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Lankford, other Baptists to keep fighting PPFA

WASHINGTON (BP) — Though an initial U.S. Senate vote on Planned Parenthood failed to bring to the floor a bill to defund America’s largest abortion provider, Southern Baptist leaders in government and churches have said believers must continue the fight.

Sen. James Lankford, a Southern Baptist and cosponsor of the bill to defund Planned Parenthood, told Baptist Press he is trying “to build a coalition large enough to be able to actually get this defunded.” Such coalition building involves finding Democratic legislators who “have not made that campaign pledge that they will always protect Planned Parenthood” and who “can actually have a reasonable conversation about life and about children.”

Lankford, R.-Okla., said he wants to ask liberals and progressives, “Why do we spend so much money for this one organization and commit all this money to them when there have been so many ethical problems?”

Lankford asked pro-life citizens to pray, talk with America’s youth about life and support crisis pregnancy centers while he and other anti-abortion legislators work to break Planned Parenthood’s hold in Washington.

“Many of the liberals and progressives in D.C. are firmly committed to protecting Planned Parenthood in every way they possibly can,” Lankford said. “And it’s part of their campaign promises that they will always protect Planned Parenthood. So it is amazing to me the loyalty that that organization demands from any of the elected politicians that they support. But it is frightening … how strong of a hold they have.”

Southern Baptist Congressman Randy Forbes, R.-Va., told BP he will continue to encourage investigation of Planned Parenthood by the House Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member. He would like to see the defunding of Planned Parenthood attached to a bill President Obama needs to sign and hopes videos released by the Center for Medical Progress will incite enough public outrage to spur congressional action.

“You wonder when the outrage becomes so great, when it’s so atrocious that even people who, for political reasons or whatever other reasons, have supported pro-abortion efforts in the past just say, ‘I can’t go there. That’s a bridge too far,'” Forbes said. If the CMP video campaign “doesn’t do it, I’m not sure what it would take to do it.”

Pro-life citizens should write, call and visit their members of Congress regardless of their representatives’ positions on abortion, Forbes said.

“I’m hoping that we’ll find, if not the members’ outrage, certainly the constituents who elect them having an outrage that will put pressure on them to override [any presidential] vetoes,” Forbes said.

Southern Baptist Congressman Trent Franks, R.-Ariz., called Planned Parenthood’s actions a “horror” and told BP “protecting the innocent was the primary reason I came to Congress. It’s been a lifelong commitment.”

Enacting into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would prevent some of Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in baby parts, Franks said. That legislation, which passed the House and is being considered by the Senate, would outlaw most abortions of children 20 weeks or older.

“Most of the calls for those little parts” harvested by Planned Parenthood “are for the older children, those later in the pregnancy,” Franks said. “And this would have protected them.”

Franks cited the Planned Parenthood controversy as “an opportunity, God help us, to try to open the hearts and minds of the people to the hope that we can pass some of these bills and begin to turn the tide of blood back in this country.”

K. Marshall Williams, pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia and president of Southern Baptists’ National African American Fellowship, told BP one important reason to defund Planned Parenthood is to combat its disproportionate impact on blacks and Hispanics. In 2008, for example, the number of black babies aborted in the U.S. was greater than the total number of deaths in the black community from all other causes combined, Williams said, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Guttmacher Institute.

“2010 Census results reveal that Planned Parenthood is targeting minority neighborhoods,” Williams said in written comments. “It has located 79 percent of its 165 surgical abortion facilities within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods. Planned Parenthood located 62 percent of its abortion facilities within two miles of African American neighborhoods, and 64 percent near Hispanic or Latino neighborhoods, thus establishing them as ‘targeted neighborhoods.’ Sadly, black women are three times more likely to have an abortion than white women, and Hispanic or Latino women are nearly twice as likely.”

Planned Parenthood denies the charge that its clinics target minority neighborhoods, citing statistics updated last year from the Guttmacher Institute. The group contends 60 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in majority white neighborhoods, BP reported last year.

Though blacks comprised only about 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2008, black women underwent some 30 percent of the abortions, Williams said. Hispanics, though about 16 percent of the population, had 25 percent of the abortions. Blacks and Hispanics combined underwent more than half of America’s abortions.

White women underwent 36 percent of the abortions in 2008 though non-Hispanic whites comprise nearly 63 percent of the population. Whites in general comprise nearly 78 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census bureau.

Williams called believers to pray and teach sexual abstinence before marriage in addition to “holding community forums on the devastating impact of abortions in the African American community” and holding elected officials accountable.

“We need to lead the cry to defund Planned Parenthood,” Williams said, adding, “Planned Parenthood continues to pursue the eugenics philosophy of its founder, Margaret Sanger, who believed that blacks and the poor were ‘unfit’ to reproduce. She dedicated her life to controlling the population of these ‘undesirables’ by advancing birth control and sterilization in their neighborhoods. Later, the legalization of abortion gave Planned Parenthood an effective and lucrative means for furthering this eugenics agenda.”

Donald Cole, a Georgia political analyst who has pastored Southern Baptist churches, cited Isaiah 10:1 in an Internet commentary about the Senate vote on Planned Parenthood. The verse states, “Woe to those enacting crooked statutes and writing oppressive laws.”

Cole noted, “Everyone had clear knowledge [of] Planned Parenthood leaders callously talking of harvesting body parts of aborted babies. … Every senator knew what was taking place. This is not about politics and polls. Each senator made a conscious, willful decision with his or her vote.”

In the weeks ahead, preachers of God’s Word “had best heed the call and point out what is going on. You need to be explaining clearly to your congregations what is happening by telling the truth about the politicians and the parties that enact evil statutes and those who, with a wink and a nod, allow them to be enacted with little protest,” Cole wrote.

“You need to be naming names,” he wrote. “You need to be explaining how failure to register to vote and to vote only serves to enable evil and challenge every eligible member of your congregation to vote. You need to be fearless in the face of those who fear the IRS more than they fear God.”