According to the propagandists of the radical left, the GOP launched a “war on women” last week when the House overwhelmingly agreed to yank Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. Democrats are accusing their political rivals of everything from forcing poor women to suffer, to attempting to shut the organization down. Of course, these are hollow lies designed to herd uninformed voters onto the liberal bandwagon, and are—like most Democratic arguments—easily disproved.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is a group of eighty-five independent affiliates that provide a variety of services to women, including contraception, STD testing and treatment, and abortions. It’s also an extremely political organization, lobbying against parental consent laws and pharmacists’ refusal clauses (both of which are protected by the Tenth Amendment), and supporting Democratic candidates in elections. Planned Parenthood was a strong supporter of candidate Obama in 2008.
What’s wrong with that? They’re a private organization and can do what they want, right? Er, not exactly. Although Planned Parenthood receives about one-fourth of its funding from private donors, it receives a whopping one-third from the federal government; the organization raked in $363.2 million from the taxpayers in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Federal law prohibits federal funding of abortions (with some exceptions), but Planned Parenthood openly calls for the removal of this reasonable restriction.
To put it bluntly, Planned Parenthood is a leech, a parasitic organization that feeds on Americans’ paychecks. Certainly, some citizens approve of the organization’s activities, and they are free to support it with their own money, but it is unacceptable, even immoral, to force those who do not approve to finance activities that might, in some cases, violate their religious convictions.
Isn’t there something in the First Amendment about that?
Some conservative activists oppose the very existence of Planned Parenthood simply because of the role it plays in providing abortions; it performed nearly 325,000 in 2008 alone. However, that’s not the point. Abortion debate aside, a controversial organization like Planned Parenthood should not receive a full third of its billion-dollar budget from taxpayers. For that matter, it shouldn’t receive any federal funding at all. Period. If Planned Parenthood can’t operate on the same playing field as every other private organization in the U.S. that doesn’t get an enormous check from Uncle Sam every year, then perhaps its activities aren’t quite as popular as its public relations department likes to pretend.
Far from waging a war against women, the Republicans in Congress are battling wasteful spending and defending workers’ right to decide how to spend or invest their earnings. In these difficult economic times, it’s downright absurd to argue that Person A should be forced to pay for Person B’s condoms or morning-after pills, which is exactly what Democrats are doing.
The only fair criticism of the move to defund Planned Parenthood is that it focuses on a lone vampire-like organization and ignores a multitude of others that are feeding at the public trough, as freshman Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) pointed out, following the vote. He would prefer to defund all organizations that provide abortions, and is not alone; survey respondents consistently indicate that they would prefer the government didn’t pay for abortions, regardless of their personal feelings about the procedure.
Last week’s vote is a tiny step in the right direction, when it comes to reducing the outrageous amount of the public’s money that the federal government doles out to various organizations and causes, but such steps are necessary if this nation is ever to be called “free” again.