Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Religious disapproval of Planned Parenthood licenses mendacity (corrected)


Anti-choice rally branded as "pro-life"

For all its posturing, the sanctimonious set sure does have a problem with truth. The flagrant deceit is apparent in regard to established scientific facts about sexual orientation and gender identity. Prevarications about Planned Parenthood are so widespread that some of the participants may not realize that they are lying. Suffice it to say that the enemies of Planned Parenthood are the enemies of the LGBT community.

Overwhelmingly, abortions are not paid for by tax dollars.

Correction: There are some exceptions to the Hyde Amendment. These include rape, incest and the life of the mother. Hopefully the number of abortions due to these exceptions is a very small percentage. Given the level of scrutiny, I am sure that Planned Parenthood is very careful with screening. This piece has been further edited to consider the effect of this correction.

Dustin Siggins (who, by the way, has moved on from LifeSiteNews) has a piece in the National Catholic Register about SPLC. It's the usual nonsensical drivel: In essence Christian organizations deserve a pass on the hate label because of religion and SPLC is evil, evil, evil. Somehow Planned Parenthood gets into the conversation. Siggins exchanged some email with Dan Gainor who is with Brent Bozell's preposterously named Media Research Center. Siggins writes:
“Conservatives are right in calling out Planned Parenthood,” said Gainor in an e-mail. “It pretends to be pro-woman and then uses taxpayer dollars to destroy hundreds of thousands of female and male babies. The SPLC simply uses its extremist ideology to identify anyone who dares to simply disagree as a hater and, by so doing, may put them at risk of harm.”

Gainor’s argument implies three good points – first, pro-life complaints about Planned Parenthood are doubly valid because the abortion company is publicly funded. Second, pro-lifers’ views are based on the truth of human life, while SPLC’s “hate group” designation is used to promote lies about human sexuality.
Even considering my correction, Gainor's quote is obviously false. The rape, incest and health exceptions to the law are certainly not hundreds of thousands.

Keep in mind that the Catholic Church is staunchly opposed to contraception. The world's largest “nonprofit” organization has been attacking Planned Parenthood for over 100 years. Planned Parenthood doesn't destroy babies. Of the roughly 10 million procedures Planned Parenthood performed in the latest fiscal year, about 300 thousand were abortions. A fetus is not a baby. Furthermore, about two-thirds of abortions are performed in the first eight weeks of gestation; 92% within the first 13 weeks. The fact that some of those fetuses might be female is a profoundly inept argument in supposed support of the idea that Planned Parenthood is not “pro-woman” given that it services mostly women who voluntarily use those services.

However, the big lie — the most offensive part of this — is the suggestion that tax dollars fund abortion. Gainor isn't subtle. He directly and unambiguously claims that tax dollars pay for abortions. Siggins is less direct but intellectually dishonest. It has become common “knowledge” throughout Christendom that taxpayers pay for abortions. The rhetoric would lead one to believe that Planned Parenthood's primary service is abortions.

Taxpayers fund very few abortions. These are the pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest and pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother.

It helps to first understand exactly what the term Planned Parenthood means. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the organization headed by Cecile Richards, controls about a half-dozen entities. None of these perform any patient services. PPFA is principally an advocacy organization. Patient services are provided by 56 independent affiliates that operate some 600 clinics.

Some of those services at some of those clinics include abortions. The approval of the Catholic Church is neither sought nor required. Abortion is a legal medical procedure. Roe v. Wade (1973) established a constitutional right to abortion. Abortions are at an all-time low and Planned Parenthood's prevention services are at least partially responsible.

Religious organizations that oppose abortions have two options:
  1. A constitutional amendment outlawing abortion or;
  2. Persuading their followers not to have abortions.
Attacking Planned Parenthood is politically popular in some circles but has been uniformly unsuccessful. One of the reasons for that is the simple fact that abortions are not funded by tax dollars beyond those very constrained exceptions. I do not expect Mr. Gainor to be intellectually honest but I do have a reasonable expectation that Mr. Siggins would correct the obvious misrepresentation.

Planned Parenthood's affiliates do receive federal funds. Those include Title X Family Planning grants which were enacted by Richard Nixon in 1970 and Medicaid. However, the Hyde Amendment prohibits any of those funds to be used to cover abortion. Patients must pay for their own abortions. If you are thinking that revenues from covered services allow Planned Parenthood to help fund abortion fees you would be wrong. The affiliates run pretty lean. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, for example, lost about $250 thousand in the year ended June 30, 2015 which brought their fund balances down to $350,000. The payments that they receive for services, whether through grants or Medicaid, pretty much cover those services without much in the way of surplus.

While I disagree they have every right to express the religious opprobrium. What they don't have a right to do is to consistently lie because they disapprove. People have a right to make up their minds on an issue based upon the truthful facts. Lying is not part of constructive debate. Lying deprives the recipients of information the right to make an informed decision and it is wrong. In that age of Agent Orange we have learned about “alternative facts.” Can we ever recover from a president who is a pathological liar?

Speaking of the lies about PPA, there is that pervasive 94% nonsense. Rep. Marsh Blackburn of Tennessee has said that “over 90 percent” and “94 percent of their business is abortion services.” Allow me to refer that matter to FactCheck.org.

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