A story circulating this week claims that Planned Parenthood of Ohio has spoken out in support of ‘post-birth abortion.’ The claim is that Devin Deitsch, a representative of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood at Ohio State University stated that her colleagues would support ‘aborting’ babies after birth — infanticide.

However, Deitsch has spoken in an e-mail to Business2Community, explaining that her quote was taken from a larger context, and misrepresented. Her organization doesn’t support infanticide, which they absolutely see as a separate thing from abortion, and she’s shared her original statement in order to clarify her meaning.

The statement originally appeared on The College Fix, a conservative student news site, and has been picked up by other outlets since, all passing the word that college students increasingly support ‘post-birth abortion,’ and that Planned Parenthood shares this ideology.

This, however, is not the case. Planned Parenthood focuses on women’s health, and ‘post-birth abortion’ would not be within the scope of either its services, or its philosophy, any more than the organization would espouse a position on euthanasia for a terminally ill man, or when (or if) one should cease life support for a loved one who is never expected to get well. It is simply not within the realm of what Planned Parenthood does.

To that end, Devin Deitsch says she explained in her email to The College Fix that post-birth abortion, as a philosophy, would be irrelevant to her colleagues, as outside what they do. Unfortunately, the statement was quoted in a context that made it appear Deitsch was saying her colleagues would support any abortion, including a ‘post-birth’ one — which ignores the obvious distinction that a post-birth killing would not be an abortion at all.

According to Deitsch, she said to College Fix:

…speaking as the primary leader of VOX, I assure you we are very pro-choice. We don’t identify as pro-abortion as it denotes that we favor abortion over the other choices that a pregnant woman can make and we simply don’t, as all choices are equally fine so long as it is okay with the woman in question. As for post-birth abortion, I would imagine that my colleagues would think the “post-birth” part was largely irrelevant, as we believe very strongly in abortion on demand, without apology, and it’s plain and simple that we should look to the woman’s morals and not shove our opinions where they, frankly, don’t belong. We are not here to advocate for women to get abortions, we advocate for her ability to make that choice without fear, heckling, or barriers. Essentially, we ask for a woman (and her body) to be respected. Nothing more, nothing less.

Though the article quoted

As for post-birth abortion, I would imagine that my colleagues would think the “post-birth” part was largely irrelevant…

it’s position in relation to other text, and lack of fuller context, made it appear that Ms. Deitsch was saying her colleagues wouldn’t care whether an abortion was before birth or after — whereas she was actually saying that such a thing as ‘post-birth abortion’ would not be in the scope of what her organization does, or advocates for.

To Business2Community, Ms. Deitsch explained:

I had neglected to state openly that I am against child murder because honestly, WHO supports that? It truthfully didn’t even cross my mind because believing something like that is preposterous, especially to me, a die-hard Christian who has studied the bible for over six years.

In fact, she explained that her Christian beliefs shape the difference between an abortion and an instance infanticide to her:

I am pro-choice because life in the bible begins with the drawing of the first breath (there is a heap of evidence for this), and anti-choice laws disproportionately affect the poor to the point of oppression, something that Christ DID speak on.

The claim that a growing number of college students support infanticide, even up to four or five years old, as the initial story states, is dubious. There have been utilitarian philosophies for perhaps as long as there have been philosophies, and there have certainly been individuals who find deaths that don’t touch them directly irrelevant for as long as there have been individuals. However, none of this is connected to pro-choice activism, Planned Parenthood, or Devin Deitsch. Those stances are fringe beliefs, and are not widely accepted or espoused in modern society.

Fringe beliefs, however, are frequently convenient to those who would paint an organization, a movement, a political stance, and a moral position in a bad light. This is tactic the Ms. Deitsch feels has been used against her, and against Planned Parenthood, in the use of her quote.

In a final clarification, Ms. Deitsch makes this statement:

I did say that “post-birth” abortion is irrelevant. But not for the reasons these people seem to think. I find it irrelevant because who in the world would even consider that? To kill a born person living independently from the womb is simply wrong, and to frame me as a child-murder advocate is a classic move of the anti-choice movement. I am not phased by this attack, and I will continue supporting women’s rights and health even more in the future

‘Post-birth abortion’ is a phrase that makes a tidy connection between abortion and infanticide, but it’s not a term that is a normal part of the pro-choice movement, nor is it something Planned Parenthood, or Devin Deitsch, have ever endorsed.

[photo credit: ProgressOhio]