Books by Arthur

Social Networks
Article Index [A-Z]

Planned Parenthood, the Current Misplaced Fuss

With all the fuss being made these days by the phalanx of GOP primary candidates over Planned Parenthood (PP) it’s time to keep a few things in mind.

First, the claim that PP must be shut down because they “traffic” in fetal baby parts is ridiculous. The right wing has been after PP for years and this unfortunate event is merely the latest cover story for the ongoing assault.

[Update: It turns out that those videos seemingly showing callous PP employees discussing the sale of fetal tissue were edited, so much so that the independent firm that carried out the investigation said they are useless as revealing anything that might be true. This was not an instance of independent investigative reporting; it was more of the same.]

Second, the focus on abortions performed at PP clinics is wildly misplaced. PP is a large, health-oriented organization that specializes in “planning for parenthood.” It provides essential health services in over 700 clinics, mainly to women, primarily those who cannot afford private care and those who find it difficult to get advice and counsel on matters like birth control and sexually transmitted diseases.

The best estimate is that over 3 million women visit one of the their clinics every year and close to a quarter of all women in the country use PP’s services sometime in their lives. It does abortions, safely, legally and cheaply but abortions account for between 2% and 3% of all of its activities and no federal funds are used (a fact conveniently omitted in the wild rhetoric being tossed around by the GOP candidates). The notion popular among right wingers that they are abortion mills is nonsense. FWIW, PP also provides birth control services to men through vasectomies.

Third, for those who are unhappy about abortions (and, frankly, no is comfortable with abortions), keep in mind that providing free or inexpensive sex education and birth control is the single most effective factor in lowering abortion rates. If the GOP gets its wish and PP is defunded there will be a dramatic increase in unwanted pregnancies, an accompanying increase in abortions and a concordant decrease in women’s reproductive health.

Fourth, the anti-abortion movement claims to be motivated by concern for the unborn, for the fetus, for the child. These high-sounding ideals are bogus, a flimsy cover for a deeper truth: forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child to term is punishment. In their benighted ideology, any woman who has become pregnant without an express desire to have a child has sinned and the crime is to be paid by having to bear, raise and support the unwanted child.

If the true concern was for the child then the GOP would be leading the charge for sex education, freely available birth control, pre- and post-natal health care for mother and child, full funding for Head Start, pre-school and after-school programs, paid maternal and paternal leaves and funding for day care organizations.

Of course, the right-wing supports none of these and, in fact, works actively to defund those that exist — which, of course, is behind the push to break the back of Planned Parenthood.

Barney Frank put it best, “Republicans think life begins at conception and ends at birth.”


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>