Abortion supporters have had a hard few weeks. The revelations of the Philadelphia ‘doctor’ and the videos of a Planned Parenthood representative have not made the practitioners of abortion services look good (please note: the stories at those links are graphic and not suitable for children).
Members of the House of Representatives and various state lawmakers are now seeking to end the public funding of Planned Parenthood clinics. Public funding of Planned Parenthood generally pays for other health services they provide, although limited public funding for abortions is allowed.
In response to these attacks on their funding, New York Times columnist Gail Collins offers a spirited defense of Planned Parenthood. One aspect of that defense is all the other services Planned Parenthood provides:
But here’s the most notable thing about this whole debate: The people trying to put Planned Parenthood out of business do not seem concerned about what would happen to the 1.85 million low-income women who get family-planning help and medical care at the clinics each year. It just doesn’t come up. There’s not even a vague contingency plan. . .
There is no comparable organization to Planned Parenthood, providing the same kind of services on a national basis. If there were, most of the women eligible for Medicaid-financed family-planning assistance wouldn’t have to go without it.
Ms. Collins is being a little disingenuous. Public funding for health services would not decrease, they just would not be allocated to organizations that also provide abortions.
I propose a compromise. Since these other health services are so valuable (though several are also morally questionable), Planned Parenthood should stop offering abortion services and concentrate on these other services. That would immediately take away the best argument those against Planned Parenthood have. Besides, according to their 2008 annual report, ‘only’ 3% of their services are abortions.
I doubt that will happen.
Gail Collins is a gifted writer; even her ‘straw man’ and ad hominem arguments are more clever than most. But the highest expression of Planned Parenthood in terms of their mission is abortion. We must not be distracted from that horrible fact.