Thursday, July 21, 2011

Planned Parenthood

Ann Druyan & Carl Sagan

Margaret Sanger

"The simple truth is that there is no rational way to conclude that these alleged pro-life forces are, in fact, pro-life as it is difficult to fathom how one can desire to protect the life of the unborn by sacrificing the life of the already born. If you believe in protecting the unborn, does it not necessarily follow that you are equally as concerned about protecting the lives of those already here in the flesh?
What I can work out is how pro-life politicians are, in reality, ‘pro’ their political careers and are more than willing to sacrifice the lives of the poor who rely on the services of Planned Parenthood to burnish their anti-abortion credentials."

Rick Ungar, Attorney & consultant on health care policy and politics

"There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.
And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect."

Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Science Authors... Among Other Things

“I am really stunned. And I am angry as a woman that we have come to this after weeks of negotiating on numbers… that there are those in the Republican party in the House who are willing to shutdown the government, take people’s paychecks away from them because they want to deny women access to health care in this country,” Murray told reporters. “Every woman and every man in this country ought to be saying, ‘What are you doing?’”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

What Mr. Ungar and Senator Murray are talking about was a Republican attempt to defund reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood last February in a 240 - 185 (with 10 Democrats voting for the measure) vote. The measure was defeated in the Senate.
I suspect that Planned Parenthood has become a target for the Republicans due to the fact that they do provide abortion services (which accounts for approximately 3% of the services they provide). But federal law prohibits any federal funds being used to provide that particular service. So what's the problem?
It wasn't always this way. According to Dr. Sagan's and Ms. Druyan's brief history of abortion practices in the United States, from colonial times to the nineteenth century it was a woman's choice until they could first feel the baby move within her (quickening).
[An abortion in the first and even second trimester was at worst a misdemeanor. Convictions were rarely sought and almost impossible to obtain, because they depended entirely on the woman's own testimony of whether she had felt quickening, and because of the jury's distaste for prosecuting a woman for exercising her right to choose. In 1800 there was not, so far as is known, a single statute in the United States concerning abortion. Advertisements for drugs to induce abortion could be found in virtually every newspaper and even in many church publications--although the language used was suitably euphemistic, if widely understood.
But by 1900, abortion had been banned at any time in pregnancy by every state in the Union, except when necessary to save the woman's life. What happened to bring about so striking a reversal? Religion had little to do with it. Drastic economic and social conversions were turning this country from an agrarian to an urban-industrial society. America was in the process of changing from having one of the highest birthrates in the world to one of the lowest. Abortion certainly played a role and stimulated forces to suppress it.
One of the most significant of these forces was the medical profession. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, medicine was an uncertified, unsupervised business. Anyone could hang up a shingle and call himself (or herself) a doctor. With the rise of a new, university-educated medical elite, anxious to enhance the status and influence of physicians, the American Medical Association was formed. In its first decade, the AMA began lobbying against abortions performed by anyone except licensed physicians. New knowledge of embryology, the physicians said, had shown the fetus to be human even before quickening.
Their assault on abortion was motivated not by concern for the health of the woman but, they claimed, for the welfare of the fetus. You had to be a physician to know when abortion was morally justified, because the question depended on scientific and medical facts understood only by physicians. At the same time, women were effectively excluded from the medical schools, where such arcane knowledge could be acquired. So, as things worked out, women had almost nothing to say about terminating their own pregnancies. It was also up to the physician to decide if the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman, and it was entirely at his discretion to determine what was and was not a threat. For the rich woman, the threat might be a threat to her emotional tranquillity or even to her lifestyle. The poor woman was often forced to resort to the back alley or the coat hanger.
This was the law until the 1960s, when a coalition of individuals and organizations, the AMA now among them, sought to overturn it and to reinstate the more traditional values that were to be embodied in Roe v. Wade.]

To be sure, the abortion issue currently in this country is exceptionally contentious. People on both sides of the issue feel passionately about their positions, and are quite willing to take actions that they would otherwise never consider on other issues.
Accordingly, I invite you dear readers to read one of the most well thought out and reasoned considerations of this issue by Dr. Sagan and Ms. Druyan, “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

It is my contention however, that the issue of abortion, as well as gay marriage, abstinence training, illegal immigration, creationism, religion in general, family values, anti-Islamism, and now spending in the federal government, and a host of other issues that some people have passionate feelings about, are used as tool to enlist, control, and use constituents by the Republican Party in order to mask their real agenda which is to plunder the middle class of this country (including those very constituents they are using) and transfer that wealth to the richest among us.
Nowhere is that more apparent then the Republican assault on the health provider Planned Parenthood. If no federal funds are allowed to be used for abortion services, this assault cannot be explained other than to create a distraction from what they're really up to.
This is Planned Parenthood:
Birth control advocate, Margaret Sanger, opened the first US birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York in 1916, which earned her some jail time. In 1938 she organized the American Birth Control League which was the only national birth control organization in the U.S. until the 1960s. By 1941 the League was operating 222 centers, and serving 49,000 patients. The next year the League became part of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which itself became a founding member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which aimed to promote sexual and reproductive health training and education globally.
Following Sanger, Alan Guttmacher, an American obstetrician/gynecologist became president in 1962 (Sanger was 82 at the time, and would pass away four years later). During his tenure, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of the original birth control pill, allowing women a new avenue toward reproductive freedom. Planned Parenthood convinced the federal government to fund domestic and international family planning programs. In 1978, Faye Wattleton was named president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. During her term, Planned Parenthood grew to become the seventh largest charity in the country, providing services to four million clients each year through its 170 affiliates whose activities were spread across the 50 states.
Gloria Feldt took the helm for ten years from 1996 to 2006, and originated the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the organization's political action committee. She also began a nationwide campaign to increase services to prevent unwanted pregnancies, improve quality of reproductive care and ensure access to safe and legal abortions. Cecile Richards is the current president, and oversees 820 health centers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, serving over five million clients a year, 26% of which are teenagers under the age of 19. Planned Parenthood is the leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider in the United States.
This non-profit organization helps lower the need for abortions by providing contraception services (35% of services provided), testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and diseases (34%), cancer testing and screening (17%), other women's health procedures, including pregnancy, prenatal, midlife, and infertility (11%), and that 3% of abortion services.
Or is it actually 90%, as the Senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl, of course a Republican, would suggest:
Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood is tantamount to furthering the right's war on women. They would subject women to forced pregnancies and servitude rather than provide legitimate medical services that are not only good for the patients, but the communities they live in, and the country as a whole.
Republicans just don't care though. Their ideology must be served before reality, just as in the debt ceiling debate. These "people" are classic sociopaths, and do not care how much pain and suffering they cause others, in fact they seem to look forward to it. It's kind of like having The Dark Knight's Joker in charge of things.
In September of 2009 we discussed the community organization Acorn:
By March of 2010 Acorn announced it was disbanding and closing the offices of it's affiliates due to lack of funds, brought about a successful smear campaign by the Republicans. On November 2, 2010, ACORN filed for Chapter 7 liquidation, effectively closing the organization.
That is nothing but a crying shame.
We must fight the Republican's war on women, and not allow Planned Parenthood the same fate.

No comments:

Post a Comment