In Defense of Planned Parenthood

Once a mouth I receive, in my mailbox, the Times-Advocate. It purports itself to be a descendent of the old Escondido Times Advocate, that so many of us fondly remember. Not. The old Times Advocate was conservative, but the new one is Tea Party, but they do have some informative articles, so I usually peruse it. I don’t know why, as I usually am not very interested in articles under the category “Faith”, but my interest was pricked by the caption “So I was thinking…’Cravings vs. Convictions’” by Phyllis Knight. Her article was about a love affair with ice cream. Now, that’s something I can definitely relate to. So, I read on. I got angry. I wrote a response, which is highly unlikely to ever be printed in the new Times Advocate. I wanted to put a link to Knight’s article, but when I went to the new Times Advocate’s website, there was no reference to her article. But you can read it at: http://valleycenterhappenings.com/17577/137253/a/so-i-was-thinkingcravings-vs-convictions.

Here is my response to the editor.

I respect Phyllis Knight’s right to boycott Ben and Jerry’s. I do the same to Chick fil A, as I think all churches should dump the ban against homosexuality in the same bin that they dumped the ban against eating shellfish or touching the skin of a dead pig, since it is just as anachronistically inane. I do the same with Hobby Lobby for their stand on providing insurance coverage for birth control. However some of Knight’s comments were so offensive and ridiculous I felt I must respond.

She said she had “found out they were intimately involved in another relationship with an organization that I consider evil and that preys on women and unborn babies.” She was, of course, referring to Planned Parenthood, although I think Ben and Jerry’s would be surprised to hear that their support for Planned Parenthood was an intimate relationship.

“Preys on women”? “Evil?” Worldwide, in 2012 Planned Parenthood provided STI/STD testing and treatment to 4.5 million patients (men and women). They provided contraception to 3.7 million. They provided cancer screening and prevention to 1.1 million. And, yes, 327,166 abortion procedures (less than 3% of their services–and none with federal funding.) [1]

Does Knight really want to return to the days when entire hospital wards were devoted to women who suffered botched abortions? Defunding Planned Parenthood will increase the number of abortions because it will decrease the availability of contraception. Abortion is illegal in Brazil, and Brazil has a much higher per capita abortion rate than the USA. The USA has a much higher abortion rate than Western Europe, where abortion is much more accessible. Making abortion illegal again won’t lower the rate of abortion, but it will punish women for having sex—perhaps that’s the real goal of the anti-choice movement.

Knight also accused the corporation (now owned by Unilever) as “discriminating against people of faith by purposefully not supporting organizations with religious affiliations…” Huh? So, unless I give money to the ASPCA I’m discriminating against strays? Unless I give money to Meals on Wheels, I’m discriminating against indigent seniors? She then quotes scripture that lumps agnostics like me with idol worshipers. Just because I do not subscribe to any of the currently popular patriarchal mythologies does not mean I am a wicked or evil person. Ninety-three percent of the members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences are also non-believers. [2]

Article 11 of the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, states “…the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…”[3] Knight is free to practice her faith in any way she likes—as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, including the right to a safe abortion.

[1] http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/4013/9611/7243/Planned_Parenthood_Services.pdf

[2] http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/sci_relig.htm

[3] http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/bar1796t.asp

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