Demolishing the demagoguery on Wisconsin Planned Parenthood shutdowns
The news that Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is closing four locations isn’t sitting well with the state’s leftists. And Capital Times editor emeritus Dave Zweifel is taking it especially badly. In his Monday “Plain Talk” piece, he thundered that pro-lifers’ jubilant reaction demonstrates how “heartless” we are.
Zweifel begins by lamenting that Wisconsin Right to Life executive director Barbara Lyons no longer meets with his editorial board to discuss pro-life legislative goals, speculating that “maybe visits to editorial boards like ours were no longer necessary” since “her favorite party had gained complete control of the state Capitol.” Because it’s a real stumper as to why someone you still label heartless after years of her proactively trying to explain her views to you might sour on conversation.
The decision to close the clinics in Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls and Shawano was made because the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker cut a million dollars in funding for women’s health care services last year. Those services were provided to low-income patients by Planned Parenthood at those clinics — cancer screening, breast exams, pregnancy tests, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and birth control counseling. None of them conducted abortions, nor was any state money ever used to pay for abortions anywhere in the Planned Parenthood network.
No, they just help people find where they can have their babies killed. That’s totally different! Zweifel also neglects to mention PPWI’s history of sexual abuse reporting deriliction, disseminating fraudulent medical “information,” Planned Parenthood’s outrageous notions of sex education, or, as Lyons notes, the fact that PPWI listed no adoption referrals or prenatal care recipients in 2010. Are taxpayers and lawmakers allowed to notice such things when deciding where Wisconsinites’ money should go?
Apparently not when there are poor people to brandish as political props. The alleged denial of the aforementioned non-controversial services automatically means that “the health of these women doesn’t bother the zealots at Wisconsin Right to Life.” The affair, Zweifel sneers, “prov[es] once again how unconcerned these right-to-lifers are for all too many lives.”
Even the lost money is just a small slice of the $18 million PPWI received from federal and state sources in 2010. If they’re such a vital, beloved institution, you’d think they’d have enough voluntary support that they could get by without warring over every last scrap of public money.
Further, Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling points out:
The truth is that Planned Parenthood is not the only provider of such screenings and reproductive health care in these communities—not even for low-income women. Don’t believe the lie that these women have no alternatives. It’s just not true.
It’s especially not true when you remember that the counties by law had to dispense the money from the state for these services—they just couldn’t distribute it to organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Someone in those four communities got the money and is making the services available.
The health funds will still make their way to Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls, and Shawano; what to do with them and how to care for women in need has simply been handed down to the level where it belongs anyway: the community.
Also worth noting are the efforts of Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin to help women find unplanned pregnancy support, organize volunteers for pregnancy help centers, and raise money for them, such as the screening of October Baby WRTL held earlier this month with Pregnancy Helpline to benefit Madison’s Sharing Center.
Lastly, it can’t be reiterated enough that Planned Parenthood is controversial not because of its favorite color. Their business is killing babies. That is what the Dave Zweifels of the world want us to give our money to. Even setting aside direct subsidizing of abortion and Planned Parenthood’s shell games about which money goes where, this reflects the monstrous values and character of the organization. It is simply unconscionable to ask any American to associate him- or herself with such evil or take the spokespeople of Planned Parenthood at their word about how taxpayers’ money will be used.
To illustrate, let’s close with a thought experiment. Imagine that the Ku Klux Klan started providing breast cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, etc. Let’s stipulate that they proved, to everyone’s satisfaction, that none of the money they received for such services was going to their racist activities. Regardless of how much good KlanKare did, would anyone expect us to surrender our tax dollars to them? Would even the most dogmatic feminist oppose conscientious Americans’ insistence on our money going elsewhere?
The point is not to equate Planned Parenthood with the KKK, but merely to use an example whose moral odiousness is agreed upon by both sides. If you would respect our rights to not support an evil organization, and you’re intellectually honest enough to see why we consider Planned Parenthood’s bloody handiwork evil, then you can’t in good conscience demean our principles as “heartless” or falsely accuse us of simply not caring about women’s health. That conversation, Mr. Zweifel, would be real plain talk.