Defunding Planned Parenthood: Making a Bad Situation Worse

pphealth1.jpgAn all-out attack on Planned Parenthood has begun. Yesterday Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, cut all Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood reasoning, “Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life. It has become clear that this is not an organization that is worthy of receiving public assistance from the state.”  Jeb Bush also followed suit on the campaign trail remarking, “I'm not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women's health issues.” Scott Walker even boasted, “We defunded Planned Parenthood long before these videos came out.” To the emotional pro-life observer these comments are met with warm acceptance and a thunderous applause. The problem with the demonization of Planned Parenthood is such arguments are built on blatant lies fueled by ignorance. Although such attacks are designed to end the practice of abortion and rally the voting base, the real victims are the millions of women who use Planned Parenthood for preventative healthcare and family planning.

Lie #1: Planned Parenthood is solely funded by the Government. FACT: Planned Parenthood only receives about 1/3 of its funding, roughly $500 million, from Medicaid payments. The $500 million is applied in the same manner Medicaid is used by all doctors’ offices across the country, for routine check-ups and preventative healthcare. Given the low operating costs of Planned Parenthood and current geography, their reach is significant across all demographics of women providing a benefit to our Healthcare system. Also, no tax dollars can be used for abortions by law. Several GOP candidates are on record stating this false claim over the past several days.

Lie #2: Planned Parenthood is primarily an abortion facility. Fact: Only three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion related. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood activities focus on prevention as 80 percent of clients receive services on preventing unintended pregnancy. In fact, Planned Parenthood services helps prevent approximately 516,000 unintended pregnancies each year. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests and nearly 500,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer. Planned Parenthood also provides 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including 700,000 HIV tests.

Lie #3: Planned Parenthood is breaking the law. Fact: A law was passed in 1993 with overwhelming bi-partisan support allowing aborted fetuses to be donated (also allowing collecting fees to cover donation costs). The bill passed the Senate 93-4 with current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signing his name supporting the law. Donating fetal tissue from abortion clinics has been occurring for over 20 years even though many Americans are now discovering the practice.

Lie #4: Stopping Planned Parenthood will stop the transferring of fetal tissue from abortions. Fact: Shutting down Planned Parenthood will not stop this practice. Currently Republicans are using everything in their power to block funding to Planned Parenthood which is completely disingenuous. With Republicans controlling both chambers of the legislative branch they could push through legislation banning fetal tissue donations tomorrow. But such legislation is problematic for their party as campaigns are funded by pharmaceutical companies that need fetal tissue for vaccination research, stem cell discoveries, and general health. The Pharmaceutical industry spends roughly a quarter billion in annual lobbying efforts to influence such legislation. Pharma companies gave 30 million in campaign donations in both 2012 and 2014 primarily to Republicans. In fact, Mitch McConnell received over $350,000 from the pharma industry for his recent campaign, the most of any politician.

I understand the emotional outrage around fetal donations. The practice is abhorrent at first glance, and the manner in which Planned Parenthood representatives conducted themselves in the various videos should lead to disciplinary action. With that being said I also find the pattern of deceit and misleading propaganda by Planned Parenthood opponents as cause for concern. If the desired end game is to stop all abortions, shutting down Planned Parenthood is the wrong course of action given their significant work around family planning. The abortion rate has been cut in half over the past 30 years driven by access to contraceptives and education which Planned Parenthood is the leader in providing. I know Republicans are eager to jump on the “defund Planned Parenthood” bandwagon, but any negative action regarding tax-payer funding will only contradict their pro-life cause and make a bad situation even worse.

Showing 9 reactions

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  • J. B.
    commented 2015-09-01 18:44:17 -0700
    No rebuttal? I hardly get responses to my points on any progressive forum. If liberalism/progressivism is right and you believe Christ stands next to you on all of your beliefs, show it.
  • Richy Hicken
    commented 2015-08-25 08:00:42 -0700
    Kristal, can you answer a question for me. When you mention that we have agency and “who are we to judge?”, are you taking into account direction by LDS leaders who specifically state that it is NOT ok to justify abortion because of agency. Specifically Dallin H Oaks talk entitled “The Weightier Matters” in which he discusses this in depth. One quote from that talk is in my previous post here. Can we say the same thing with someone who abuses children? “He has his free agency, who are we to judge?”

