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 --
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.