Pro-life group blasts Planned Parenthood for vowing to ensure abortions for Palestinians

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The president of one of the largest pro-life organizations in the U.S. has condemned the international chapter of Planned Parenthood for seeking to ensure abortions and contraception for Palestinians during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

Father Shenan J. Boquet, a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana and president of Human Life International, accused the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the United Nations Population Fund, and "other large multinational population control agencies" of "not wasting [the Israel-Hamas war] to make their ‘services’ available."

"These organizations see having full and unhindered access to contraception and abortion as a ‘right’ that must be protected even during a war," Boquet said in a statement provided to The Christian Post. "As some activists have said, ‘Never waste a good crisis’ in order to implement measures that would not be possible unless the world’s attention is focused elsewhere on war or other tragedy."

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In the wake of the Hamas attacks against Israel earlier this month that killed more than 1,400 Israelis, the IPPF released a statement on Oct. 9 on behalf of its member association the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA), which is an independent, nonprofit, and non-governmental association.

“Sexual and reproductive health and rights must be prioritized now in Palestine, especially for women, girls, and the most vulnerable and marginalized groups among them, who have already been facing a protracted humanitarian crisis for decades," the statement reads in part.

Ammal Awadallah, executive director of the PFPPA, also announced that its facility in Gaza was “destroyed following an Israeli airstrike to an adjacent building” on Oct. 8, and urged humanitarian aid to be allowed into the region.

“Palestinians are systematically denied sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights,” Awadallah said. “Our health system has been repeatedly targeted and depleted by the Israeli occupation, and the more it disintegrates, the more it will hinder the full realization of these rights for women and girls.”

While abortion is prohibited in Gaza in most cases, PFPPA maintains multiple locations in the West Bank, one of which offers "abortion referrals" as a service, according to pro-life outlet Live Action News.

Multiple women have reported obtaining abortifacient pills through PFPPA, according to the outlet.

Boquet likened the attitude of PFPPA during the conflict to "the same mentality exhibited by these groups during the recent pandemic." 

"They promote the message that access to so-called ‘reproductive rights’ is essential," he said. "Sadly, it is no different during wartime; after all, they claim, women and girls, because of the war, are now faced with challenges accessing contraception and abortion."

"These organizations believe that the mental and physical stress of welcoming a child under such conditions is simply unacceptable," he continued. "This discredits the memory of the many generations which have done just that, courageously continuing to live, love, and raise families despite the worst conditions imaginable, a true demonstration of what the human spirit is capable of."

"Throughout the turbulent history of the Middle East, the peoples of Israel and the surrounding nations have continued to endure despite all obstacles, even the ravages of war."

Boquet condemned the view that abortion is critical during wartime as a "false doctrine," and claimed that such "shows how far we have fallen from a universal respect for every human life — men, women, and children, including those yet born."

"At Human Life International, we pray for an enduring peace and for real help for the people of both Israel and Palestine," Boquet added.

CP reached out to IPPF for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Violence has continued to roil the region after Hamas militants invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,400 people, including 30 Americans, and wounding more than 3,400.

Hamas is also holding as many as 199 people hostage, some of whom are Americans. Israeli forces claim over 1,500 Hamas fighters were killed in the attack.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that at least 3,000 had been killed and over 12,500 wounded. 

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