Planned Parenthood: Two women, Two Senators, One truth

August 9, 2015

PlannedParenthoodSangerPic1To the faithful, it was a word-fest symphonic – “Do you have any idea what year it is?….Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950’s or the 1890’s?… Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015, the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s healthcare centers…The Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood is a Republican plan to defund women’s healthcare.” – conducting that orchestra, none other than the darling of the Democrat party’s left wing base, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D Massachusetts.

If Warren had been telling the truth, I’d be the first to support her.  But she wasn’t and the United States Senate wasn’t trying to remove but even a single penny from women’s health spending.

In light of recent evidence exposing the dark side of Planned Parenthood executives treating human body parts as mere financial transactions (see Marilyn Beasley, “Where’s the Outrage” Globe, Aug 2nd) Senator Joni Ernst, R, Iowa introduced a bill transferring their federal funding to other qualified health centers across the country.

Senator Ernst explained: “As a mother and grandmother, I find this footage of Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies morally reprehensible and vile….The American people are horrified by these videos as well. Simply put, this legislation ensures that funding for women’s health is protected and that taxpayer dollars will not go to Planned Parenthood.”

Two women, two Senators, two very different views on what constitutes truth.

One, Warren falsely portrays a zero sum game.  No federal funding for Planned Parenthood = no women’s healthcare.  It’s disingenuous and duplicitous, but it rallies the base so all is well.

Another, Ernst, proposes that rather than sending tax dollars to an organization that is anathema to tens of millions of Americans, focus instead on the common ground: women’s health.

The Planned Parenthood website states it has more than 700 health centers across the country.

The National Association of Community Health Centers website notes over 9,000 locations serving over 23 million patients and states they “generate $24 billion in annual savings to the healthcare system – for the American taxpayer, local, state and federal governments and public and private payers alike.”

If the issue for Warren was truly about women’s health there would have been no need for the political vitriol she unleashed Monday.

But as is all too often in politics today, it’s rarely about the cause, it’s about the money.

And in the case of Planned Parenthood and the Democrat party, it’s a lot of money.

Alexander Burns writing in Politico in February 2014 noted: “The political arm of Planned Parenthood is preparing to launch its largest campaign offensive ever…The cost of the midterm campaign is expected to cross the $18 million mark, including $2.4 million the group spent in 2013 for Virginia’s off-year governor’s race,”.

$18 million; and that was for just one election cycle.  I have yet to find reports of community health centers spending millions trying to influence elections.

But in her defense, Warren was right on one thing.  The philosophy behind Senator Ernst’s bill does harken back to an earlier time.

The late 1700’s to be exact and the governing philosophy of one Thomas Jefferson: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”

It’s time to stop compelling half the country to fund an organization it abhors and focus on the common ground instead.

Access to women’s healthcare is expanded and Planned Parenthood can spend its extra millions on patients instead of politicians.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: A version of this column first appeared in the August 9, 2015 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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