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BY Valerie Schmalz
SAN FRANCISCO — Dian Harrison, the chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate in the San Francisco Bay Area is on sabbatical until October. But a cartoon “Super Hero for Choice,” which bears a striking resemblance to Harrison, was busy blowing up and decapitating peaceful pro-life demonstrators in an animated short on the organization's website this month.
The eight-minute short, which drew widespread Web attention, was removed and then put back up and then yanked again Aug. 9 and 10. A notice of the video was posted on the pro-life Life Decisions International website Aug. 8.
The “Super Hero for Choice,” named Dianysis, first interrupts a man advising a group of teens to be abstinent, squirts him with water from a gun and then dumps him in a trash can filled with water and puts the lid on. Dianysis then flies off to a Planned Parenthood clinic where peaceful picketers are carrying signs, including one urging prayer.
“These folks here are known as anti-choice demonstrators,” she says. “Under the First Amendment of our Constitution they are allowed to express their beliefs. … Yet they can sometimes become unruly and sometimes they get a little too close. But, mostly, I just wish they would disappear. Hey, that gives me an idea!”
Dianysis takes out a gun that fires condoms. Each demonstrator is encased in a condom, which then explodes, vaporizing them. Later a congressman is boiled in some liquid and changes his mind on Roe v. Wade after emerging naked from the vat as a pig with an apple in his mouth. In the video's closing credits, a black pro-life picketer is decapitated.
Even as Dianysis was flying around exterminating pro-lifers, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Interim President Karen Pearl mounted an on-line offensive against purported pro-life violence and campaigning against Senate confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.
Planned Parenthood has not taken a position on Roberts’ nomination, Pearl said, but “the American people deserve to know where Judge Roberts stands on critical issues.”
Comments like Pearl's led Manual Miranda, former counsel to Senate Majority Leader William Frist, to conclude that providers of abortion are worried.
“Roe v. Wade is not just a source of a right; it's a business license for abortion clinics,” Miranda, founder of the Third Branch Conference, a group that studies judicial issues, wrote on the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal website Aug. 10.
“Your tax dollars at work … 53% of Planned Parenthood's gross revenues come from government funding,” said Archdiocese of San Francisco Respect Life Coordinator Vicki Evans. According to its 2004 federal tax return Form 990, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate received $9.7 million from government agencies for fees and contracts. Its total reported income for 2004 was $13.6 million. Nationally, Planned Parenthood received $265 million in tax dollars, 70% from the federal government, according to American Life League's Stopp International.
“This video shows Planned Parenthood's total frustration,” said Jim Sedlak, executive director of Stopp (Stop Planned Parenthood). “They really would like to blow us up. It's 32 years (since Roe v. Wade) and the No. 1 issue for the Supreme Court nominee is abortion. They can't believe abortion is still an issue.”
‘Promotion of Violence’
Pearl has not commented on the Golden Gate Web cartoon, and the national Planned Parenthood offices in New York and in Washington, D.C., did not return calls for comment.
Harrison also could not be reached for comment. The Register telephoned repeatedly, but spokesman Steve Smith said an external affairs vice president was the one to comment, and she did not return messages.
“This video is an out-and-out promotion of violence against those who disagree with Planned Parenthood,” said Sedlak. “Hopefully, it will make our government leaders look more closely at this organization.”
Planned Parenthood has closed approximately a clinic a month in the past 10 years, Sedlak said, saying in 1995 there were 938 clinics while today there are 836 nationally.
Planned Parenthood Golden Gate is also running into budget problems. The organization acknowledges on its website that it cut staff by 9% due to decreased foundation funding, but says it increased its clientele by 15%.
The organization has eight medical offices in six counties in and around San Francisco. In addition, it runs school-based clinics and education programs in many area school districts, although exact figures and programs were not available at deadline.
Record of Open Hostility
Open hostility toward pro-lifers has become par for the course in San Francisco, endorsed by the city's elected officials.
Just a week before the video was posted, several people who pray the Rosary outside the San Francisco Planned Parenthood abortion clinic reported that an unknown liquid was poured out the windows toward those praying.
According to a 2003 San Francisco ordinance, pro-life demonstrators are required to maintain an 8-foot distance from anyone entering an abortion clinic, and are not allowed to talk to or distribute literature unless asked.
Earlier this year, San Francisco's board of supervisors unanimously approved a resolution condemning the Jan. 22 Walk for Life-West Coast, and Mayor Gavin Newsom and several supervisors spoke at a counter demonstration sponsored by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice California. At deadline, no city officials had commented on the video.
The Walk was co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and former Archbishop William Levada spoke briefly and walked.
“The low tone and vulgarity of these cartoons brings to mind last Jan. 22's Walk for Life-West Coast,” Evans said. “Planned Parenthood and its supporters hurled condoms, eggs and crude insults into a crowd of 7,000 women, men and children in San Francisco whose message was ‘Women Deserve Better then Abortion.’ It looks like Planned Parenthood doesn't think that women deserve better than abortion. It looks like their disrespect for life reaches beyond the unborn to women, to those who disagree with them, to anyone who holds religion dear.”
Georgette Forney, speaker at the Walk, said the violent video, treatment of the peaceful demonstrators at the Walk for Life and abortion are all part of the same attitude.
Forney, who once had an abortion and is now chairwoman of the Silent No More Awareness campaign, said, “Planned Parenthood is always focusing on the alleged fact that pro-lifers are violent. Ironically, it's been their behavior, especially exhibited in San Francisco at both the Walk for Life and with the authoring of this video that proves the real promoter of violence is Planned Parenthood themselves.”
Valerie Schmalz writes from San Francisco, California.