In recent posts, we argued that an attempt to deprive Planned Parenthood of federal funding would be a mistake, and that under no circumstances should such an attempt be pursued at the risk of a government shutdown. On September 8, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial, “Government Shutdown Redux,” in which it also argued against a government shutdown. Along the way, however, the Journal cited the controversial undercover videos of Planned Parenthood to suggest that defunding it would be a “laudable goal.” In response to that editorial, we wrote a letter explaining why the that goal was not at all laudable.
On September 12, the Journal published our letter in part–its final paragraph. The abridgement of the letter did not distort its meaning and we appreciate the Journal’s willingness to publish at least a portion of it. (We have found over the years that the Journal is considerably more more willing to publish letters expressing opposing views than is The New York Times.) Nevertheless, we thought that anyone who saw the editorial and our letter, might be intereted in the complete version. It was as follows:
To The Editor:
Your editorial provides compelling logic in making clear the futility of a shutdown maneuver. It suffers one flaw, however: perpetuating the disinformation that the undercover videos provide grounds for the “laudable goal” of defunding Planned Parenthood. They do not.
The videos may provide ammunition for those who continue to oppose the constitutional right of abortion recognized by the Supreme Court more than forty years ago, but that is another matter. Possibly they also provide grounds for reconsidering the federal statute that, for more than twenty years, has authorized the harvesting of fetal tissue for research, but that too is another matter. What the videos do not do is show any illegal or unethical activity on the part of Planned Parenthood.
Moreover, whatever one’s view of abortion, or the use of fetal tissue, defunding Planned Parenthood would be a serious mistake, depriving countless women of the many health services–other than abortion–provided by Planned Parenthood. Most critically, limiting Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide birth control service will result in more unplanned pregnancies and more abortions. The notion that such services will simply be provided by other healthcare agencies is a convenient fantasy. In short, defunding Planned parenthood is not a laudable goal, but would be a triumph of ideology over common sense.
– Douglas M. Parker