In Praise of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood
The so-called “Center for Medical Progress” is saturating social media newsfeeds lately, with expose videos edited to make it seem like Planned Parenthood is selling aborted fetuses. Now, strictly speaking, that is definitely happening – patients have the option of donating fetal tissue for research, with the “price” intended to covers costs associated with the transfer. I’ve donated hundreds of units of my blood and platelets over the years, which recipients have paid for and medical technicians and countless administrative staff have earned a living because of. Same concept – it’s all in the spin.

The “Center for Medical Progress” is working an agenda that has nothing to do with medicine, or progress. They’re underhanded in their methods because putting all the facts on the table shrivels fringe groups. Unfortunately, the clown car that comprises the current Republican slate for President wants as much fringe money (and single-issue voters) as they can get. The time is right for dishonest viral videos! (Those who edited the Planned Parenthood videos deserve a special place in hell.)

Last week, I clicked “like” on a Facebook post which contained the following quote:

I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.
– Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Nun

Almost immediately, I received a private message: “Not sure I understand the point you were trying to make about the pro life thing… I’m very pro life, however I would be willing to raise the child.”  Which is wonderful – opening your home for adoption is certainly walking the talk, and I applaud that.  (Although it’s not doing much to ease morning sickness, assist with healthy eating or abstinence from caffeine and alcohol for nine months, let alone doctor visits, foot rubs, and other emotional support.  And then there’s employment law, which is an entirely different societal shortcoming.)  Sister Joan’s point is that most politicians aren’t as pro-life as they claim for election campaign donation purposes.

Let’s get back to Planned Parenthood. This is what another Facebook friend posted recently:

I can’t imagine my life without Planned Parenthood. They were my first gynecologist, my first source for contraception, and (after I failed to follow instructions) where I went for my first abortion. They were ceaselessly humane, even when under siege. I am so grateful.

That’s a brave statement. Many will zero in on a single word in that paragraph and dismiss the rest, because, why not? The writer is a doting mother of two, by the way. But, ABORTION! I’ve been in relationships with women who’ve had abortions, for reasons that were entirely personal and appropriate to where their lives were at the time.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an organization that helped women to navigate health issues in a humane, judgment-free manner? That provided STI screenings, cancer screenings, contraception and education about reproductive issues? Right – there is an organization like that. For now.

Planned Parenthood’s budget is allocated as follows:

STIs/STDs: 42%
Contraception: 34%
Other women’s services: 11%
Cancer screening: 9%
Abortion services: 3%
Other services: 1%

Of that 3% for abortion, a tiny fraction is provided by the government, via Medicaid in very limited cases. So, less than 1% of tax money is spent on abortion services, but politicians are falling over themselves to defund the whole program, because… Well, because there’s money in it for them.

The funny thing about the Facebook friend who objected when I liked Sister Joan’s statement: that same person is opposed to raising the minimum wage. The funny thing about so many who want to wipe out Planned Parenthood: many of those have no trouble with a much higher civilian casualty rate in war (and are also opposed to raising the minimum wage, from what I observe.)

World War I: 40% civilian casualty rate
World War II: 60%
Korean War: 67%
Vietnam War: 37%
Iraq War: 77%

And how many diehard abortion foes support the death penalty?  Sure, I’m projecting – but think about it for a second.  Lifelong poverty, collateral damage of the Industrial Military complex, victims of a justice system focused on vengeance instead of rehabilitation, what do those have to do with life?

3% of Planned Parenthood’s budget is spent on abortion. More than 10 times that amount is spent on preventing unwanted pregnancies. If Planned Parenthood is shut down, doesn’t it stand to reason the demand for abortion will increase accordingly? Sure, if abortion can be made illegal and entirely un-obtainable, there might be a tremendous new voting population, which will surely turn out en masse to vote Republican. Right?

I’m the furthest thing from a single-issue voter you’ll find. I’m all about the greater good and pragmatism. But hear this, clown car: If you promise to defund Planned Parenthood, you’re disqualified from leadership in my book.