Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How the Religious Right Rebranded Planned Parenthood

In the upside-down world of the religious right where zygotes are human beings and evolution is a dirty word, Planned Parenthood is being cynically re-branded as an abortion mill.  As usual no attention is being paid to facts. Here's a sample of what I mean from Pro-life news, which recently announced  a  new online strategy the prolife movement is using :
 "Over six million searches for “abortion” and related phrases are typed into search engines every month in America. Online for Life has a novel approach to saving babies: they buy ad space at the top of some of these searches, and direct women to clinics that offer a free ultrasound and pro-life counseling. "
This sort of deceptive bait and switch is ethically, and perhaps legally questionable and notice that the word baby is used from the moment sperm meets egg.  Although 98% of abortions done in the United States are done in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy when the correct term is embryo not baby,  the pro life crowd  likes to say " baby" which is kind of like calling an acorn an oak tree.   Just imagine what their idea of counseling is when they do get their hands on a young, frightened girl.  They claim a 98 % success rate ( based on what I don't know) but I imagine there is a lot of shaming and bullying and pressuring, without much concern for the needs of the girl or the baby once it is born.

But that is not the half of it.  What really burns me up is the way they play fast and loose with the facts in totally mis-representing  Planned Parenthood, painting it as a money grubbing abortion mill.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's how Pro Life News paints Planned Parenthood
 "The abortion industry is a business, and despite the claims of Planned Parenthood and other such “family planning” clinics, abortion is their biggest money maker. In select US cities, though, a different advertisement floats to the top of the page, and–in contrast with Planned Parenthood–these advertisements are helping to save the lives of the unborn. "
Here's the real story. Abortions represent about 3% of what  Planned Parenthood does. The organization is, and always has been since its founding by Margaret Sanger in 1895, primarily concerned with preventing unwanted pregnancies by educating women about and providing them with contraceptive options.  It has always been about women's health.. It provides free and low cost gynecological services, birth control, testing and treatment for  HIV and other STDs, mammograms and tests for cervical cancer among many other things.  Moreover, the organization  is forbidden by law to use government money to fund abortions. so the notion that Planned Parenthood is part of an " abortion industry" using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions is absolute nonsense.

The rebranding of Planned Parenthood by the religious right has nothing to do with any interest in women's health or in babies for that matter.  These same people are all for cutting the WIC program and  health care for poor pregnant women as well as pre-school  education programs like Head Start.  The sanctimonious manipulation of truth is either very cynical or very misguided.

I suppose their justification is that they think they are doing God's work. Well, the Spanish Inquisition felt the same way when they were burning people at the stake to save their souls.  Some things never change

The Biography of Planned Parenthood's Past President
Faye Wattleton. What A Read and What a Life!


JamaGenie said...

Faye Wattleton's "Life On The Line" explains in great detail what PP really does. That abortion is NOT its primary purpose, and in fact, as you point out and the chart shows, only a tiny part of the services it provides, and then only as a last resort.

LOTL also explains why men are the ones most adamantly opposed to abortion, and it has NOTHING to do with LIFE or the mental or physical health of pregnant women, and EVERYTHING to do with controlling women as a whole... keeping them in "their place"... in the Dark Ages of subservience. The anti-abortion crowd couldn't care less about what happens to fetuses brought to full-term through their fear mongering. The most puzzling aspect of the movement is how many women buy into this mindset.

pinkpackrat said...

Hi Jama-- well nobody is exactly FOR abortion and I don't know if more men than women oppose it, but perhaps Wattleton has a point-- she was president of Planned Parenthood for a long time and Iadmired her fighting spirit for the rights of women. Thanks for mentioning her book. It's a really worthwhile read. She writes beautifully and has had one heck of a life. I added an Amazon link at the bottom of this post for anyone who wants to order it.

Pamela Grundy said...

Thanks for this! Roe V Wade is slowly being repealed de facto through the intimidation and misinformation spread by a angry minority, and it's not right. This issue has been decided already, and PP does so much. But--and I know no one wants to say this flat out so I will--abortion is technically LEGAL because we live in a country ruled by LAW not intimidation (for now). So a small percentage of what they do is help women who want abortions get them. No apologies for that, no shame IMO.