    And we are asked all the time to judge. We just need to judge righteous judgments. Essentially, we can judge whether an action is evil or good, and whether we should fight against that action. We SHOULD judge abortion to be wrong and fight against it happening, we just should not make a judgement about a person that gets an abortion as to whether they will be condemned or not. Final judgments about a persons heart and worth are up to God only. Judgments about whether an action or organization is doing good or evil should be up to us, so that we can know whether we should be part of the action or organization, or if we should fight against it.

    I would hate the same argument to be made about an group that is involved in human trafficing or sex slavery. Should we say “Well, I am personally against it, but we have to allow them their agency and not judge them.” Why is that argument OK in the case of abortion? We can stop someone from committing atrocities without making a final judgement about their worthiness in God’s eyes can we not?
  • J. B.
    commented 2015-08-25 05:40:07 -0700
    I’m not referring so much to abortion itself. It is the law of the land, fine I get that. But the revelations of the culture within PP is what is bothering me. Did you see the latest video of a 20 week aborted baby that comes to life while laying in a metal bowl, awaiting the removal of his brain, and the excitement and interest of the “procurement technician”? Rather than call an ambulance, she gave instructions to a subordinate on how to cut through the face in order to make sure the brain is intact, and it is performed while the heart is still beating. That is what I mean by frustrating the Plan of Salvation. Am I wrong to think that this “procurement technician” will stand in judgement and this precious little baby will not be a witness to the Savior? Was this little baby not offended? This is what I mean by not seeing the preciousness in front of her. If you think this is judging, fine I’m judging, but explain to me how my federal tax dollars have to support this organization? I never in my right mind would pull money out of my wallet to give to them. It seems to me that those that oppose federal funding for PP are the ones being judged. The “services” PP provide are not a legitimate function of the Federal Government, check article one, section 8. I don’t like being acted upon by anyone unless they can site where they have authority to do so. The Federal Government has no authority, period. If anything, each state should have it’s own system under the 10th amendment, but I would argue that as well. If this fact is ignored and you still think that PP should get federal funding, then you have placed yourself in a position of coveting. That is a fact, it can’t be argued.

    I’m tired of the work “choice”. The choice is actually made when the woman engages in the activity that causes pregnancy. If I am not engaging with her, I have no responsibility to her to help fund the organization that would perform her abortion. The act of abortion in my mind, separates rights from responsibilities. Check President Monson’s talk in the three R’s. Not only that, check the original mission of PP as stated by Margaret Sanger. The notion of “choice” is a lie perpetuated to cover up the original intent. It’s a farce.

    Supporters of PP, including some LDS members want funding. The covet the money that people have, bear false witness to the government that the people owe them funding, then the government steals through taxation from the citizens at the threat of the gun. Because if I don’t pay my taxes, an armed agent of government shows up at my door. And progressive Mormons have no problem with that, they somehow convince themselves that they are being honest with their fellow men and that they are not engaging in organizations that are contrary to the teachings of the church.

    If PP is so popular and such a necessity to society, let them function by fees and and outside donations. After all, according to President Obama, PP is doing God’s work. He even petitioned, “God bless Planned Parenthood.” Do yo think He really does?
  • Kristal Handley
    commented 2015-08-22 19:05:52 -0700
    J.B. I know for a fact that those performing abortions do see the preciouness of an unborn child, but it’s not their place to convince a woman to abort her unborn child. The plan of salvation teaches us about our free agency, those who choose to have an abortion are also eligible for the atonement. Who are we to judge?
  • J. B.
    commented 2015-08-21 07:25:48 -0700
    After the revelation of the 7th under cover PP video, where it shows a live premature baby due to an abortion,( laying and moving in a steel bowl, waiting for his brain to be removed), is there still support for PP from LDS members from this group? How can there be support of something that frustrates the plan of salvation in such a profound way? The people at PP don’t even see the preciousness in their presence, the look at a baby and see a commodity for profit.
  • Richy Hicken
    commented 2015-08-11 12:41:00 -0700
    I wish someone on the side of Planned Parenthood would address the actual concerns that conservative LDS Church members have instead of addressing straw man arguments or arguments that LDS members do not consider.

    Here is a revised list of what I would love to see addressed.

