Planned Parenthood’s virtual reality exhibit promoting access to abortion at the Democratic National Convention doesn’t depict reality, pro-life groups tell The Daily Signal.
The nation’s largest abortion provider “is using technology and computer-generated imagery to perpetuate lies about the pro-life movement as a whole, and to advance its abortion brand,” pro-life advocate Arina Grossu said.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the organization’s lobbying arm, set up what it calls a firsthand look at a visit to an abortion clinic for convention attendees, The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness reported from Philadelphia.
A 7-minute video projected through headphones and high-tech goggles, spokeswoman Kristen Tilley said, allowed conventiongoers to experience “what it’s like to cross the line of anti-abortion protesters who stand outside abortion clinics to bully and intimidate patients and staff.”
The Planned Parenthood video, “Across the Line,” walks the viewer through computer-generated scenes that the organization says depict what a pregnant woman experiences, including approaching an abortion clinic and being counseled inside an exam room.
Pro-life protesters are heard calling the women “whores” and shouting Bible verses, among other aggressive actions, The Daily Signal reported.
“The viewer becomes the patient and must navigate a group of intimidating protesters shouting highly offensive remarks aimed at shaming and stigmatizing the patient,” a website marketing the “experience” says.
While she had not seen the video, Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, told The Daily Signal that she personally has watched “kind” and “loving” pro-life activists thoughtfully offer alternatives such as adoption to women considering an abortion.
“I have also stood outside the Supreme Court and watched people from Planned Parenthood shout vile, nasty remarks at pro-lifers. I have literally felt unsafe around them,” Nance said. “So, both sides have a story to tell. It’s never right to be unkind, but Planned Parenthood’s virtual reality has little or nothing to do with reality.”
Grossu, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, also told The Daily Signal:
The reality is that the vast majority of pro-life advocates are out there to support and help women understand all of their options and to pray for them, as well as for abortion workers. We condemn any and all outliers who call themselves pro-life and act in a way not in keeping with the pro-life ethic of respect and dignity of every person, whether it be a pregnant woman faced with difficult decisions about her unborn baby or an abortion worker who is stuck in the abortion industry.
Kristi Hamrick, spokeswoman for Americans United for Life, told The Daily Signal in an email that the virtual reality presentation at the Democrats’ convention “provides little actual reality about a procedure that harms both women and their unborn children.”
“Abortion providers want the respect given to true health care providers without the accountability,” Hamrick said, adding:
Most people don’t know that what we know about abortion data in America, including their claims of safety, comes from information voluntarily offered by abortionists. … The real reality of Planned Parenthood is that it is a business funded in large part by taxpayers and through the sale of abortions.
Mallory Quigley, communications director for the Susan B. Anthony List, told The Daily Signal that oftentimes pregnancy resource centers are located near abortion facilities.
The staff of those centers include sidewalk counselors “who are trained to be loving and compassionate and to reach women” facing an unexpected pregnancy and considering an abortion, Quigley said.
As an example, Quigley cites the late-term abortion practice of LeRoy Carhart, Germantown Reproductive Health Services, in Germantown, Maryland.
In May, a House committee investigating mismanaged abortions and trafficking in baby body parts subpoenaed Carhart and the clinic.
At least five women were reported injured and sent to the hospital since December after seeking abortions at the clinic in the Washington suburb, LifeNews.com reported. In 2013, Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, 29, died after complications from an abortion performed at 33 weeks by Carhart.
Americans, Quigley said, should “take the shades off their own eyes for a second and truly look at what’s happening during an abortion.” She added:
There is a pregnancy resource center immediately across the street [from Carhart’s abortion clinic]. I know personally many of the sidewalk counselors who spend their time trying to reach women who are being brought in for these late-term abortions, and they are the most compassionate and kind people.
That center, Germantown Pregnancy Choices, as of this week counts 333 mothers as having changed their minds and decided against abortions after speaking with sidewalk counselors since Dec. 5, 2010. An associated group, Pray for Germantown, calls these “saves.”
“The Planned Parenthood use of virtual reality is hypocrisy at its greatest,” Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said in an email to The Daily Signal, adding:
Several [hidden-camera] videos came out over the past year showing that Planned Parenthood officials are able to laugh and joke about their harvesting and trafficking of body parts from aborted unborn children. They screamed that the videos were edited and had Democrat officials echoing that party line.
The Center for Medical Progress released a string of hidden-camera videos that appeared to show officials at Planned Parenthood affiliates discussing the possible illegal sale of body parts and other tissue from aborted babies. Planned Parenthood Federation of America consistently has denied any wrongdoing and asserts the undercover videos were “heavily edited.”
“Why is America supposed to accept this simulated video, shown at the Democrat convention, but not the real video exposing Planned Parenthood for the callous, hard-hearted people they are?” Tobias said.
“The right-to-life movement is seeking to uphold the dignity and worth of every human life. That is reality, not virtual, not simulated, and not edited.”
Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.