On the EDge: GOP fight with Planned Parenthood runs deep

Image composite, St. George News

OPINION — The Republican Party has been gunning for Planned Parenthood for decades. Now, it seems, the GOP is latching onto a video that alleges wrongdoing on the part of the organization saying it supplies fetal tissue to researchers for profit.

They have turned a scientific process into a macabre exercise in semantics by referring to the practice as “selling body parts” from aborted fetuses. While human tissues are technically body parts, the language used here is certainly inflammatory, particularly when you realize that without access to human tissues, science would not have been able to create a vaccine for polio and would be stymied in research efforts for AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy and other diseases that afflict us.

This sort of research has been going on since the 1930s, so this is, in reality, nothing new. It is only now, when the Republicans are looking for yet another plank to stand on that resonates with the religious right, that it is becoming a major issue.

That’s why there is so much political grandstanding going on in the run-up to the 2016 election. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, one of the GOP presidential hopefuls, canceled his state’s contract with Planned Parenthood as a result of this video. The thing is, neither of the two Louisiana Planned Parenthood facilities offers abortions.

In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered that the state will stop disbursing federal funds to Planned Parenthood. For the record, only one of the Utah Planned Parenthood facilities offers abortions.

Read more: Abortion in Utah legal but availability limited, especially in Southern Utah

And, at least 10 other very red states — including Florida, Texas, Georgia and South Carolina — have ordered investigations into Planned Parenthood’s tissue program.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party, there is no consistency in all of this moral braggadocio. You see, the GOP is very big on the business of preaching abstinence – only in our schools. It is against requiring health insurance companies to pay for contraception. It is also steadfast against government assistance for poor, single mothers.

That’s where the hypocrisy comes into play.

The GOP wants to tell women what to do with their bodies, wants to protect what it terms the “sanctity of the unborn life,” yet denies support, or at least some sort of assistance, for that life once it enters the world. It’s an unfair penance placed upon a woman and child. Besides, if conservatives were so truly “life-centric,” isn’t it contradictory for them to be so steadfastly in support of capital punishment?

Planned Parenthood has had a huge impact on U.S. culture since 1916, when it sprung from a little birth control clinic opened in Brooklyn by women’s activist Margaret Sanger, who was arrested for distributing information on contraception.

Sanger, it must be noted, was not an advocate of abortion. In fact, she viewed it as something that was sometimes justified but should generally be avoided. Sanger argued that contraception was the only practical way to avoid abortions.

The impact was swift and wide.

Women learned, as a result of Planned Parenthood, about their own bodies, have become better able to take care of themselves — whether afflicted with a sexually transmitted disease or cancer — and put in charge of their own sexuality, something many men are uncomfortable with.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has been unfairly described as an abortion factory. The truth is that only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s funding goes in that direction. The remainder goes to services and education aimed at not only women’s reproductive health, but their general health and welfare.

But, in the war on women — let’s be honest, that’s what this really is — that doesn’t stack up well with the “keep ‘em barefoot and pregnant” crowd of the religious right who are threatened at the specter of a powerful woman.

So, they take advantage of every chance they get to disparage Planned Parenthood. I seriously doubt most GOP politicians have taken a serious look at the organization, otherwise we wouldn’t get such nonsense as Jindal’s shutting down Louisiana’s contract with Planned Parenthood or Herbert’s order to stop disbursal of federal funds to the group.

Women with breast cancer have saved or extended their lives thanks to the exams given at Planned Parenthood. STDs have been held in check, thanks to the testing and treatment available at Planned Parenthood centers. And, who knows how many accidental births have been prevented as a result of contraception made available through Planned Parenthood.

If the Republicans want to pick a fight and draw an even deeper line in the sand between the right-to-lifers and those who are pro-choice, that’s fine.

But, before you take that first swing, check your hypocrisy at the door.

If you are that concerned about the welfare of children and that profound in your defense of the unborn, you’d darned well better back it up with better assistance for single mothers, better health care coverage for women and children, and, while we’re at it, beefed up education funds for our children.

Otherwise, your words are meaningless, your morality questionable.

Be consistent, it’s something we can all respect.

Be honest, and don’t pluck misleading numbers or statistics and use them as a basis for your attack. The jury is still out on the video in question.

The consensus, however, seems to be that when all is said and done, it will be a case of much ado about nothing, as it was in 2000 when Planned Parenthood faced a similar accusation when one of its affiliate clinics in Kansas was accused of illegally selling fetal tissue. The FBI was called in to investigate those allegations and concluded that the clinic did not break any laws.

Of course, by the time the group clears its name in this latest dust-up, the GOP will most certainly have switched gears and found yet another issue of morality with which to stick it to the Democrats. But until then, look for even more red state governors to follow the knee-jerk, and possibly illegal, reactions of Herbert and Jindal.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 7:57 am

    You nailed this one Ed. You won’t find a worse group of lying, hypocrite scoundrels than the modern republican party.

    • 42214 August 18, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Fun Bag, I thought you said you were a Republican?

      • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 11:42 am

        you mean the ‘OBAMA DONE IT! HIDE THE GUNS!’ party?

  • sagemoon August 18, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Ed.

