Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) continues on its path of expansion in Nebraska with its latest announcement of a new 18,000 square foot "health center" proposed for 48th Street and Old Cheney Road in Lincoln. They plan to close their current facilities on South Street and O Street to consolidate their services in what PPH Director Jill June concludes is a "large, modern, beautiful, state of the art" location. June goes on to say, "We find it to be an ideal location. We're very, very excited about this important step forward in Lincoln."

June's comments tie into PPH's rebranding of itself in order to make it more palatable to its main demographic: women and girls of child-bearing age. A stigma has followed PPH locally and nationally with their parent organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) which aborted 332,000 unborn children in a year's time according to latest reports. That stigma is a result of PP's emphasis on chemical and surgical abortions. PPH has aborted more than 13,000 unborn children at its 3705 South Street location which opened in 1995.

A new business model initiated at the national level and trickling down to its affiliates in the states involves an attempt to convince the public that PP is about much more than abortion. They are doing this by opening larger, mega centers and expanding the list of services they provide. This is not just happening in Lincoln. Just a few weeks ago PPH had a grand opening for its new mega center in Omaha, near 93rd and Maple streets. Again, they closed a couple of their older, smaller facilities in Omaha and are concentrating on doing chemical abortions at the new site with the intention of adding surgical abortions. PPH also announced recently that it intends to expand across Nebraska by opening sites in Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk and North Platte. All the more reason for the Legislature to pass LB 521, which would put a stop to PPH's webcam chemical abortion scheme. The shake-up of Nebraska's Planned Parenthood when it was merged with Iowa last year has definitely got them on the move and looking to take new ground.

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What does all of this mean for PPH's expansion plans in Lincoln? Given the history of Planned Parenthood in Lincoln, the odds are that opposition to its proposed new abortion facility will not diminish. Look at the history of PPH here. In the early '90s pro-lifers showed up en mass at Lincoln City Council budget hearings to oppose local funds going to Planned Parenthood. After several years, pro-lifers won that battle. In 1995 when PPH first brought abortion to Lincoln, opposition organized. A few years later, Lincoln Right to Life had bought the house directly south of the South Street facility to provide a place for its sidewalk counselors to stand legally and offer help and alternatives to the people going inside PPH. That was apparently so successful that PPH now plans to move farther away from the city core to a location which will make it more difficult for pro-lifers to exercise their First Amedment rights.

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What PPH's Director June fails to admit in all of her excitement over their "beautiful" new site; is that pro-lifers follow Planned Parenthood wherever it goes because innocent, unborn human lives are being snuffed out by that entity. As long as PPH is doing abortions, either the chemical RU-486 kind or surgical, pro-lifers will be doing what they can within the law to change that. And yes, that involves standing out in front of any PPH facility that is doing abortions to offer life-affirming options. So while this may be an "exciting" new chapter in PPH's eyes, it will be business as usual for Lincoln's pro-life community. Expect to see pro-lifers use the same ingenuity and determination to meet PPH head-on at the new facility as we have in the past.


Sandy Danek is president of Nebraska Right to Life and a longtime Board Member of Lincoln Right to Life.


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