Anti-abortion groups have made Planned Parenthood into their most prominent target in the ongoing War on Women, using a variety of tactics against the organization — such as cutting off its state and national funding, attempting to deny its pharmacy licenses, and embroiling it in unnecessary lawsuits — with the ultimate goal of limiting women’s access to reproductive services. In Illinois, anti-choice activists are employing yet another strategy to compromise Planned Parenthood’s work: perpetrating misinformation about abortion procedures.
Indiana Right to Life is attempting to shut down a Planned Parenthood in Lafayette, Indiana, under claims that it violates state law by performing abortions without a license. But the Lafayette branch does not perform surgical abortion procedures. Rather, it prescribes the RU-486 pill — which was approved by the FDA over a decade ago — that can end a pregnancy up to nine weeks after implantation. RU-486 is not the same as a surgical abortion procedure, despite anti-choice activists’ attempt to conflate reproductive services:
A spokesman for the Indiana State Department of Health would not comment on the clinic’s licensing status or whether abortions with RU-486 are treated the same as surgical abortions under state law. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000.
“The ISDH will have to investigate the specific facts before determining if this practice violates any laws of Indiana for which ISDH is responsible for enforcing,” spokesman Ken Severson said in an email. [...]
Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum said in a statement that all of the organization’s clinics comply with state law. “While we’re not shocked that these extremists would stoop to these tactics, we are disappointed that they would flat-out lie,” Cockrum said.”The fact is that our health center in Lafayette, like our other 27 health centers across the state, provides its services in accordance with Indiana law, without fail.”
Anti-abortion advocates often spout misinformation about women’s bodies, conception, pregnancy, and abortion procedures in their attacks against reproductive freedom. Unfortunately for low-income women across the country, that misinformation has been successful enough to transform Planned Parenthood into a symbol in the abortion debate — resulting in significant drops in access to women’s health services.