I've read some obvious puff pieces in my life. But a June 22nd piece in the Indianpolis Star titled, "Planned Parenthood's Betty Cockrum is a persistent fighter",
surely deserves some sort of prize for "Glowing, Adoring, and
Worshipful Hagiography of Those Committed to Killing the Unborn" (HT:
Sandra Miesel). Lest you think I am being hyperbolic, check out some of
these lines about Betty Cockrum, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of
"For Cockrum, abortion is
only one part of her mission to ensure that women have reproductive
rights and access to health care."
"To be fair, it's a tough time for anyone at Planned Parenthood's
affiliates nationwide. But Cockrum -- a 59-year-old, twice-divorced
mother of two and grandmother of one -- may have it toughest of all. Of
all the nation's Planned Parenthood CEOs, she is thought to be the only
one who has been harassed repeatedly and savagely on a very personal
"Earlier this spring over breakfast in Bloomington, an aide had no
qualms telling Cockrum a ribald joke with a reporter present, and
Cockrum had no qualms chuckling at it. She wore a bracelet that said:
'Don't make me release the flying monkeys.'"
"That's another thing about Betty Cockrum: She's funny."
"During the presentation, Fichter and Cockrum were placed at opposite
ends. The subject of 'interfacing with the opposition' was broached, and
Cockrum was quick to point out the meanness of the Intercessors. It's
useful to have enemies so over the top, and Cockrum is quick to bring
them up in conversation."
The entire tone of the piece is one of
unquestioning adoration. Much is made of Cockrum's difficult childhood.
Well, at least she had a childhood, unlike the tens of
thousands of babies who have been aborted during her comfortable watch
(she makes $150,000 a year). Much is made of the verbal taunts allegedly
thrown her way by pro-life activists. Not to condone verbal assaults or
harrassment, of course, but being verbally assaulted has to be so much
better than being torn limb to limb from the womb. Sure, being called
names is hardly enjoyable, but if you are going to sign up to be a major
player in the nation's largest abortion provider, you certainly should
expect some opposition. Yet the reporter, Will Higgins, seems to think
that being given the cold shoulder by political opponents is somehow the
epitome of uncivilized nastiness:
Also on the panel was her rival, Mike Fichter, the head of the Indiana Right to Life. He shook her hand, called her Betty.
After that, the two avoided looking
at each other. In the green room, two other panelists cut the awkward
silence with small talk.
Fichter has been on the job since 2000
and is feeling good these days for all the reasons Cockrum is anxious.
Indiana at this point is the most restrictive state regarding abortion
east of the Mississippi River, Fichter said in an interview.
During the presentation, Fichter and
Cockrum were placed at opposite ends. The subject of "interfacing with
the opposition" was broached, and Cockrum was quick to point out the
meanness of the Intercessors. It's useful to have enemies so over the
top, and Cockrum is quick to bring them up in conversation.
Fichter immediately put distance between
the Intercessors and his group, Indiana Right to Life. "We are very
clear," he said. "We have consistently opposed any type of violence."
That was the extent of interaction between the two. ....
There's no chance of Cockrum and
Fichter having a beer together. After the discussion, when everyone
around them was shaking each other's hands, they continued to avoid
making eye contact. Fichter didn't want to talk about Cockrum, instead
focusing on abortion.
And? So? What is Fichter supposed to do:
kiss her feet, light incense, and sing songs of praise? He won't, but
Higgins seems up to the task. He writes of how insulting it is when
certain pro-life people do say things about Cockrum, but then apparently
finds it insulting that Fichter won't talk about or to her. Higgins
also writes that Cockrum was raised in a Methodist family: "Cockrum no
longer attends church but considers herself a Christian." If that's not a
statement demanding a follow-up question or two, I don't know what is.
But, nothing. Apparently readers are supposed to assume that, hey, if a
wonderful woman such as Cockrum can dedicate her life to providing
abortion services and still call herself a "Christian", they can to!
There is also this small sleight of journalistic hand:
Abortions make up 6 percent of Planned Parenthood of Indiana's services. The organization performed 5,250 abortions last year.
But abortions, at least nationally, make up over 50% of the clinics' income. That seems newsworthy. Silence.
Finally, the piece's conclusion is rather strange. It recounts an appearance by Cockrum at a political rally:
Cockrum plowed ahead. "The assault on
women's health being led by white men in suits is spreading across the
country," she said. "We are the 51 percent. The numbers are on our
side. It's all about showing up Nov. 6."
"Babies feel pain! Babies feel pain!" shouted the Intercessors.
It was cold, and it was raining.
When the rally finally ended, Cockrum chatted with friends and
well-wishers as Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" boomed in the
Alas, millions of unborn do not survive, and so do not have a chance to do any of the things Cockrum and the Hagiographer Higgins do: eat, sleep, play, walk, talk, love, and laugh. Nor are they able to make shameful comments about "white men in suits"not that anyone would want to say such things. Unless, of course, they are pro-abortion "saints" like Cockrum, who can dish it out even while playing victim when it comes back at her.