Monday, February 6, 2012

Planned Parenthood and Ross Douthat

I find, as a general rule, that reading Ross Douthat's column is incompatible with my being a happy person.  But, sometimes, we hold our nose, and do what must be done.

Ross Douthat looks at media response Koman cutting funds for Planned Parenthood (for a string of unconvincing and changing reasons), and says:
Conservative complaints about media bias are sometimes overdrawn. But on the abortion issue, the press’s prejudices are often absolute, its biases blatant and its blinders impenetrable. In many newsrooms and television studios across the country, Planned Parenthood is regarded as the equivalent of, well, the Komen foundation: an apolitical, high-minded and humanitarian institution whose work no rational person — and certainly no self-respecting woman — could possibly question or oppose.
There are a few things Douthat should keep in mind.

  1. NOBODY likes abortions.  Not the doctors who perform them (while wondering if they might get shot).  Not the women getting them (while being told that they're committing murder).  Not the politicians that stick their necks out to watch out for women's rights.  And certainly not (with the regrettable exception of a few individuals who don't deserve to exist) the men who wonder if some time in the future whatever birth control they use will fail, and they'll be sitting their holding their wife or girlfriend's hand.  The debate isn't whether anybody thinks abortion is a good thing, but whether women should be allowed to have abortions.
  2. While Planned Parenthood is the nations largest abortion provider, that is mostly because its is the only major care organization that provides them, and refuses to be intimidated. Down here in the South, I wouldn't want to provide abortions because I'd be afraid of getting shot. To provide abortions in this country takes solid institutional resolve, and even still it is not the core of what they do. Roughly speaking, the care they provide is 70% preventative sexual health, 17% Cancer screening, and 3% abortions.  Furthermore, they are well versed in the use of segregated funds, so they no doubt already segregate Koman's donations for use in cancer screening, it did not fund any abortions.
  3. This was a political attack on Planned Parenthood.  By every measure.  Koman first made it about them being "under investigation" (a lone republican in congress with a grudge), then about them providing the wrong type of screening (never mind that they provide the appropriate screening for the ages they serve).  
  4. An attack on Planned Parenthood is fundamentally an attack on the rights of women to have sex without their father's and church's permission.  Don't believe me? Ask Rick Santorum why he doesn't like contraception.  In October, he said it lets people "do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."  

So, Ross, the media does not have abortion blinders, it simply sees this for what it is.  A political attack against the rights of adult women to be sexually active without the permission of their fathers.

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