiting good causes to draw attention to something else entirely.
The reason I ask is because Planned Parenthood recently came out with the pro-choice version of that hypothetical video, entitled “My Body Is My Own.”
For those of you who can’t watch the video, it features people of various ages, races, abilities, and gender identities (primarily women and girls) responding to the prompt “My body is my own when…” Answers include “when I can embrace my imperfections,” “when people say I’m a good friend,” “when I’m boxing,” “when I’m dancing,” and my personal favorite, because it is a goal I have yet to achieve, “when I can parallel park really fast.” Interview segments touch on such worthwhile topics as gender stereotyping, body image, and bullying.
And at the very end, there is the Planned Parenthood logo.
No mention of contraception. No mention of pregnancy. No mention of sexual health. And of course, no mention of the lethal practice of abortion, beyond a vague reference to “making decisions.”
Four years ago, I wrote:
If not “pro-choice” (and not, they vehemently protest, “pro-abortion”), what do they want to be called? The answers vary, but there’s a common theme: they want to ride on the coattails of genuine good causes. In an Alternet piece, Planned Parenthood talks about supporting “economic security,” while abortion advocate Monica Simpson, whose efforts are focused on the Black community, wants to link abortion to a “safe and healthy environment” for children and freedom from domestic violence. And of course, there’s the time-tested method of hiding abortion in the tent of “women’s health.”
… Based on the signals we’re getting from pro-choice media commentators, we need to be particularly vigilant in our charitable endeavors. Pro-lifers are as active in charitable organizations as anybody else, so we have the ability to impede the pro-choice strategy here. Whatever causes you are involved in, be on the lookout for activists looking to co-opt them in the name of abortion—and when it happens, speak out against it, quickly and loudly!
With this video, Planned Parenthood’s co-opt strategy has officially jumped the shark.