Mero Moment: The Mormon problem with Planned Parenthood

R: Salt Lake City temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

OPINION – The push to defund Planned Parenthood is not new. As the nation’s largest provider of abortions today, Planned Parenthood has been under attack since eugenicist Margaret Sanger breathed life into it in 1916.

It began as Sanger’s effort at population control. She figured that if “inferior” people could be convinced (or forced) to stop having children, humanity’s future would be bright. This was the beginning of what we, conservatives, refer to as a “culture of death” – a culture in which preventing and ending life is of higher priority than creating and nurturing life.

Planned Parenthood is in the preventing and ending life business. That is its mission. That many of the other services it renders are sought after by women and serve women’s health is not proof of mission. An organization’s mission is about an outcome, not the variety of activities it feels it must undertake to support the mission.

I do not doubt that women’s health is vital and important. Who would doubt that? In fact, thankfully, women’s health is served in a multiplicity of ways by an endless stream of health care providers. Planned Parenthood receives a half a billion tax dollars a year to prevent life. That it provides other services in the name of women’s health is tangential to its mission. This is an important distinction to keep in mind.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood claim that birth control and abortion are part and parcel of women’s health – a reasonable construct even if arguable. But that is not why Planned Parenthood was created. Hence, you can see why there is such a volatile debate surrounding taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. My strong guess is that most of this debate would disappear overnight were its sole purpose simply women’s health.

The muddled justifications and amoral compartmentalizations in support of Planned Parenthood are staggering among people who should know better.

Here in Utah, one woman recently wrote that she is a Mormon who stands with Planned Parenthood and insists that those two things are not a contradiction. According to her blog post on Mormon Press, this woman writes that she is “an active, believing temple recommend holding member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” and “also a board member of the c4 arm of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.”

I beg to differ.

She invokes the idea of former President Bill Clinton that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” But if she truly believes this she would oppose Planned Parenthood. It is in the business of preventing life, especially by means of abortion. That is hardly support for “rare.” But she knows this incongruity. In fact, unlike the words “safe and legal,” she immediately argues that only the term “rare” is not a justifiable basis for government intervention – because, of course, to encourage “rare,” the federal government would defund Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America.

The reason abortion needs to be safe, legal and rare is precisely because abortion prevents a human life, many people would say takes a human life. I realize the writer thinks those three words exist solely in the name of women’s health. But, again, if that were true, there would be no debate over abortion. Surely, this woman’s LDS church does not see abortion simply, or even primarily, in terms of women’s health. The LDS Church believes in exceptions, it is true. But those exceptions define the LDS church’s view that abortion should be avoided when possible, not encouraged when possible.

Lastly, the writer purposely conflates and then separates the terms “moral” and “religious.” She is “morally opposed” to abortion but objects to “religious” opposition to abortion. Faithful Latter-day Saints are smart enough to know that abortion is generally opposed because of its moral ramifications on the individual and society, not as an article of faith.

Oddly, she turns right around and argues for abortion in the name of religious freedom – as if she has defined and is defending the LDS church position. She states, emphatically, “We Mormons ‘believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.’ We Mormons also believe in the importance of agency and freedom.” Surely she does not mean “all men” literally to the exclusion of women. But, somehow, she justifies that Article of Faith to the exclusion of unborn lives – a perfect example of confusing ideology with theology. If she were true to her faith, as she describes it, she would resign her position with Planned Parenthood and oppose its federal funding.

Paul Mero is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews





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  • LocalDad July 28, 2017 at 8:25 am

