2.10.2010

I Get Emails

This landed in my inbox today, courtesy of my very, very, very Republican social-conservative father:

Pop quiz: What billion-dollar multinational receives hundreds of millions in tax dollars even though it is enormously profitable?

If your thoughts turned to defense contractors, you would be right about the purpose --

killing --

but wrong about the recipient.

The answer, in fact, is Planned Parenthood.

According to its most recent annual report, in fiscal 2008, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation's largest abortion provider, had annual revenue of more than $1 billion. Of this, about 34 percent was made up of government grants. In other words, almost $350 million of American taxpayer dollars supported the work of Planned Parenthood from October 2007 to September 2008. And, according to tax records from the same time period, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization had a net income $85 million greater than its expenses. That looks suspiciously like a profit....

The enterprise of abortion in America is big business. It turns a profit, and for the American taxpayer, the bailout of a financial behemoth -- one engaged in an activity most Americans find troubling -- is obviously unnecessary.


Normally, when I get my father's conservative e-blasts, I just sigh and delete them. But this one was just way too wrong to let slide like that. So I, being the troublemaker I am, hit the reply-all button and said:

"First and most obvious wrongity-wrong-mcwrong: The idea that Planned Parenthood = ABORTIONS! Planned Parenthood actually provides a full range of family planning and reproductive health services. They provide free condoms, free or sliding-scale birth control - in the forms of the Pill, the patch, the ring, diaphragms, IUDs, and the female condom, to name a few - yearly pelvic exams, STD testing, pregnancy testing, and early prenatal checkups. These services actually comprise the bulk of PP's operating, with abortion being a minority of the appointments made. Additionally, the name Planned Parenthood does not automatically mean a clinic which provides abortions. *Some* PP locations also provide abortions, but not all. This conflating of Planned Parenthood and abortion is one of the most pernicious lies of the far-right when it comes to the abortion debate. It erases, covers up, and tries to distract from all the other services Planned Parenthood provides. Which I've always thought was strange...I mean, I'm sure if one is genuinely looking to decrease abortion rates, any place that provides free or low-cost birth control to low-income women deserves support in its mission, rather than lies and opposition, right?

Second wrongity-wrong-mcwrong: The taxpayer dollars that Planned Parenthood receives cannot legally go toward abortion services anyway, making this email one big FAIL of fearmongering about something that can't happen anyway. The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, barred federal dollars from being used to pay for abortion care in any way. The money the government grants to PP goes instead toward providing other reproductive health services, such as the aforementioned birth control and STD testing.

On to the smaller side-note issues. I'd like to question the assumption that abortion is "an activity most Americans find troubling". Got a source on that? Poll data (from a RELIABLE organization, not a rightwing or anti-choice organization)? Anything to support the assertion that "most Americans" find abortion "troubling"? Because me, and my pro-choice friends, we're Americans, too, and I'm not so hot on being spoken for like that without data to back the assertion.

And lastly, for conservatives being all about the free market and free enterprise and pro-business and pro-profit, y'all make a SCREECHINGLY fast 180 when it comes to certain businesses. Making a profit is fine if you make it by selling people stuff they don't need, scamming the gullible, exploiting your workers, and ignoring environmental concerns...but gods help you if you make your profit by providing services *certain people* have issues with. Then profit is THE DEVIL OMG EVILNESS. Can has consistency, please? Is profit an acceptable thing, or is it not? Or is it an acceptable thing when conservatives do it and evidence of immorality and wrongdoing when progressives do it?

If you're truly pro-life, and not just anti-choice, support Planned Parenthood. Because their pregnancy-prevention efforts save a lot more hypothetical babies than any anti-choice moralizing ever could."

...I probably won't change his mind. I don't know about the minds of anyone else on the email list I sent this back to. But...teaspoons.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The artical was written by --Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council as it is signed at the bottom. Assuming you got that far.

And to be sure, the family research council could most likely be categorized as a "far-right" organization just as you could be considered "far-left" for many of your views.

But I wouldn't send it around if I didn't agree with the sentiment. Being a "right-winger" in my own right.

And that sentiment being,

Why are "we" the tax paying public continuing to pump something in the neighborhood of 350 million into a company that provides abortion?

And you can't say that PP doesn't provide abortions.

You yourself say that the Hyde amendment prohibits the use of federal dollars for abortion.

Does PP provide other worthwhile and necessary services? Of course, this article does not suggest otherwise. It is in no way attacking PP on that point.

And if your going to try to say they "only use the tax dollars on other things" you show a little bit of naivety with regard to how company's work. Just like ACORN does with their books. Moving monies around so they can make "donations" to political campaigns with federal grant money and claim that they use none of their federal money for that purpose. Or unions play games with their books so they can use the dues paid by their members for political purposes.

The article asserts that for a "non-profit" company to have an income of 85 million over expenses kinda takes away that "non-profit" label does it not? And thus should lose it's 501(c)(3) status. And the benefits that brings.

As it says "The enterprise of abortion in America is big business. It turns a profit, and for the American taxpayer, the bailout of a financial behemoth -- one engaged in an activity most Americans find troubling -- is obviously unnecessary." If PP wants to make money providing abortions services "we the people" should not be required fund it.
See comment #2

Anonymous said...

#2
I know you sincerely believe that the statement that most Americans find abortion troubling is far fetched, but I would send the challenge right back at you and say prove that that is NOT the case.

You say "Got a source on that? Poll data (from a RELIABLE organization, not a rightwing or anti-choice organization)? Anything to support the assertion that "most Americans" find abortion "troubling"?"

