Montana Politics

An Entirely Immodest Proposal About Abortion

I have to admit something – I’ve taken to reading The Federalist (no, not the papers – they are a much higher caliber of political writing that I’d proudly recommend) on a semi-regular basis, for a couple reasons. First, I feel I should at least give the other side a fair shake, so I toggle between Mother Jones, Paul Krugman, and The Federalist with some regularity. Second, because they frequently outline well-reasoned conservative arguments for apparently liberal causes, like opposing racist immigration restrictions or reducing police brutality. But I also read for the occasional gem like this:

“If Democrats in Congress agreed to defund Planned Parenthood in exchange for quadrupling the amount of federal dollars spent on health care for women, the pro-life members of Congress would leap to take that deal.”

It’s a gem, a beautiful hypothetical diamond in the rought of a fairly straightforward wrong-headed defund Planned Parenthood piece, for a couple of reasons, the first sarcastic, the other not. First, in my opinion, it reveals an enormous naivete. Yes, that’s what you would expect pro-life members of Congress to do. But pro-life congresspersons are far more pro-bank than they are pro-baby, and I doubt they would actually ‘leap’ at such an opportunity. But I also think it’s a gem because if it was actually attempted on even a small scale, quadrupling only the money going to Planned Parenthood, the fallout would be truly enlightening, because of the conundrum it would create for both parties.

The moral cost to Republicans would be clear: They are supposed to be pro-life, and to believe that zygotes are humans and that Planned Parenthood is complicit in 300,000 murders annually. Quadrupling the money that goes to Planned Parenthood would cost only $2 billion – surely a great price for saving, or at least seeking justice for, 300,000 lives. But the whole idea would be anathema to so many of them, with their TEA Party beliefs about the deficit, that I can’t imagine it going through (indeed, if it did, it would dramatically increase my respect for the Republican Party).

The conundrum for Democrats, however, would be no less difficult: two of their key pro-Planned Parenthood claims are that they are defending women’s health, and that due to the Hyde Ammendment, Federal money doesn’t subsidize abortions, anyway. Two billion dollars spent on women’s health would inarguably do more for women than a quarter that ammount going to Planned Parenthood. And if current Planned Parenthood funding is not subsidizing abortion, then it shouldn’t restrict women’s access to choice to cut off their funding – merely diminish their other services (a shortfall that would be compensated easily by two billion dollars worth of new clinics). But I still don’t think Democrats would go for it, because it would weaken (and enrage) an institution that is key to Democratic election hopes, providing dedicatd volunteers and millions in spending on Democratic candidates.

In other words, proposing such a bill would hurt both parties, so I doubt either side would do it. But if someone could make that debate happen, it would be a net win for America. Either one or both of the parties would flinch, providing a useful instruction in civics and hopefully reduce abortion/contraception as a wedge issue (since people would see that their parties are not as dedicated to it as they thought), or they would not flinch, in which case the US would get an overall better policy (at the expense of a venerable institution, but the furtherment of the public good over well-connected institutions is a rare feat in Democracy, much to be wished for), and the abortion debate, no longer involving the tax dollars of abortion opponents even tangentially, would likely lose much of its rancor.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • Here are the top 5 health risks for women:
    1. Heart disease.
    2. Breast Cancer.
    3. Osteoporosis.
    4. Depression.
    5. Autoimmune system.

    Here is Planned Parenthood’s standard spiel about their services:
    “More than one in five American women have relied upon our services at some point. More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood health care is preventive, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information.”

    The only correlation between the first list and P.P.’s blurb is “cancer screenings”. The other top 4 concerns are not mentioned.

    Since there is only one of the top 5 concerns on P.P.’s list of services it should follow that they are a major player in the detection and treatment of that particular concern.
    Q: How many of the 8,735 licensed mammogram facilities in America are owned, staffed, and operated by Planned Parenthood?
    A: Zero.

    How many heart specialists, oncologists, bone doctors, psychiatrists, and immunologists does P.P. employ? The answer will likely be the same… zero.

    So, defunding P.P. will not impact care of women with respect to heart problems, breast cancer, osteoporosis, depression, or autoimmune problems.

    What defunding P.P. will impact is promiscuity and abortion.


    Comment posted at

    • You are apparently completely unaware of how our healthcare system works. Planned Parenthood is a primary care provider, much the same way your average family doctor is. Your average family doctor does not own a mammography facility either, nor do they practice cardiology, cancer specialties, immunology specialties, or any of those other specialty care choices. What a primary care doctor does is screen for those issues, and then recommend and/or refer their patients to other treating facilities or providers – which is what PP does. PP also provides the funding in many cases that follows their patients to obtain that care. They don’t own a mammography center as you stated – but they do often pay for the mammogram provided by the other provider.

      One mistake you made in your list – the PP list included Breast Health. What exactly do you think that meant? Well, it does include breast cancer in case you didn’t realize that.

      And referrals for all the other “four” major conditions are commonly made by one’s primary care physician (or required!) before those services can be initiated by the specialist – and since PP is a primary care physician, that is exactly what they do. Provide primary care – in other words – they act according to their appropriate role in the medical care model we use.

      So get a grip. You are talking about apples and baseballs here. Not even in the same universe.

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