    The writer, Paul Mero, says he is an authority on who is worthy in the church and who’s not, what job a woman should have if she’s to consider her self worthy and even what is a good valid political opinion for a woman to have. (Read it to the end if you don’t believe me.) Maybe I missed his name during the last Conference, what do I know? I mean I’m LDS and a guy and I also stand by Plan Parenthood and according to Paul Mero’s opinion, that’s all it is, his opinion, “I should know better.” Well I think I do know better: I’ve actually been through the front door of the PP here in town, which I’m sure is more than he can say, it is probably more than anyone who will be blindly angered by my opinion can say.
    Here’s the thing, I believe that having an abortion for convenience is the most repugnant thing a woman can decide to do–I understand the exception as listed in the LDS doctrine handbook, under chastity, and I agree; but I still don’t like it. It does however explain the exceptions clearly and justifies the need of a place like PP whether I like it or not.
    The fact is, Mr. Mero says that PP was founded in 1916, and even then it was a hot target. Well in 1916 abortions would have been, “legally” a non issue if PP was indeed a public entity as Mero claims. Correct me if I’m wrong but it wasn’t until Roe v Wade in the 70s that abortions could be legally preformed in the USA. So we have to face it, I’m not telling anyone it’s a good or bad reason, but THE original reason for this push for pulling funds from PP was because they provided contraception, not abortions!

    • Chris July 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

      “Paul Mero, says he is an authority” Yes, Paul thinks he is an authority on virtually everything, while in reality, he is an expert on absolutely nothing. Having spent his entire adult life as a political hack, never having a real job in the private sector, his complete life experience is worth nothing.

    • LocalTourist July 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Mero is a little fish in a big pond, and occasionally has to fart in order to have the other fish pay attention to him. Like Chris says, he believes he’s an authority.
      So here’s a conundrum for Mero: LDS faithful follow the law of the land, right?
      Okay, Roe v. Wade IS the law of the land, like it or not. So the young woman blogger is totally within her free agency AND her faith to stand with Planned Parenthood.
      Chew on that for a while, Paul.

  • comments July 28, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Blah blah, no one is forcing anyone to get an abortion. That’s the point; it’s a choice, and it should remain that way. If abortions were banned and made extremely difficult to get tomorrow all you “conservatives” would do is whine and cry and pout about all these new “welfare babies” that “your taxes” are all of a sudden having to support. Pure hypocrisy. Stop trying to suck away other’s freedoms.

    • comments July 28, 2017 at 9:38 am

      If abortions were banned *or made extremely difficult to get tomorrow

    • desertgirl July 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

      The majority of abortions would not take place if: women and men practiced birth control, instead there are multitudes of women using abortion as birth control. It is rare to get pregnant if responsibly using one of the various methods of birth control available and even rarer due to rape or incest. And here is the big one: you don’t get a welfare check or food stamps; if you therefore cannot take care of the baby, adopt out (plenty of people want to adopt babies in this country). Believe me, the pregnancy rate will fall as will the obscene abortion rate.

      Interestingly, the progressives and liberals want to be like Europe or Russia, Cuba, just about any country but who we are. The United States is the only country that allows abortion without limitations and willy nilly. Hmmmm They part company when it comes to killing human fetus with the rest of the world.

      • comments July 28, 2017 at 11:49 am

        Birth control stops pregnancies?! Woah, let’s get the word out! Pure genius!

        From what I’ve heard a lot or most of these aborted babies are black or hispanic and not from parents that folks would consider the “cream of the crop”. I actually wonder if all these aborted “babies” could be placed with adoptive parents. Yes, there are many people wanting to adopt, but how many are looking for babies of their own race, and would the particular supply of to-be aborted “babies” fill the current demand. Would be interesting to know.

        • An actual Independent July 29, 2017 at 11:39 am

          Well informed comments seldom start with “from what I’ve heard”.

          • comments July 29, 2017 at 8:05 pm

            Yes, but then we wouldn’t be blessed with your whining

      • Chris July 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        As usual, you don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Craig July 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm

          No, he is not. There are not 1.6 million birth control failures a year. And, the primary reason for abortion is convenience.

          However, the excite is irrelevant; it’s still murder.

      • LocalTourist July 28, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        You may have a point, except the same people trying to prevent Planned Parenthood from operating also prevent teens from accessing birth control. And as far as the abortion rate, it’s been falling…except for a small blip in 2016.
        Someone else pondered the majority of abortions are in minority women… since Utah is predominantly white, I’d dare say it’s white teens seeking abortion. Those would not be necessary if groups like the Seagull Forum would allow for high school kids, well-known to be sexually active, had access to birth control.
        In our circle of roughly 50 friends, I know of 4 teens that got pregnant during high school. All in Utah County, all in extremely conservative families, and two by young men that were preparing to go on their missions.

