The Lack of Empathy in Defunding Planned Parenthood

Lately, my Facebook newsfeed has been awash in stories and posts about Planned Parenthood and the videos that The Center for Medical Progress has been releasing trying to “expose” what happens behind the scenes at Planned parenthood.  All of the posts from my conservative friends seem to repeat the same sentiment: It’s horrible that Planned Parenthood is murdering babies and selling their body parts. There are a lot fewer (a whole lot fewer) of my liberal and centrist friends who are posting on the issue.  They obviously take a different stance.

I would like to posit my observations about this phenomenon.  My belief is that, in general, those who agree with this anti-Planned Parenthood movement do so for the same reason they think the Bible is a great book: because someone told them to, and they haven’t done their own research to see what it’s all about.  It appears to me that someone in authority told them “this is how it is”, and they whole-heartedly agreed and jumped on the bandwagon.

Now I don’t want you to think that I’d just make a statement like that and just leave it hanging.  In what follows, I’d like to provide a few resources for anyone wanting to know a little more.

First of all, the videos- They were edited in a way to show the bias of the editors.  According to this article, the videos were “heavily edited and falsely portrayed [Planned Parenthood’s] ‘participation in tissue donation programs that support life-saving scientific research.'”

The group releasing the videos was started by a guy who came from the Live Action group which has a history of questionable legality when trying to infiltrate organizations they want to take down.  In fact, David Daleiden himself has a history of questionable legal activities.  The Center for Medical Progress was registered as a biomedical charity when it’s sole mission is to destroy planned parenthood.  That’s NOT charity.

And what about Planned Parenthood?  Only 3% of their budget is used for abortion services.  The rest is for cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and contraception.  Those wanting to defund planned parenthood should know full well that abortions cannot be funded by taxpayer funds under current law.  So any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood is really an attempt to defund cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and contraception.

What about the morality of abortion?  The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance has put together one of the most complete resources on the subject.  On the subject of when personhood begins, they have this comparison of the opposing sides’ views.  Overall, I think the way they have presented these issues is unbiased and gives those on opposing sides a chance to see what others really think.  One of the problems, however is the straw man that is presented by those on a certain side of the issues that seem to obfuscate the real issue.  For instance someone I am close to recently commented on one of their friend’s Facebook posts about how if we find proof of life on another planet that it would be considered life, but that human embryos are not considered life by the prochoice side of the issue.  That is a clear misrepresentation of the stance.  Either that or a misunderstanding.

I think it is pretty obvious that those on the side of defunding planned parenthood have been duped by those in control of the ultra-right message into buying in to this effort.  The populace has bought the idea hook, line, and sinker without even checking in to the facts or doing a little research on their own.

I do think that abortion is a serious issue.  I don’t think it is a decision to be taken lightly, but it is a hell of a lot more nuanced than the defunders make it out to be.  And as we all know from the failed experiment of prohibition in the twenties, you can’t just make something illegal and it goes away.  That’s not how it works.  My opinion is that abortion should be legalized in order to keep it safe.  Bathtub gin was known to blind people, and back-alley abortions have been known to leave people dead or maimed.  It’s going to happen no matter what the law says.  Why don’t we have some empathy for our fellow humans and make it as safe as possible by keeping it legal.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to keep people from having to end up needing an abortion.  But that’s where the bulk of Planned Parenthood’s mission comes in, isn’t it.  Contraception and sex education are paramount in this effort.  If people don’t know how to prevent pregnancy and have the available resources to prevent it there’s a good chance they will end up seeking an abortion.  So in my opinion, if the right succeeds in their efforts to defund Planned Parenthood it will have the exact opposite effect they are going for.  Instead of preventing abortions, it will create the situation where more women are seeking abortions.  By defunding the contraception and sex education, not to mention the STD testing and treatment, provided by Planned Parenthood, more women will end up with unwanted pregnancies and will then be forced to seek unsafe abortions.

Where is the logic, reason, and especially empathy of those seeking to defund Planned Parenthood? I don’t see it anywhere!


8 thoughts on “The Lack of Empathy in Defunding Planned Parenthood

    • I think it’s important to look at all the facts. They seem to be donating the tissue from aborted embryos and fetuses to research facilities. That’s what they’ve said they do, and the money they are getting seems to be only enough to cover the handling and transportation costs, as PP has said. There’s no way they are “selling” them for a profit at $30-$100 (I think that’s the figure that’s been going around). For all the good PP is doing, I think it’s ridiculous to get upset over some body parts that continue to do good even if it seems repugnant to you. After all, even veterans are able to donate their brains to research to help the rest of humanity. No one is up in arms over that.( But like I said, it’s a lot more nuanced of an issue than the ultra right wants everyone to believe. Here’s an article that comes at it in a much more forceful tone:

      • selling for a profit vs ‘at cost’ I don’t think was the issue. it was that they were selling the tissue at all that was the shock for most who have issues with the practice.
        and veterans, are making choices to sell their brains. I wonder if the mothers of these aborted fetal tissue are making this kind of a choice, or that matter even know that the tissues (ie. body parts) are even being sold?
        I would imagine they don’t know and aren’t being told. so most likely, the mothers themselves are not even given the choice, knowing or otherwise.
        I agree PP may be doing some… a lot of good. but does it help the cause to in your words ‘nuance’ the story to minimize the truth that in fact, body parts and organs by name, not just generic ‘fetal tissues’, are being harvested from aborted fetuses, perhaps against federal laws against it?

      • I think that’s the issue that has so many up in arms, Mike.: the “selling” of body parts. I think that’s what the videos are trying to show. The videos, however, seem to be edited with the specific purpose of making it look like they were “sold”, even though from what I can tell, PP was abiding by the laws and actually donating the parts.
        I don’t have any knowledge as to whether the mothers were aware of this or not, but frankly, I don’t think it matters. If they didn’t want the pregnancy, does it matter how PP disposes of the tissue?
        And I’m not even sure if the issue is “tissue” vs. “organs”. From the video I saw (I think it was the second one) It all looked like mush to me. So this whole thing about “changing the procedure to maximize the amount of organs harvested” doesn’t seem to make much sense. If they are terminating a pregnancy, they are terminating a pregnancy. Whether they can use some of the organs or not makes little difference. Either way it’s a medical procedure that has implications. As to what those implications are, everyone has their own point of view.
        I think The Center for Medical Progress edited the videos to make people disgusted at what goes on in a small amount of cases so they could paint the whole organization with a sweeping brush stroke and try to bring it down. I don’t think that’s honest. In fact, I think it’s very underhanded and an abuse of truth. I do believe that if there were something illegal or unethical going on at PP it should be corrected. But trying to bring down the whole organization and the good it is doing over a small percentage of it’s total mission that many look at with disgust is unethical, considering all the good that PP does in other areas. Defund? No. Look into possible problems and fix them? Yes.

    • There’s a quote going around lately from a nun, Sister Joan Chittister. She said “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.”
      It definitely rings true.

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