Planned Parenthood is America’s number-one provider of abortions. Let’s not defund them, though, because that would lead to more abortions.
It sounds like a joke, but desperate times call for desperate measures. This really is the latest argument from defenders of Planned Parenthood, trying to explain why an organization that does illegal, egregiously unethical things should continue to receive hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Yes, It’s as Dumb as It Sounds
I used to watch football with a friend who had a dry sense of humor. When his team was down by three touchdowns, he’d rub his hands and say with mock excitement, “We’ve got ‘em right where we want ‘em! Overconfident.”
Here’s another argument that I heard from a pacifist neighbor, when we were mobilizing for the war in Afghanistan. “We shouldn’t attack terrorist cells, because then the members will just scatter and form their own new cells, and the problem will be worse than ever. It’s probably to leave terrorists alone.”
Great idea! Just in general, when you have an enemy or opponent to bring to heel, weakness and compliance are the way to go. Now check out Dana Milbank on Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood: “No doubt the authors of the legislation think that anything that hurts Planned Parenthood, the leading provider of abortions, would further the pro-life cause. But their proposal – defunding all Planned Parenthood operations in retribution for secret videos showing the group’s officials discussing the sale of fetal organs — would do far greater harm to fetuses than anything discussed in the videos.”
Superb reasoning! Now that we know that Planned Parenthood is paying people to dissect live humans and negotiate the price of their organs, we should definitely keep those taxpayer dollars flowing. For the children, you know.
If you’re the sort of uneducated, Fox-News-watching rube who would allow yourself to be seen at a pro-life rally, you might suppose that we’d save more babies by not giving massive grants to people who kill them and chat about it over lunch. Obviously, that’s just because you’re a pawn of the right-wing media.
Obviously, Contraceptives Are Better than Babies
You see, the real solution to abortion is not a pro-life, pro-family culture that celebrates babies as a gift and a blessing. That kind of thinking is for saps. The real solution to abortion is more contraceptives.
To be clear, Republicans are not lobbying against contraceptives. They’re not even thinking about it. Contraceptives are widely available to anyone who wants them, and there is basically no chance in the world that that is going to change. Do you want artificial contraceptives? You can have them! Everyone can have them! In America today, you’ll find it far more difficult to acquire a gun, a bottle rocket, or a wedge of unpasteurized cheese than to get your hands on an artificial contraceptive.
Widespread contraceptive access has not solved the abortion problem. It’s far from clear that it even helps. (I could phrase that more strongly, but I’m trying to be generous here.) Undeterred, we keep looking for ways to get the sterile-sex solution to work its magic. Maybe if we hand out contraceptives in goody bags. (When I was in the Peace Corps, that’s pretty much how they did it.) Maybe if we teach kids how to use them starting in grade school. Any day now, we’ll be hearing how we need to LARC girls from toddlerhood, and make them apply to a government office if they want their fertility back.
Even if we all agree, though, that contraceptives are the answer, does anyone really buy the argument that we need to keep subsidizing a billion-dollar industry that dissects babies, just to give people free pills? Even LARCs, though slightly more complicated to insert, can be obtained in a wide variety of facilities across the nation. If we put our can-do American heads together, we might find a better way to do this.
Next thing you know, we’re going to hear that we can’t defund Planned Parenthood because they offer vital drinking fountain and restroom access to underprivileged children. Did you have an alternative plan for those inner-city kids who really have to go? Yeah, I thought not.
Bad People Do Bad Things
As a certified moral philosopher, I’m qualified to make profound statements about human nature, so here’s one. If you give bad people money and facilities to do good things, they may actually do bad things instead.
There’s a reason the abortion industry has always protected its image so jealously. It has what you might call a built-in PR problem. While it’s easy to talk about the “right to choose” or “reproductive health,” the actual work of slaughtering unborn humans is revolting. Decent people don’t want the sort of job that requires them to crush human skulls or pack up tiny livers for transport.
That’s why we find ghoulish figures like Mary Gatter and Kermit Gosnell lurking in abortion clinics. It’s why Planned Parenthood has been called out again and again for skirting the law. It’s why clinics that perform abortions really don’t offer a very wide range services, and tend not to have warm, cooperative relationships with other health care facilities in their region. It’s why Planned Parenthood has trouble building new clinics in states like Texas that require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. There are tens of thousands of doctors in Texas. But most people who go into medicine are more interested in saving lives than in taking them.
When we understand how isolated the abortion industry tends to be, we can easily reject the absurd suggestion that defunding the nation’s biggest abortion provider will increase the total number of abortions. Contraceptives are ubiquitous. Shifting our methods of distribution would be easy. By contrast, providing abortions (particularly late-term) is much harder, because nice, normal people don’t want to be associated with such a grisly business. Planned Parenthood relies on you, the taxpayer, to make their industry profitable.
How do you feel about helping pay six-figure salaries to people like Deborah Nucatola? Do you trust Cecile Richards to be a responsible, ethical user of government funds? If we want to invest in the health of women and children, let’s redirect funds to people who don’t have a history of killing them.