        • McMurphy July 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm

          Don’t want to go as far as giving high school kids with raging hormones access to birth control ?? How about at least giving them access to sex education and some of the basic facts about the birds and the bees ? The state legislature won’t even go that far.

          • An actual Independent July 29, 2017 at 11:46 am

            Not in the People’s Theocracy of Utah.

    • Craig July 28, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      A valid option might be to ask 1.6 million women a year to exercise some adult responsibility.

      Further, welfare is charity, not an entitlement. It is not the responsibility of hard working people to limit the number of children they have to what they can afford, while paying taxes for welfare moms to have as many. Hildren as they choose.

      If you choose welfare, a part of the agreement is to have the implant medication to prevent pregnancy.

      • LocalTourist July 28, 2017 at 3:11 pm

        Oh please.
        I know of several families that have more kids than they can afford, but due to their religious affiliation they’ve been told they’re blessed with lots of kids. Talk about adult responsibility!

        But you’re forgetting that some of these abortions are being pushed on kids by their embarassed parents… young teens that dont have a mind developed enough to make adult decisions, when their hormones are guiding them to have sex with some person they “think” they’re totally in love with. Often its the boyfriend of the month, and many of these kids have heard stories about methods to prevent pregnancy (have her get out of the back seat and do 50 jumping jacks to prevent conception). So there *should* be shared responsibility for the child, but parents refuse to believe their son could make such a poor decision…the girl MUST have forced him to do the deed.
        No one is saying anything about holding the boys responsible for their part. As soon as we force young males to take responsibility for their actions, THAT will have an effect on the abortion rate as well.

  • theone July 28, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Paul is a lying blemish on society. The first sentence alone in his opinion piece is a big fat lie. PP is not the largest abortion provider.
    I believe that Paul will be sent to his hell according to the doctrine he worships and the lies he spits out.
    Luckily there is no such thing as hell, but he will die a liar none the less.

    • mesaman July 28, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Does this mean you are standing in judgment of Paul’s opinion? Did you read his qualifications following the article? Why did you vote for Hillary?

      • theone July 29, 2017 at 9:01 am

        mesaman, you live in a circle of assumptions. I pointed to the lie Paul espoused. Factual statistics show that PP is responsible for less than 3% of all abortions, of course you won’t believe that because faux news has you by the (—–). That’s not a judgment, it’s a fact. Okay you got me there after reading his qualifications it is clear to me you are mesmerized with his expert opinion because he does a radio show and he started a foundation. LOL dude get a life. So nice of you to automatically assume I voted for Hillary.
        This is why you conservatives will fall in the next decade. Good riddance to you and your Neanderthal politics.

        • mesaman July 29, 2017 at 11:20 am

          No problem in assuming the obvious, your assumptions are equally as dumb as your arrogance. I am not your “dude” bitch.

          • theone July 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm

            Oh there it is, little man syndrome so yeah you’re no bodies dude. LOL twerp

    • ladybugavenger July 29, 2017 at 4:08 am

      I’m curious, who is the largest abortion provider? (I assume you are talking about the good ole US of A)

  • great success July 28, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Paul. No uterus. No opinion.

    • Craig July 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Not true. It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent murder. I’m sorry you seem to think it unfair that women carry the pregnancy. Life is not fair; get over it.

      • LocalTourist July 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm

        I agree with success. Why should old white guys be making the decisions for women? How about you let them decide for themselves?
        You DO believe in free agency and following the law, right?

        End of discussion.

      • great success July 28, 2017 at 4:11 pm

        Everyone’s responsibility as in white, conservative old boys? Who have as much authority on the issue as a bull in the China shop? Duly noted Craig. Duly noted.

  • Craig July 28, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I hope their problem is the same concern I have. Planned Parenthood slaughters babies and some are shredded carefully do the pre-ordered parts are not damaged.

    We can call it what we want. We can spin it as we choose. It’s plain and simple murder, the majority of which stefor the woman’s convenience. (I cannot call them mother’s)

    • comments July 28, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Well not to worry craig, if they had the fetus snipped into pieces and vacuumed out they are technically not mothers, unless of course they had other children already. 1 less thing for you to whine about.