  • Dene August 18, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Sanger’s eugenic policies included an mandatory segregation and sterilization for the those deemed unfit to reproduce. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated the use of coercion to prevent the unfit from reproducing. She believed that the ongoing births of “feeble minded people” was a worldwide human emergency, and necessitated mandatory segregation of unfit peoples as well as imposed sterilization to prevent this “burden on the human race” In “A Plan for Peace”, a 1932 essay, Sanger proposed a congressional department to address population problems. She also recommended that immigration exclude those “whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race,” and that sterilization and segregation be applied to those with incurable, hereditary disabilities. Your type of person Ed.

    • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 11:44 am

      here we go with more kooky, off-the-wall attempts to compare abortions to Nazism and eugenics…

      • Dene August 18, 2015 at 12:08 pm

        I gave you two books to look it up yourself. maybe your one of those she was talking about. Fun Bag AKA “Feeble minded”

  • NotSoFast August 18, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Ed. I can tell by the tone of typing, you don’t much care for the modern Republican party. Your sure as heck won’t fine any such hypocrisy on the left. Now will you.
    (Altered phrases from the Wizard of Oz)–
    ‘Pay no attention to that discussing, edited video on your screen! or how about–
    ‘ I did not have sex with that women in the blue dress! (Billy Boy-D) (or)
    ‘ I am not a crook’ (Tricky Dick-R) (or)
    ‘ Fun Bag’s stupid comment listed above’.
    (opinion made by a Independent American)

    • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 11:46 am


      • NotSoFast August 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

        Just trying to point out how stupid the politically correct (and you) sound like when you try to reason on a empty stomach Fun Bag. Don’t forget to eat a bowl of (organic) oatmeal and a glutton free bagel prior to your next utterance. (just kidding Fun Bag).

  • ameliapond88 August 18, 2015 at 11:36 am

    This is so spot on. The GOP wants to take away a woman’s right to control her body and sexuality under the guise of morality. Such hypocrisy, yet liberals are evil…logic.

  • Roy J August 18, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    The ‘scientific process’ is not the ‘scientists’ position. This stale argument has been advanced so many times that it would boggle the imagination if one forgot, for a moment, that nobody bothers to read anything these days anyways. Here’s some food for thought on this tired and worn out excuse for a ‘scientific’ position: http://thefederalist.com/2014/05/19/the-washington-post-is-super-confused-about-where-babies-come-from/#.Vcn08sO4PAQ.twitter

    • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      i find it ironic that all the atrocities the catholic church has committed over the centuries that they have this need to “protect the world from the evils of artificial contraception”, and then this pope goes around telling people to not “breed like rabbits”,,, anyways maybe ill take a look at that link later

      • Roy J August 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

        FUN BAG,
        Depending on the atrocity, it may or may not be the Catholic Church that is at fault. Let me know sometime which ones you’re referring to, I can probably locate an entire library on the subject, one of the few things I’m good for…XD

        • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 5:20 pm

          There’s been so much i wouldn’t really know where to begin. The pedophile scandals are one of the more recent ones, the corruption and mismanagement of money in rome is another lingering thing. Laundering money for the italian mafia? LOL. It’s a can of worms i don’t even have a desire to go into 😉 I read your link, and it was so drawn out and poorly written it gave me a headache… a zygote implanted or not implanted… on and on. I think its always gonna be left to opinion…

          • Roy J August 18, 2015 at 6:26 pm

            Hmmm…well, I guess I disagree with the ‘left to opinion’ bit, but agreed, the link is hardly peer reviewed. Those other two are good examples of problems endemic to every institution known to man, and I agree that everything that can be done to eradicate them should be done…obviously there can never be a final end to reprehensible actions so long as human beings exist, but the intent to reform, followed by determined action, ought always be present. Clerical crimes are crimes like any other, though, and are generally concealed through threats, fear, and violence; as such they take as much fearless detective and policework as any other crime, I should say probably more, and with more discretion. Incidentally though, unsubstantiated accusations of pedophilia have been a stick (without just and reasonable cause) used by governments the world over to beat religious organizations since time immemorial; I found it being described as a routine tactic for accusing and incarcerating clergy as well as laity in the USSR by Solzhenitsyn in his accounts of the Gulag. So, yes, horrible on both counts, but terrible things that have happened in every organization of human beings that existed ever. As to whether the Catholics are worse than others, I suppose I could find somebody, somewhere, who has been counting and keeping track…;)

  • ladybugavenger August 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    The whole planned parenthood name is deceptive, duh! These pregnancies weren’t planned, its Unplanned Parenthood

  • dodgers August 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    For those who support PP, get out your check books and put your money where your mouth is. It should be 100% privately funded. However, too many supporters are unwilling to step up to the plate. They prefer to spend others peoples’ money, and force others to support abortion. Ladybugavenger is right: abortions have nothing to do with planned parenthood.

    • ameliapond88 August 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Spend others money? You mean like how part of the taxes we pay to the government fund welfare and medicaid which a huge amount of single mothers take advantage of? offering options for contraception and things like the plan b pill, and yes ultimately abortions is much lest costly than forcing people into a position where they are sucking on the governmental teat for years.

  • Dexter August 18, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    You nailed this one ED Planned Parenthood was created because of people like REAL LIFE VILLAGE IDIOT.

  • mesaman August 18, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    After two paragraphs Ed I left this site to go on to more rational and constructive sites than your democrat, socialist crap. Have you read the latest issue of National Enquirer?

    • 42214 August 18, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Good one Nolan, you really told him.

    • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm


      • Cuberantcamper September 1, 2015 at 11:39 pm

        The Cap Lock key is on the left side of your key board.

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