The push to defund Planned Parenthood is not new. As the nation’s largest provider of abortions today, Planned Parenthood has been under attack since eugenicist Margaret Sanger breathed life into it in 1916. It began as her effort at population control. She figured that if “inferior” people could be convinced (or forced) to stop having children, humanity’s future would be bright. This was the beginning of what we, conservatives, refer to as a “culture of death” – a culture in which preventing and ending life is of higher priority than creating and nurturing life.
Planned Parenthood is in the preventing and ending life business. That is its mission. That many of the other services it renders are sought after by women and serve women’s health is not proof of mission. An organization’s mission is about an outcome, not the variety of activities it feels it must undertake to support the mission.
I do not doubt that women’s health is vital and important. Who would doubt that? In fact, thankfully, women’s health is served in a multiplicity of ways by an endless stream of health care providers. Planned Parenthood receives a half a billion tax dollars a year to prevent life. That it provides other services in the name of women’s health is tangential to its mission. This is an important distinction to keep in mind. Supporters of Planned Parenthood claim that birth control and abortion are part and parcel of women’s health – a reasonable construct even if arguable. But that is not why Planned Parenthood was created. Hence, you can see why there is such a volatile debate surrounding taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. My strong guess is that most of this debate would disappear overnight were its sole purpose simply women’s health.
The muddled justifications and amoral compartmentalizations in support of Planned Parenthood are staggering among people who should know better. Here in Utah, one woman recently wrote that she is a Mormon who stands with Planned Parenthood. She writes that she is “an active, believing temple recommend holding member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” and “also a board member of the c4 arm of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.” She insists that those two things are not a contradiction.
I beg to differ.
She invokes the idea of former President Bill Clinton that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” But if she truly believes this she would oppose Planned Parenthood. It is in the business of preventing life, especially by means of abortion. That is hardly support for “rare.” But she knows this incongruity. In fact, unlike the words “safe and legal,” she immediately argues that only the term “rare” is not a justifiable basis for government intervention – because, of course, to encourage “rare,” the federal government would defund Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America.
The reason abortion needs to be safe, legal and rare is precisely because abortion prevents a human life, many people would say takes a human life. I realize the writer thinks those three words exist solely in the name of women’s health. But, again, if that were true, there would be no debate over abortion. Surely, this woman’s LDS Church does not see abortion simply, or even primarily, in terms of women’s health. The LDS Church believes in exceptions, it is true. But those exceptions define the LDS Church’s view that abortion should be avoided when possible, not encouraged when possible.
Lastly, the writer purposely conflates and then separates the terms “moral” and “religious.” She is “morally opposed” to abortion but objects to “religious” opposition to abortion. Faithful Latter-day Saints are smart enough to know that abortion is generally opposed because of its moral ramifications on the individual and society, not as an article of faith.
Oddly, she turns right around and argues for abortion in the name of religious freedom – as if she has defined and is defending the LDS Church position. She states, emphatically, “We Mormons ‘believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.’ We Mormons also believe in the importance of agency and freedom.” Surely she does not mean “all men” literally to the exclusion of women. But, somehow, she justifies that Article of Faith to the exclusion of unborn lives – a perfect example of confusing ideology with theology. If she were true to her faith, as she describes it, she would resign her position with Planned Parenthood and oppose its federal funding.