    • LocalTourist July 28, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Speaking of spin, that’s a pretty good spin you’re putting on it yourself… although the spin you’re using is a tired one. You don’t want to provide birth control, you don’t want to allow abortion, and you don’t want to support the child you’re forcing a woman to carry to term.
      I’m not a fan of abortion, but I’m also not a fan of starvation and mistreatment of kids born into forced poverty.

    • jaybird July 29, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Craig, donate your * to science while ur alive. A woman’s conscience isnt her own in ur eyes, so neither should yours be. This is not a man’s argument and when it comes down to “Momma’s baby, Papa’s maybe” only God measures sin, Doofis. PP provides health screenings, pap smears, and lab results for men and women by the way. (Too bad ignorance cant be aborted.)

    • DudePolitic July 30, 2017 at 8:47 am

      The progressive attack on abortion is to make it a women’s issue. That argument is at best rapacious. If the abortion law stated that only female fetuses could be aborted, then the women’s issue argument would have validity. The Court in “Roe v. Wade” made two giant leaps in determining the legality of abortion. The first was that the right to privacy was “implied” in the U.S. Constitution. And secondly that included in a women’s right to privacy was her sole power to end her pregnancy. The Court made this decision because they knew there was no way that the states would get the 3/4 passage necessary for an amendment. The Court exceeded its constitutional authority and infringed on both the Executive and Legislative powers.

      Personally I feel that while it is not implied–and the Court was very smart not to point to the specific phrasing–that there should be a right to privacy. However that right to privacy should not supercede one’s right to life. “great success” acts like those of us without uteruses have no say in the argument. Like those with uteruses have the exclusive decisions on what should be done. Here’s the problem. Once you take voluntary steps to conceive and implant another life in that uterus, that uterus is no longer exclusively yours. You have by your actions “invited” another human being to use that uterus. In the cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s life is put at risk this does not apply. The first two because the actions of the woman were not voluntary and the third being a justifiable cause to end the pregnancy. I believe that Roe v. Wade will someday be overturned, just like other flawed decisions of the past.

      • comments July 30, 2017 at 11:33 am

        And we’re thankful that the extent of your political power on this issue is just whining about it. Maybe you can go out and picket and hold signs with the other loons. Oops, I said loons. Us mean old “libruls” with our “name calling”. What can ya do?

        • DudePolitic July 30, 2017 at 7:17 pm

          There you go saying I am whining again. Trust me, when I am responding there is a definite smile on my face. At least you were somewhat mature in your response this time. Good for you!

  • think4urself July 28, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    ”She invokes the idea of former President Bill Clinton that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” But if she truly believes this she would oppose Planned Parenthood. It is in the business of preventing life, especially by means of abortion.”

    If mormons were truly against abortion they would not allow it under ANY circumstances. But they do. So even they are not truly against it.
    This article is focusing so much on the ‘preventing life’ aspect without acknowledging the 62% of women who choose to take birth control, one to be responsible, two to attain family planning goals and three because they don’t want to be a birthing machine. Believe it or not it’s okay to have sex for pure enjoyment. Sure people should be responsible but ya know the last time I checked we are all humans and being responsible sometimes isn’t high on the priority list. I absolutely stand with planned parenthood and all of their services. Even abortion. It’s the woman’s choice. It’s her body. If she is okay having an abortion frankly it IS NOT anybody else’s business to tell her she can’t.

  • jaybird July 29, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Always like hearing the self righteous musings of religious who should be minding their own sins, especially a male. Who knows who he’s hurting by HIS behavior or mental cruelty.

  • Real Life July 29, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Based on my observations, abortion should be encouraged in Utah on many occasion.

  • commonsense July 29, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Abortion gives a woman a right but takes away the most fundemental right of the unborn child to live.

    Democrats preach love, compassion and freedom of choice unless your are a few hours from being born, then you can be killed legally by a doctor, sucked or scraped out of the womb and disposed of.

    • comments July 29, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      and there he is, the doctor himself.

  • An actual Independent July 29, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Reality intervention: Abortion has always happened. It always will. Birth control should be taught at an early age and be readily available. But when the time comes, safe abortion should also be available.

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