    #1. I don’t care whether or not PP is funded SOLELY by the government. I want to know why ANY taxpayer money is going to PP. Currently, a great many people on the left are calling for religions such as ours to lose tax exempt status only because of our stance on same sex marriage. Are left leaning LDS members as adamant about defending tax exempt status for the LDS Church (because most of what the Church does is good) as they are about keeping taxpayer funding for PP (because most of what PP does is good)?
    1. Slight change on the wording here. We know PP is not primarily an abortion facility. However, can you address the fact that PP is THE primary abortion facility in the United States.
    1. I’m sure there are some occasions where PP breaks the law, but we can agree that they are probably few and far between, and due to individuals, not the PP organization. However, this is not a legal question for LDS individuals as much as Moral issue. Can you address the MORAL issue of LDS Dems supporting an organization that performs thousands upon thousands of elective abortions each year.
    1. The moral complaint is not in transferring fetal tissue per se. It is about what practices are happening in PP to facilitate the transfer of fetal tissue that go against moral conduct. Despite some deceit in the recent videos (and there is some), they also show clearly that there is a demand for certain organs that are only available from a fetus (baby) that is further along in development. Does PP ever hold off on an abortion until the baby develops the organs that are in demand? Also, it is very clear that PP practices sometimes include delivering an aborted baby as in-tact as possible to allow for maximum organ retrieval.
    1. Please address, from an LDS perspective, the following statements from LDS Leaders, and explain why no LDS leaders give the same reasoning in defense of abortion that LDS Dems give.

    “If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious sins. I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law due to this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices.”
    - Dallin H Oaks

    “One of the most evil myths of our day is that a woman who has joined hands with God in creation can destroy that creation because she claims the right to control her own body. Since the life within her is not her own, how can she justify its termination and deflect that life from an earth which it may never inherit?”
    - James E Faust ( a Democrat)

    “This war called abortion is a war on the defenseless and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn. This war is being waged globally.”
    - Russell M Nelson

    “Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people’s opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive.”
    - Neal A Maxwell

    Can we all, as LDS Church members and disciples of Jesus Christ, fight the evil of abortion in our day (not just make this evil practice “safe”. I can think of no instance where Christ told people that if they sin, they should at least do so safely). Both sides of this issue can be more honest and understand each other better. Lets not debate whether PP should be absolutely and completely defunded. Lets join together to fight those who say PP should be performing elective abortions. Lets be on the right side of this war.
  • J. B.
    commented 2015-08-10 05:46:05 -0700
    Lie #6. Person A has the right, Person B has the responsibility. As a married man and priesthood holder, the only woman I am responsible for providing for her “woman’s health” is my wife, for obvious reasons. If one is going to claim a behavior or activity as a right, they also assume the responsibility. President Monson’s three R’s of choice. The right, result and responsibility. They cannot be separated. Without ever having any participation in the activity that would require a woman to go to PP for birth control, abortion or whatever, what did I do to be in her debt that would require some of my tax money to provide for her? And if I gave some money on my own to a woman for such things, would it not put my fidelity to my wife in question or at least cause my bishop to raise an eyebrow?
  • J. B.
    commented 2015-08-10 05:32:16 -0700
    Lie #5. The services “provided” by Planned Parenthood are a legitimate function of the Federal Government. Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution lists the enumerated powers of the Federal Government. There is no mention of abortion, birth control, mammograms, or any other of the services PP claims to provide. The power to tax does not beget the power to spend. As LDS, do we or do we not believe in line of authority? The Federal Government has not authority to spend Federal tax dollars on PP. If anything, it should be a state issue under the 10th amendment. I don’t argue that PP should not exist, if they are as popular as people say they are, let them stand on their own 2 feet and exist on fees and outside donations. Taking the stance that somehow I owe a portion of my hard earned tax money to PP through the Federal Government is coercion (unrighteous dominion) and dishonest (bearing false witness). Because if I don’t pay my taxes, the end game is a visit from an armed agent of government.
  • Jill of All Trades
    commented 2015-08-05 10:09:14 -0700
    This is a great post, articulate and succinct. Well done. One minor editorial suggestion: Change the title to add “Defunding Planned Parenthood:…” We know that so many people don’t read beyond the headline and when I first shared this out, the initial reaction I received from the non-readers was, “Yes! Planned Parenthood does make a bad situation worse!”

    Among the things I appreciate about this post is that it came from the Mormon Press. I and most of my friends are Catholic and you can infer (accurately) our opinions on many things. While I find abortion disgusting and sad, I also deeply resent anyone trying to exert their opinions or rights over my body. As such, I am firmly pro-choice through 2nd trimester, while hoping that women will make a choice other than abortion. This puts me in the minority amongst my acquaintances who are pro-life at point of conception and want legislation accordingly. I appreciate coming across progressive points of view from other religious groups.

    P.S. My favorite point is Lie #4, that the GOP has the power to stop fetal tissue donation immediately.

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