Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jonathan Alter postures while complaining about (supposed) posturing by pro-lifers

From Jonathan Alter as reprinted in the C-J...

Do so-called pro-life activists want to posture about abortion or actually reduce the number of aborted fetuses each year? If it's the latter, they should be trying to expand Planned Parenthood, not kill it.

Nice pun, Jonathan! But what does he mean?

It's clear Capitol Hill conservatives now see defunding the organization as a top priority...Last month, the House of Representatives approved the Pence Amendment. The bill, sponsored by Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, would prevent 830 Planned Parenthood health centers from distributing birth control and offering pregnancy tests, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, breast exams, and cancer screening, among other health services, unless the venerable family-planning organization refuses to discuss abortion as an option.

First, kudos to the GOP for finally stepping up on this issue. It's still disappointing that they didn't do this when they controlled the entire government, but better late than never-- and it's on the table now.

Second, if Alter is pro-choice, he should recognize that PP is pro-choice and that includes whether they choose to accept taxpayer money. You'd also think that he'd be happy to give voters a choice on this issue-- should their money go to fund abortions indirectly or not?

Planned Parenthood doesn't explicitly advocate abortion, but can help arrange for one if the woman so chooses.

Uhhh...Now, he gets to the finances of PP; check this out:

There was a time when Planned Parenthood could survive without federal funds. But today, out of an annual budget of about $1 billion a year, about a third of Planned Parenthood's support comes from the government, a third from co-pays and a third from private donations that couldn't possibly make up the difference.

So, if all of the pro-choice people in America contributed $3/year, they could finance all of this and more? C'mon! Quit being so cheap with something so important!

While funding for abortions constitutes only 3 percent of her budget, Richards says there's no discussion inside the organization of jettisoning that portion of the operation in the name of maintaining federal funding. With the $500 cost of an abortion beyond the reach of poor women and with abortion clinics closing all over the country under pressure from anti-abortion activists, Planned Parenthood will stand on principle that women should have the full array of legal choices.

Well, sometimes, we have to stand on some sort of principles, right? I appreciate her tenacity-- but sometimes you have to pay a modest (or even a steep) price for those principles.


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