Friday, October 30, 2015

If You Call Yourself a Christian and You Are Against Planned Parenthood, Then You Are a Hypocrite

As an atheist, I really shouldn't say too much about Christ, other than he did exist and he seems to have been a great person. Some of the ideas he taught were revolutionary for his time.  For this he has my respect as an historical figure in the same way that I respect Aristotle and Homer. Cognitive disconnect happens to me when I interact with some people who call themselves Christians but don't don't seem to act at all like Christ. He taught (in Matthew 19:24) that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"and yet, you see millionaire barkers, with thousands of "Christian" followers, on television pontificating for cash. Not very Christ-like! I get the same feeling when I see people who consider themselves Christians bashing Planned Parenthood on social media. 

In 1970, our Republican President, Richard Nixon, signed into a law the Family Planning and Population Research Act which amended the Public Health Service Act. Title X of that law funded Planned Parenthood to provide family planning and contraceptive services. This passed with bi-partisan support. This was back when our Republican Party was actually conservative and assisting in family planning was a good fiscal idea. A good way to keep people off of welfare is to assist them in not being parents until they are ready. President Nixon stated "no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition." Much has changed in American politics. You would be hard pressed to find a Republican who would say anything close to this now.

Even though the Republican Party has been going backwards on this subject, America, in general, has come a long way. When Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn, as a birth control clinic, in 1916, she was thrown in jail for distributing obscene material under the Comstock Act. Contraceptives and literature about birth control was put in the same category as pornography and sex toys. This legal case became nationally famous and the attention it brought to the cause led to changes in legislation in birth control and sex education. Probably the biggest thing it did was lighten us up on a subject that we were so uptight about. We wouldn't even talk about it.

When you hear the term Planned Parenthood, you immediately think of abortion. This is a victory for the right wing in America. This is extremely unfortunate because only 3% of what they do is abortion related. Even though abortion is a legal medical procedure, for over 40 years, some people still have a bug up their ass about it. In 2013, PP provided services to 2.7 million patients most of whom are poor women, 16% of whom are under the age of 20. They had over a million patient cancer related visits, over 4 million visits related to sexually related diseases and over 3 million contraception related visits.

With the Hyde Amendment as of 1976 (only three years after abortions were declared legal nationally), only 97% of what Planned Parenthood does is still federally funded. The 3%, aka the abortions, are not unless they are a result of rape, incest or the health of the mother is threatened. This article in the Washington Post documents it well with some good visuals. About a quarter of their overall funding comes from private funding from such funds as the Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation and Buffett Foundation. The Hyde Amendment was named after Henry Hyde a Republican congressman from Illinois. His name is almost synonymous with hypocrite.  He was one of the congressman who lead the charge to impeach President Clinton for his extramarital affair. During the hearing it was discovered that Hyde also had an affair.

Why is opposing Planned Parenthood hypocrisy if you are a Christian? Because if PP closed, it would hurt the poor the most. If we cut all federal funding to PP, they would still perform abortions because the funds are coming to them from private sources. It is the other services they provide that would be cut: the STD testing and treatment, contraceptive and cancer screening etc. Many of their patients are on Medicaid who service the very poor. A lot of health care providers don't take Medicaid because of the amount of administrative work it requires and the poor reimbursement rates. Planned Parenthood is one of their only options for care. I could be wrong about this, but what I know about Christ, is that he would want to help out the teenage girl, who has no money, with her chlamydia. 

1 comment:

Olga Hebert said...

Amen, if that is not too religious!