Special Bulletin. The Planned Parenthood Wars: A Footnote.

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

11 thoughts on “Special Bulletin. The Planned Parenthood Wars: A Footnote.

  • Thanks, Doug. Good to hear from you again. In light of the recent news that 70 clergy from somewhere have petitioned Congress to de-fund Planned Parenthood, I can only hope that at least 70 other clergy of more rational persuasion (political, theological and ethical – Yes, these do exist!) will step up and submit their own petition in support of Planned Parenthood and its continued funding.

  • Your letter was well spoken. Demagougery has overtaken this issue on the right, which is a shame. If opponents of Planned Parenthood would take a step back and realize the implications of shutting it down, they might, just might, feel differently about it.

    But that would be wishful thinking on my part, alas.

  • As clear, straight-forward, non-argumentative statement on the value of Planned Parenthood, and maintaining federal funding for it, as could be imagined. Hope Congress is listening!

  • Douglas:
    Once again I hope your reasoned, studied and thoughtful voice has had an impact on many. Taking needed services away from those who can least afford them in the name of political point-scoring causes me to send off my humble additional contribution to an organization such as Planned Parenthood.
    Yours, Tony

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