Musings about Defunding Planned Parenthood

I am fortunate. I have never had to use the services of Planned Parenthood. But I am a white male who was lucky enough to be born into and grow up in a stable economic environment. The current right wing in our political arena wants to defund Planned Parenthood, purportedly because the organization does mostly abortions.

Here is a chart of the procedures done by Planned Parenthood in 2013:

Planned Parenthood Services
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This shows that out of 10,590,433 procedures, 327,653 were abortions. That’s about 3 percent of the procedures. In contrast, here are some claims by some Republicans:

Planned Parenthood Services 1
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These claims are obviously wrong at best, deceptive and skewed, or outright deceitful at worst.

I am not in favor of abortion. Being male, that’s easy for me to say. I have obviously never had one. But I don’t believe that our society has the right, or I have the right, or Tom Cole that the right, or Orrin Hatch has the right, to tell other women what to do or not do with their bodies.

More than 300,000 women annually find themselves in positions where they go to Planned Parenthood and eventually make the decision to have an abortion, whatever their reasons are. They make those decisions under extremely stressful conditions, economically, morally and psychologically. The last thing they need is some finger-wagging politician to tell them what to do. They need professional help from someone who is trained to help them, medically, if they decide to go forward, or psychologically, if necessary. This help cannot be legislated. It must be provided by qualified organizations, and Planned Parenthood is one of those.

We can, as a nation, remove Planned Parenthood. Then the 97% of the non-abortion-related services they are now providing will no longer be available. Those people needing those services will have to find other organizations, like Planned Parenthood, that provide those services.

If we outlaw abortions, that does not mean abortions don’t happen anymore, just like abolition in the twenties didn’t stop alcohol consumption.

I don’t believe that a single unwanted pregnancy will be prevented just because abortions are not legal. Women will still get pregnant, probably more of them, because there won’t be Planned Parenthood to help with contraception and education. With no ready services in this country, rich women will fly to Denmark, Holland or Germany to get the abortions they need. Those are the very few. The disadvantaged have to find back-alley quacks, or worse, cross the border to Mexico.

I do not understand what these Republican are trying to fix. We currently have a reasonably effective support system for unwanted pregnancies and contraception at the lower economic scale. Removing this support system will simply make abortions much more expensive, shift them underground, make them much more risky and of possibly criminal.

So what is it that drives these people to dictate their views to others and try to force their behavior? Don’t they know that does not work?

The Craze of Defunding Planned Parenthood

The “defunding” word is all over the news these days, with the Republican field trying to outdo each other to get the attention of the national media.

I found this article about Craig Conner, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Panama City, Florida, who lamented about the government taking away money from his paycheck and sending it to Planned Parenthood, this evil organization. He says if we just stopped sending Planned Parenthood money, we’d wipe out the national debt instantly.

Hmmm. Planned Parenthood received about $540 million in government grants in 2013. The national debt is about $18 trillion. It would take about 33,333 years at 540 million, if the debt didn’t grow and there was no interest on it, to pay off the national debt from what we didn’t issue in grants to Planned Parenthood. I wonder how much credibility a pastor has that can’t add simple numbers and present them so they make sense.

In comparison, our country will spend almost $1 trillion on defense and related expenses in 2015. Is Craig Conner not worried about his paychecks being raided to send killer robots to the Middle East and Africa to hunt terrorists and send rockets indiscriminately into civilian neighborhoods, not just killing embryos, but real-life women, children, grandparents, along with all the terrorists? If he was, his argument would even hold water. We could wipe out the national debt in 18 years by defunding defense.

In the case of Planned Parenthood, $540 million is about 45% of the organization’s budget, and none of the government grants are used to fund abortions. Yet, the organization is vilified for its work and its role in preventative female health care and human reproductive rights.

I want the politicians to stay out of our health care, out of our reproductive decisions and, please, out of our bedrooms. Fortunately, I think, our country has come around this bend, and the more the candidates salivate over this stuff, the less electable they all become.