There has been a lot of commentary this week about the GOP-led proposal to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Commentators such as Ezra Klein note the irrationality of this stance, since Planned Parenthood itself estimates it prevents more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year, and 220,000 abortions. Why wouldn’t the anti-abortion crowd support this increase in contraception, and subsequent prevention of abortions?
What’s missing in this rationale is that many on the far right perceive most forms of contraception *as being equivalent to abortion.* So by their logic, Planned Parenthood isn’t “preventing” these abortions–it’s just doing them another way, via the Pill, IUDs, etc. instead of drug-induced or surgical abortions. To many who view the world this way, Planned Parenthood *is* using tax dollars to fund abortions, because they’re using tax dollars to help provide patients with oral contraceptives and other means of birth control. After all, while the Pill mainly works to prevent ovulation in the first place, there is some evidence that a secondary action may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. If you’re of the mindset that a fertilized ovum is the equivalent of a “person”, then it becomes outrageous to allow the prescription of a product that will “kill” that egg, and it becomes more reasonable to protest organizations like PP which provide women access to such medications (or, public schools which educate our children about such alternatives–hence their opposition to comprehensive sex education as well).
Do I agree with this position? Hell no, but I think it’s necessary to understand and acknowledge it–and as such, to see why articles like Klein’s above (and many others which I’ve seen appear in the past week or so) only serve to stoke the fires for those on the extreme right, rather than making them jump on the PP bandwagon.