Planned Parenthood is once again being used as a political pawn, and I for one am pretty annoyed about it. The group’s merits far outweigh the ugly birthmark some feel abortion services to be, and I do not get why anyone—anyone—would stomp all over the great good done by Planned Parenthood in terms of everything from cancer screenings to birth control … and that’s probably why I will never be a politician.
It is not my intent to bash Republicans here, by the way. I have a lot of close friends and family members that see the world from the right, and I fully respect their opinions. If they say, “I hate Barack Obama” and are able to explain this logically instead of spouting off racist rhetoric, I’m good with that.
I do at times, however, find myself biting my tongue because I want so badly to ask them how they feel about being identified by an increasingly ignorant vocal minority. Seriously, Republicans with a brain in your head, please take back your party! These nuts are reflecting badly on you.
And the recent stuff with the occasionally tacky Planned Parenthood, the basic arguments of which have been hashed out here before, is just one more drop of water in the bucket … but it’s a receptacle that’s getting dangerously close to the overflow point.
Just last Friday, for example, Republican Sen. John Kyl of Arizona said on the Senate floor that “if you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood. And that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”
In fact, just the opposite is true; well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does is NOT abortion. Kyl’s office later said his …
… speech “wasn’t intended to be a factual statement,” which, among other things, got him ridiculed by both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
So Kyl is either a complete idiot whose PR is trying desperately to save face or he intentionally made inflammatory statements just to stir up the waters. Whichever way it is, that’s a classy guy you’ve got representing you, Arizona Republicans.
The real crux of the issue, of course, is money. Oh, and that women who choose to have an abortion will often go through Planned Parenthood because it’s a known. I mean, does anyone seriously want to return to dark alleys and coat hangers?
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest single provider of abortions, yet it gets millions of dollars in federal funding with which to provide other services. Efforts to change that have been unsuccessful not only with this last go-round, but also stretching back nearly three decades.
That makes abortion opponents see red.
“I would assume that most Americans would be surprised, if not shocked, to learn that the largest abortion provider in America is also the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said in January when he introduced legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding. Title X is the federal family planning program.
While the use of federal funds for abortion has been banned since the 1970s, and for the entire history of the family planning program, that is only a technicality to Pence and his anti-abortion allies.
“There’s no question that money that Planned Parenthood receives for its operational expenses from the federal government frees up resources that can be used to provide and promote abortions through its abortion clinics,” he said on the House floor during a similarly unsuccessful attempt to defund the organization in 2009.
All right, let’s break this down a little bit, stupid Mike Pence. No person, no institution, certainly no foundation is without flaw. Does that take away the good? Hells, no. “Gee, Susy, you’re a kind, generous humanitarian and I’d love to date you, but I’m not willing to do that because you don’t wax your facial hair often enough.”
Or how about this one. True story. I am the proud owner of the sweetest black lab in the world, a dog that the SPCA was prepared to euthanize four years ago. She was seized from her owner when she was a year old, weighing thirty pounds (in other words, practically starving), totally infested with fleas and ticks, and suffering an injury sustained when she was hit by a dirt bike.
Because of the expensive knee surgery she would require, the SPCA would not take her. A purebred, housebroken, warmhearted, completely adorable puppy, and they were going to kill her over a broken knee. Fortunately, the staff at the vet’s office started sending out frantic e-mails to family and friends to see if anyone would be willing to adopt her, and my family was the lucky one.
Do I believe that the SPCA wronged my dog? Sure I do. Despite her many appealing qualities, she was considered too great a risk for them. It sucks, and I’m just thankful that a small country veterinary practice was able to do what a national organization couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.
Does that mean that I speak out against the SPCA? Do I write angry letters taking them to task for this? Um … no. Actually, I donate money I really can’t afford to the SPCA every year because I see the many and varied things they do for animals.
And here’s a wake-up call from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, with statistical proof that just buries John Kyl’s pontifications.
“Last year we provided nearly 1 million pap smears, 830,000 breast exams, nearly 4 million tests and treatments for [sexually transmitted diseases], including HIV,” she said.
In fact, Richards notes, 1 in 5 women in the United States has visited a Planned Parenthood clinic. For many women, going to Planned Parenthood is about more than just getting birth control. “For more than half our patients, Planned Parenthood is the only nurse or doctor they will see all year,” she says.
If you are anti-abortion for moral reasons, I completely respect that. I would never try to change your mind.
It’s the people that spout anti-abortion rhetoric, that prey on people’s ignorance regarding Planned Parenthood, that really drive me crazy. If some sparkly, newfangled politician shows up at your doorstep telling you that Planned Parenthood is an abortion factory and you don’t know otherwise, of course you’re going to believe what you’re told.
The fact is, abortions cannot be funded by federal money. Period.
That a matter of such portent (and I’m pro-choice, but I’m evidently kind of a squishy pro-choice, so I do feel that abortion is not something to be taken lightly) is being used in this way by foolish upstart politicians that’ll be voted out of office soon (but not soon enough) makes me sick to my stomach.
Kind of makes Monica Lewinsky’s stained dress seem kind of small in the great scheme of things …