Monday, February 1, 2010

Planned Parenthood Is The Wrong Target

A local politician, former county councilwoman, current chairperson of the Republican Party's anti-abortion committee, and prominent member of a Catholic parish is promoting a weekly protest march against Planned Parenthood. She says she is "pro life" – but in my opinion that is an inaccurate and meaningless statement. I don't know many people who are not in favor of life, but of course that is not really her position. Her statements establish that she is actually anti-abortion, anti-family planning, anti-birth control, anti-contraceptive, anti-family planning, and anti-sex education, the very programs that are necessary to increase the quality of life for our communities, reduce unwanted pregnancies and ultimately reduce the need for many prospective abortions. Planned Parenthood is the wrong target. They promote family planning and sex education and ultimately reduce the need for abortion as a response to unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.

I find it curious that those who say they are pro-life are not consistent in that regard. If they were really pro-life they would oppose the death penalty [because the innocent are condemned more often than most realize, oppose war [because the innocent are often collateral damage], oppose manufacturers who poison our environment, etc.

Anti-abortion folks have a right to their views, and they have a right to try to convince women to keep fetuses rather than abort them. They also have the duty, having taken that position, to provide the means for taking care of the unwanted children that would otherwise be aborted [although that raises another problem, over population].

Instead of protesting abortion and trying to eliminate abortion rights, the anti-abortion folks, who are largely associated with fundamentalist Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, would do well to create and sponsor orphanages adjoining their churches and then say to women who are pregnant, we will give you an option, we will take your baby, we will take care of your maternity health needs, we will pay the expense of delivery, we will take the baby once it is born and raise it through childhood, we will not come after the father for child support, and we will not burden the community with the unwanted child or its expense. Then they might be taken seriously. That might eliminate the need for some but clearly not all abortions.

But these anti-abortion folks, who have a religious based viewpoint, should not seek to convert their religious views into legal prohibitions. Many of us are not convinced by their religious views and the supporters of abortion rights should not be infringed upon by religious zealots.

Many Christians do not believe that abortion should be outlawed and they support the abortion rights of women. Anti-abortionists must respect the rights of those who disagree with them. Freedom and democracy require it.

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