Obviously this is one woman's opinion wouldn't you say. And as is your assertion that that is NOT the case how about we turn it around and ask...

Got a source on that? Poll data (from a RELIABLE organization, not a left-wing or pro-choice organization)? Anything to support the assertion that "most Americans" don't find abortion "troubling"?

Works both ways, and until either side can "prove" otherwise both sides are entitled to their opinions.

And last but not least.

Your last paragraph regarding free market and free enterprise and pro-business and pro-profit is WAY off base. Yes "conservatives" are all about that, free market and free enterprise etc. And whether you admit it or not most "liberals" are into making a profit as well don't you think?
Unless you think all liberals only work for "non-profits"
But I fail to see any 180.
Nobody said PP couldn't make a profit, EXCEPT, that it is supposed to be a NON-PROFIT organization, with all the tax breaks any "normal" company would not get. Not to mention the grants and free money pumped into them. And therefor should NOT make a profit.

Sorry your argument doesn't hold water. Saying "gods help you if you make your profit by providing services *certain people* have issues with" is silly. Plenty of people on both sides take "issue" with things other people make a profit at. Last I heard you kinda hated the big bad oil companies or how about those evil gun makers... NOWHERE in this article did ANYBODY say anything about not making a profit. Or profit being evil.
IF IT IS A FOR PROFIT COMPANY.

And I'll be happy to support PP as soon as they stop killing babies...

Anonymous said...

Planned Parenthood has never killed babies, idiot. PP is not the ones gunning down respected doctors while they attend church. Nor are they the ones blowing women to smithereens for the super-evil crime of getting a pap smear or an IUD. It's pretty obvious who the violent killers are here. Call yourselves "pro life" all you like, it doesn't make any difference.

WitchWords said...

Hello, Papa. I see that emailing me your response wasn't enough. For the record, it's considered bad commenting manners to leave comments so long they could be blog posts in their own right, and need broken up into two comments to get it all in. If you want to do that, get your own blog and post there.

I'll respond to the rest of this privately. But I want to leave you, and anyone else who reads this, something to think on. Here's a quote from a piece written by an actual Planned Parenthood employee:

Planned Parenthood focuses on ensuring that low-income and uninsured people have access to basic and reproductive health care. Our patients report that six out of 10 would go without medical care if they did not frequent our centers. Considering that less than 2 percent of our total services are abortion care, the vast bulk of our work is providing basic health care to those in need.

Next time you want to flip out about OMG PLANNED PARENTHOOD KILLS BAYBEEZ!, remember those numbers. 60% would go without care if not for PP, and abortion is less than 2 fucking percent of what they do. Go ahead. Oppose sending federal aid funds to help low-income people get health care, just because you have a grudge against the organization providing the care. All it does is make you look heartless, and show us the true "compassion" of anti-choice conservatives: save the unborn babies! Once you're on the other side of the birth canal, though, you're on your own.

Ken said...

Hey fair is fair Kid. You post my forward and rant about it but don't post my reply? How about a little "perspective" or "dialog?
Guess I just have "bad manners" when it comes to blogging. But isn't blogging supposed to be a form of dialog? Or is it just a place to rant?

And pardon me, but while 2% is not a large part of what PP does it none the less IS PART of what they do. So tell them to knock off the 2% and we're all good.

For my part I support NO cause that kills babys. Hey why don't we just cut to the chase and go to the hospital nurseries and just start poping em in the head. No worries we won't do more than 2%.

And just for the record I do not, nor ever have, condonde killing abortion doctors or anyone else for that matter. I DO, however, condon NOT funding abortion with MY tax dollar. You want to kill babies do it on your own nickle.

You think caring about the unborn is Heartless?... funny....

Maverynthia said...

I think the main thing here is that you father is MALE and CANNOT get what Planned Parenthood means to women, so he in himself is oppressing women.

Honestly I think men need to STFU about women's health issues. They can't have babies so honestly, it doesn't concern them. I don't want to hear about father's rights either, it isn't their body, their egg, their uterus.

Also, it's NOT A BABY. Then again those people that spout that kind of rhetoric don't believe in science and only believe in make-believe really. They love to thump their little MAN CREATED book and think it's some holy writ made by some invisible guy in the sky.

Honestly I think more money should go towards abortions. Maybe then I can stop hearing about the sob stories of kid being beaten to death in foster homes, or being beaten by the mothers and fathers that didn't want them in the first place.

potsherds said...

Wow. My dad once acted like yours, Witch Words. My condolences. Who needs sexist and/or patronizing partners, 'friends', doctors, and employers, when you've got a father like that, yaknow?


-a lurker of feminist and progressive blogs, come this way via Shakesville

WitchWords said...

@Maverynthia - Amen, so to speak. ;-) But seriously, yes, particularly about children in abusive situations. Unwanted pregnancies, when the parents have no choice but to keep them, can turn into unwanted children, who are then more susceptible to both physical and emotional abuse, even if only in the form of knowing that they are unwanted and that their mother or father does not love them. Birth does not magically resolve the "I do not want this" feeling. Giving birth does not automatically make a person love the child. Every Child A Wanted Child, as the saying goes, and if birth control were free, 100% accessible, the population was 100% educated about it, and it was 100% effective, then there would be no need for abortion. Until then, HANDS OFF, particularly men who know not of what they speak.

@potsherds - Thanks. It can really strain things when a member of one's own family is willing to accuse one of killing one's baby to one's own face, y'know? Also, welcome to the blog, hope you'll stick around, whether lurking or commenting, all are welcome!

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