Minority Targeting
Planned Parenthood Goes After Native Americans

Steven Mosher
by Colin Mason
09 June 2008
Reproduced with Permission

The American abortion lobby claims to be an equal-opportunity abortion provider, looking out for the needs and wants of all women. Not so. Big Abortion devotes an inordinate amount of attention to Blacks, Hispanics, and Alaska Natives who, in proportion to their population, have the highest abortion rates in America. Now, eager to add another scalp to its collection, it is turning its sights on Native Americans.

The story begins with the Hyde amendment, which restricts abortion coverage in federal health programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Indian Health Services, although leaving open the typical exceptions: rape, incest, and life of the mother. In other words, the amendment recognizes that a huge portion of American taxpayers oppose abortion, and it respects that opposition by insisting that abortions not be covered by tax-funded health care programs. The Hyde amendment was attached to the Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill, and passed in 1976.

Although the abortion lobby has attempted to use legal loopholes to avoid these restrictions, the amendment has been able to keep federal funds from actively paying for abortions throughout the years. However, since it needs to be renewed each year with the annual appropriations bill, there is always the chance that the amendment could be weakened or even thrown out entirely. This is what the pro-abortion lobby intends to do with the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. This is what the Vitter amendment, proposed by Senator David Vitter (R-LA), aims to prevent.

The Vitter amendment, approved by the Senate on February 26th, is an amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that prohibits the "improvements" to Indian health from including funding for abortion. This measure, bitterly opposed by House Democrats, would effectively codify the Hyde amendment into Federal law, making it removable only by an act of Congress.

The abortion lobby, with typical upside-down logic, insists that it is inherently "racist" to deny Native American women the right to abortion. As usual, they have recruited Native American front woman to back them up. "It's a very racist amendment," insists Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center, in a statement to the Washington Independent. "it puts another layer of restrictions on the only race of people whose health care is governed primarily by the federal government. All women are subject to the Hyde amendment, so why would they put another set of conditions on us?"

Planned Parenthood is predictably indignant, basing its opposition to the Vitter amendment in the fact that "under current policy, the Hyde Amendment forbids federal funding for abortion in almost all cases. IHS already delivers basic health care services in a manner consistent with the Hyde Amendment. In fact, 25 U.S.C. 1676 subjects IHS funds to restrictions by the Hyde Amendment. Sen. Vitter's amendment is simply a redundancy of current law and would not change current policy."

If this is the case, then what is the big deal? If all that Vitter's amendment does is codify existing law, (and in this case, only in terms of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act), then why is it such a hot point of contention? Why doesn't the abortion lobby oppose all legislation restricting federal abortion funding, not singling out legislation that deals with a minority group like the Native Americans?

In other words, this looks suspiciously like racial profiling. The abortion lobby is quick to label Vitter's amendment "racist," but they are not so quick to notice that they are essentially promoting federally funded abortion for one tiny ethnic group, and nobody else.

But not all Native Americans are fooled by the abortion lobby's rhetoric, contrary to what Planned Parenthood would have us believe. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, CO, a long-time opponent of abortion, continues to urge voters in his archdiocese to vote against pro-choice legislation and candidates. As he said in a 2007 statement, "it's hard to have a future 'for our children and our children's children' without children, and Planned Parenthood specializes in the business of preventing them."

Other Native Americans would do well to follow Archbishop Chaput's example; rejecting the inflated rhetoric of the pro-abortion left and accepting these efforts for what they really are - an attempt to target an already vanishing minority. Native Americans take pride in their people; we hope that they learn to oppose these measures that strike at the very heart of their future: their children. Colin Mason is Director of Media Production at Population Research Institute.