Pro-life leaders see the Obama administration’s recent decision to hire a Planned Parenthood media specialist as an intentional move to make its abortion policies appealing to the American people.
“I’m not surprised at all,” said Dr. Janice Crouse, senior fellow at the Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.
Crouse told CNA on April 25 that the Obama administration is following its well-established pattern of offering positions of strong influence to abortion supporters.
“It’s going to be disastrous,” she said. “Here you’ve got someone with a definite agenda.”
On April 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was hiring Tait Sye, former media director of Planned Parenthood, as its deputy assistant secretary for public affairs.
The Department of Health and Human Services has been under fire in recent months for issuing a controversial mandate that will require employers to offer health plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences.
Sye defended the mandate amid widespread protest, calling contraception “basic health care” and saying, “It should not be left up to a boss's personal beliefs whether his employees should be allowed birth control coverage.”
According to Reuters, he also chided groups such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who opposed the 2010 health care reform law over concerns that it would provide funding for abortion. Sye accusing these groups of “launching misleading attacks,” despite the fact that the law does provide for the collection of mandatory insurance premiums to fund abortions.
Crouse believes the decision to hire someone with experience in the abortion industry was intentional.
“This is someone who is very skilled at shaping public opinion,” she said.
Moving into an election year, it is important for the president to have people in public relations who can make his abortion policies “palatable to the public,” she explained.
Crouse said that Americans should find it “unconscionable” that the administration would put its abortion ideology before the well-being of women.
With this decision, she said, it is pushing the sexual revolution forward and encouraging promiscuity, which research clearly shows to have negative results.
“In the long run, it’s going to hurt women,” she warned.
Controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood has grown in recent months. The organization is currently the subject of a Congressional investigation due to allegations of fraud and illegal failure to report cases of sexual abuse. Such allegations have also led several states to initiate efforts to defund the organization.
But in spite of this controversy, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, believes that “the ties between the abortion industry and this administration grew stronger with this appointment.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, agreed, saying that Planned Parenthood and the Department of Health and Human Services “have practically become synonymous.”
“We’ve seen repeatedly that as soon as a state defunds Planned Parenthood, HHS steps in and threatens to take funding away from vulnerable populations,” she added.
Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, noted that “Americans should be horrified” by the close relationship between the Obama administration and Planned Parenthood.
He told CNA that he's disappointed to see the administration partner with Planned Parenthood in health care issues rather than with the Catholic Church, which has a rich legacy of the caring for the sick and needy.
The decision is particularly troubling, he added, because “Planned Parenthood is a lightning rod of controversy.” The allegations surrounding the organization should prohibit its top employees from holding positions of government authority, he said.
However, Scheidler explained, the administration realizes that people are not happy with its policies, such as the contraception mandate.
Planned Parenthood has a great track record with public relations and maintaining a “positive public image,” he observed, so hiring someone like Sye is a huge step to “sell the American people” on the administration’s proposed health care policies.
“It makes perfect sense,” he said.