Betty’s Legacy – Losses, Legislation and Lawsuits – and lots of Abortion

May 1, 2017

Earlier this year we learned that Betty Cockrum, the CEO running Planned Parenthood of Indiana (and now Kentucky too), is throwing in the towel after 15 years.

The news isn’t totally surprising after the pro-abortion movement suffered a series of devastating political losses. In fact, Cockrum told the Indiana University student paper that her work is no fun anymore and that she must daily tell herself, “Get out of bed, Betty.”

Over the last 15 years, Cockrum indeed left her mark on Indiana. An estimated 100,000 Hoosier children are missing because they were aborted in Planned Parenthood facilities overseen by Cockrum.

Cockrum came to Planned Parenthood with a strong background in politics and policy. No one would have been surprised if she had steered Planned Parenthood into a strong political force that could elect any pro-abortion candidate it wanted. Thankfully for the unborn and their mothers, pro-abortion politics have been failing. Probably in large part because Democrats become more radical on abortion every day (see the new DNC Chair’s crazy call for party unity on abortion).

Shortly after Cockrum started at Planned Parenthood, Indiana Democrats lost the governor’s office in 2004. Since then they’ve lost every statewide office holder, and the Second, Eighth and Ninth Congressional Districts. The GOP gained supermajorities in the Statehouse. Last year we witnessed pro-life Todd Young’s resounding victory over pro-abortion Evan Bayh and Hoosiers’ strong message about the desire for a pro-life presidential administration. To boot, Indiana’s very Mike Pence is now promoting the pro-life agenda in the White House.

Cockrum hasn’t been able to stop pro-life legislation in the Statehouse. She fundraises off of it, but that doesn’t seem to help. From defunding Planned Parenthood to passing a law that stops discriminatory abortions, Indiana is regularly ranked as a top pro-life state.

Indianapolis Planned Parenthood, April 2017

Planned Parenthood has, however, lawyered up. Cockrum, and the American Civil Liberties Union, have stopped several pro-life laws in activist courts. They know which judges are on their side. Most recently they sued to stop civil rights protections for the unborn and so that they wouldn’t have to install ultrasound machines at their locations. Planned Parenthood’s only victories these days are lawsuits in the courts.

Thankfully, life is winning in the court of public opinion. Abortions are down. In 2002, the year Planned Parenthood hired Cockrum, there were nearly 11,000 abortions in Indiana. In 2015, the most recent year we have data for, abortions dropped to less than 8,000. Planned Parenthood doesn’t do all of Indiana’s abortions, but it does the most – every year.

Millennials are increasingly identifying as pro-life and finding their health care outside of Planned Parenthood. Last year, Planned Parenthood shut down five facilities in Indiana. Planned Parenthood is a tired model. Women can get better healthcare, and for a better price, elsewhere. Planned Parenthood is on the decline.

Someone new will soon take over for Cockrum. This individual may have strong credentials in health care, politics or policy. They may publicly praise Cockrum and her legacy.

The truth is, Cockrum’s legacy is political losses, pro-life legislation, tired lawsuits and lots of abortion.

There’s an old saying, always to leave something better than what you found it. We can’t imagine the folks at Planned Parenthood are too pleased with the current state of abortion in Indiana. And we’re okay with that. We’ll keep fighting to make abortion a thing of the past.


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