The Lasker Awards are known as “America’s Nobels.” They recognize major contributions made to the world of medicine — but this year the awards instead have made a political statement.
Eighty-six Lasker Award recipients have also won the Nobel. This year, in what could be interpreted as a political move, the 2017 Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award winner is — drumroll — Planned Parenthood.
The two organizations, the Lasker Foundation and Planned Parenthood, have a significant history together. Mary and Albert Lasker, the Lasker Award’s namesakes, actually sat on the board of the American Birth Control League before it became the Planned Parenthood Foundation of America in 1942.
Albert Lasker, in fact, suggested the name Planned Parenthood. The Laskers personally knew Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, and supported her belief “that women’s welfare — and that of their families — depended on their ability to decide whether and when to have children.”
In addition to the award given to Planned Parenthood this year, the 2017 Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research Award was given to the creators of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Coincidentally, Planned Parenthood offers the HPV vaccine as one of its services.
The Lasker Foundation touts many numbers in regard to Planned Parenthood in its announcement of the award, including the numbers of clinics across the country and the millions of people who have been “helped” by the implied generosity and mission of Planned Parenthood. But there is no mention whatsoever of the number of abortions performed in total by the organization or on a year-to-year basis. There’s no comment at all on the price paid for human-baby body parts.
Unrelated to the awards, Planned Parenthood says it performed 323,999 abortions in the year 2014. It claims that abortion makes up only 3 percent of its provided services. But the reality is that 323,999 lives were ended in 2014 alone. That is 887 abortions per day. And 323,999 is approximately the population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Yet Planned Parenthood is lauded “for providing essential health services and reproductive care to millions of women for more than a century.”
Should the practice of abortion be held in such high esteem? Should an organization that has been entangled in one of the most horrendous crimes, involving the selling of baby parts, be held in such regard?
There are many valiant medical accomplishments in this country. There are so many efforts made on a daily basis to save lives, or heal people, or rescue people, or improve community health. Why would someone honor a group that remains controversial and that pushes a liberal, pro-choice agenda?
There’s an ongoing effort in this country among many to force the acceptance of not only Planned Parenthood as an organization — but its practices as well. Those of us who value life are appalled.
Katie Nations, married for 15 years, is a working mother of three young children based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.