In an Associated Press interview Tuesday, Gloria Steinem responds to being labeled a “radical pro-abortion icon” by the Ohio Right to Life organization. The interview was held ahead of her appearance at a centennial gala fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, the state chapter of the abortion and women’s health care provider whose government grants have been targeted by some Republicans.
The Right to Life coalition went on to call Planned Parenthood a de-humanizing organization.
“If they supported me, I’d know I was doing something wrong,” Steinem said of the anti-abortion group. “It’s obviously ridiculous to say somebody is ‘pro-abortion.’ Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I think I’ll have an abortion. It’s a pleasurable experience.’ The question is not pro-abortion or anti-abortion, the question is who makes the decision: a woman and her physician, or the government.”
Roughly 40 protestors gathered outside the gala, one of which commented that Steinem is “in there helping…raise money to kill more human beings.”
“When I was young I don’t think Planned Parenthood had such a negative connotation,” said Beth Crane, 65, a past Planned Parenthood board member whose family was a gala sponsor. “It’s become, ‘It’s a liberal organization.’ ‘They kill babies.'”
As Crane’s daughter-in-law Leah Westwater notes, abortions actually represent only about 5 percent of the organization’s work. In fact, it was a Planned Parenthood doctor in California who detected her thyroid cancer at an early stage.
“The good news is much better than the bad news,” says Steinem said. “But it does mean that all the folks who want the old hierarchy — want ‘America to be great again’ in the old ways of race and sex — are alarmed.”