Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Planned Parenthood Controversy: Anti-Abortion Activists Call for Defunding

As discussed in a prior post, the Center for Medical Progress has launched a video smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally selling fetal tissue derived from abortions. In reality, Planned Parenthood donates fetal tissue to medical research, which is perfectly legal.

As the controversy rages, anti-abortion activists are demonizing Planned Parenthood with gusto. Many anti-abortion figures are repeating their usual calls to defund the organization, ignoring both the lack of evidence of any illegal activity and the many positive health care services it provides.

For example, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina demanded that Planned Parenthood be defunded during her visit to the Iowa State Fair. In this C-SPAN video, Fiorina spouts the usual right-wing myths about Planned Parenthood, accusing it of targeting poor women and pressuring women to terminate pregnancies.
"I am pro-life, and I believe science is proving us right every day, but you do not have to be pro-life to understand the hideous nature of what is going on here. This is about the moral character of our nation, when you can have employees who target poor communities, who are pushing women into later term abortions so they can more successfully harvest body parts, even thought late term abortions are demonstrably bad for women. You can only be horrified when you see employees picking over a petri dish for body parts while they say, 'look, it's a baby'. There is no excuse. Planned Parenthood must be defunded."  
In an August 20th statement at the Concerned Women for America website, Jaime Ballew accused the mainstream media of biased reporting on the video controversy. Ballew then accused Planned Parenthood of greedily seeking profits (despite Planned Parenthood's status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit) and raged against taxpayer funding for the group.
"The (now seven) videos from the Center for Medical Progress have clearly outlined Planned Parenthood’s disregard for not only life but also the law. Another heartbreaking facet is how the mainstream media choses to ignore these facts to better serve their own interests. Instead of fair and unbiased reporting, the media chooses sides and overwhelmingly reports on pieces that illicit a response that does not inconvenience anyone or make anyone unnecessarily uncomfortable."


Planned Parenthood has an agenda, and to think that their sole interest is women is a lie. Over and over again one thing has come across loud and clear: Planned Parenthood is concerned with the bottom line; they’ve said so themselves. It is appalling that a cent of taxpayer money has gone towards the vicious annihilation of a generation, especially considering Planned Parenthood tops one billion dollars in assets. Even if no taxpayer funds go directly into providing abortions, those dollars allow Planned Parenthood to keep the lights on and print pink t-shirts to hand out to their blind celebrity following. Do not be deceived; taxpayer funding allows Planned Parenthood to more efficiently operate."
Arina Grossu, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity, also cited the videos in her call to defund Planned Parenthood.
"With the release of two more videos this week showing several other senior officials at Planned Parenthood callously and casually discussing sale of babies’ organs as if they were selling car parts, this country has been presented with another reminder of the ugly realities of the abortion industry. Even pro-abortion Americans have been shocked and sickened by what goes on behind closed doors at Planned Parenthood.

When will we decide we’ve had enough? How much more appalling evidence do we need from Planned Parenthood before we officially cut ties between the taxpayer and this abortion giant that scavenges baby parts and haggles for the cost of each ‘specimen’? Planned Parenthood must not receive one penny more of hard-earned taxpayer dollars."
Seán O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, echoed the call to defund Planned Parenthood in an August 3rd letter to the U.S. Senate.
"The most recent revelations about Planned Parenthood’s willingness to traffic in fetal tissue from abortions, and to alter abortion methods not for any reason related to women’s health but to obtain more “intact” organs, is the latest demonstration of a callousness toward women and their unborn children that is shocking to many Americans.

The Catholic Church comes to this issue from a perspective rooted in experience. Catholic charitable agencies and pregnancy help centers have helped countless pregnant women find life-affirming alternatives to abortion. Our hospitals and other health facilities are second to none in providing quality health care for women.

We support the legislative proposal to reallocate federal funding, so that women can obtain their health care from providers that do not promote abortion. It is my sincere hope that you will be able to help advance this goal by supporting S. 1881."
Live Action, an anti-abortion group with tactics similar to the Center for Medical Progress, also joined the chorus. In an August 3rd statement, Lila Rose called on lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood.
"The public outcry against Planned Parenthood continues to grow as we learn about the atrocities within the abortion giant’s facilities. I have to believe that those Senators who voted against defunding Planned Parenthood must have never actually viewed the videos released by Center for Medical Progress, where multiple high-level Planned Parenthood executives have been caught on tape negotiating prices for the bodies of aborted preborn children while they cavalierly talk about “crushing” certain body parts to preserve “five-star” organs for sale. This, just the latest in years of mounting evidence against Planned Parenthood. We call on elected officials to cut close-knit ties with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry lobby."
Some of the anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric is downright strange. In a July 31st press release, Alveda King linked Planned Parenthood's alleged sale of fetal tissue to a Satanic Temple fundraiser. King likened reproductive rights to the "three headed demonic force" of racism, "sexual perversion", and "reproductive genocide", thereby demonizing Planned Parenthood as an infernal enemy of people of color. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"In a news flash, a devil-worshipping group calling itself the Satanic Temple is raising funds to promote abortion-on-demand to counter legal efforts such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and 20-week abortion bans. A highly publicized ceremonial unveiling of a satanic figure, an event billed as the "largest public satanic ceremony in history," sold $25 and $75 tickets, the proceeds of which will be used to support the reproductive rights legal action fund.

Why connect the two? It's a three headed demonic force.

Again, the pro-life struggle is part of a bigger battle going on in our world - a battle for souls - a battle between good and evil. Many don't understand; in today's culture, people like Cecile Richards call evil, good and good, evil. They are backed by so much money; their lying message is repeated so often, people begin to believe it; creating a ball of confusion."
If these anti-abortion voices had done their research, they would have learned that Planned Parenthood has not been illegally selling fetal tissue, merely donating it to medical research in exchange for transport reimbursement. Furthermore, a few minutes of research would have shown them that several states have investigated Planned Parenthood and found no evidence of illegal activity. Finally, anti-abortion figures ignore Planned Parenthood's positive contributions to public health, such as abortion services, contraception, STD testing, cancer screening, and sex education.

Anti-abortion figures aren't going to countenance that evidence any time soon. Their animosity toward Planned Parenthood cannot be pacified with facts or logical arguments. Their efforts to undermine women's reproductive rights will continue, forcing pro-choice advocates to remain vigilant. Expect more hyperbole and more myths as the video controversy rages on.

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