An advertisement sponsored by the local affiliate of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, recently caught my attention – not because it is unusual for them to advertise, but for the dishonesty in the claim the voice over made.
It was that GOP Senator Jeff Flake (AZ) and his party are attempting to “block” women from receiving services from Planned Parenthood.
The “blocking” terminology is a leftover from Planned Parenthood’s initial push against the House version of the Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill, specifically the bill titled the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion bill”, at which time one of their talking points was:
“Defunds” Planned Parenthood — by blocking people with Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers — including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.”
Of course, in a 30 second ad targeting GOP Senators, there isn’t the time nor necessity or advantage in clarifying that neither Jeff Flake or any other Republican is, or intends to block women from visiting a Planned Parenthood facility.
Then again, if you are invested with performing abortions at the expense of taxpayers, certainly you will be of the opinion that excluding the procedure of terminating an unborn life from the menu of options covered by Medicaid, is “blocking access”. It makes for good incendiary rhetoric – but it also carries the strong scent of hysteria.
Planned Parenthood is fully aware that the very mention of its name carries with it the stigma (well deserved) of either performing abortions or referring clients to nearby clinics.
This is why, in recent years, they have attempted to distract the public and the public debate with other shiny objects.
They lead with cancer screenings, STD testing and other preventative care – including what they refer to as “maternity services”. Another name for this is pre-natal care.
When one gets down to the meat of that particular shiny object, it turns out to be largely an illusionists’ trick.
Whereas Planned Parenthood is involved in the provision of 328,348 abortions, according to their own reports from 2015 – more than a third of the 926,000 performed in the U.S., they, by their own accounting, only conducted 17,000 pre-natal services.
And a survey conducted by Live Action revealed that the vast majority of Planned Parenthood clinics do not offer any maternity care services whatsoever – 5 out of 97.
They also smoke up the room with references to respectable sounding professional associations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists an organization that has been strongly advocating the expansion of availability of abortion procedures.
ACOG has even conducted a campaign of coercion of doctors who have moral and ethical objections to terminating pregnancies, by among other means, threatening to recommend pro-life doctors not be certified or re-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics.
The bottom line on Planned Parenthood’s alarmist claim that the GOP is attempting to block women from receiving services at Planned Parenthood, is that it is deceptive and opportunistic.
The funding that Planned Parenthood has been receiving from the federal budget annually ($500 million), can certainly be replaced at least in part, by private funding sources and that is the proper avenue for such funding. But the argument from defenders of the organization, is that it is “too big to fail”. Our experiences with that argument in the last decade should cause us to ask “why?”
Capitalizing on the scare of Trump and the GOP defunding Planned Parenthood, the organization has turned it into a potent sales pitch for donations as Tho Bishop on Mises.org outlines:
Planned Parenthood has received around 128,000 individual donations in a week. Showing a sense of humor some had feared the left had lost, at least 20,000 donations were made in the name of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has called the outpouring of support “unprecedented.”
The added benefit of moving Planned Parenthood services off the taxpayer dole, is that we are no longer imposing the government on the non-profit arena of medical services and consequently no longer choosing winners and losers in that arena. Competition improves functioning and best practices.
That is the direction we need to head in. Local communities are the best arbiters of what the best provision of care looks like.