I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If your definition of pro-life is preventing abortions, Planned Parenthood is the most effective pro-life organization in the history of the world. And the assisted suicide analogy drives home this point. Think of a doctor who devotes her career to promoting health and extending life but, when all else has failed, honors a patient's request for lethal drugs. Is she a killer or a healer? I'd judge her by her goals and her life's work. She does everything possible to forestall decline and death, until her efforts have failed.
That's exactly how Planned Parenthood treats abortion. Family planning is the goal. Abortion is a backup option when family planning fails or is made inaccessible by self-styled pro-lifers. To the extent that Planned Parenthood succeeds in its mission of preventing unplanned pregnancies, the abortion rate goes down. Defunding Planned Parenthood to prevent abortions is like defunding doctors to prevent assisted suicide. It's insane.
Douthat is right: Looking at assisted suicide and how we regulate it can help us rethink our assumptions about abortion. But that challenge cuts both ways.