Planned Parenthood | Fine Lines | Rights and Poverty
AwN | Real issues are never simple. Yet time and time again I come across people who think that they are. I don't easily form a definite opinion of something and then go to war with everyone who disagrees, but that does seem to me to be the status quo. I also don't like blogging about controversial issues, so I will try to be objective and short. I was ridiculed today for asking a question about Planned Parenthood and yet again I find that the common form of debate on social media, in the modern era, or by humans in general is to simply hate the other side, and slam everything they say without any real thought.
Time and time again I find myself being called a liberal by conservatives and a conservative by liberals, and I am not even really playing devils advocate. Instead I am simply a person who usually sees both sides to an issue. If I offer an example or ask a question there are a great many people on the internet who see it as time to the attack the speaker. It seems as if there must be WANTED posters all over the internet for people who aren't easily herded to one side or the other, DEAD or ALIVE.
Anyway I thought I would make a short post about Planned Parenthood. It seems to me that there are a couple issues going around right now. Mainly though it has been the blown out of proportion but as far as I can tell, real, exchange of fetal tissue, body parts, or fetuses whatever it may be exactly, for cash. Now proponents seem to think that since Planned Parenthood (PP) is not for profit, that the 'sale of fetal tissue' is an incorrect assessment. Technically accurate this is not the primary point made by opponents. Realistic opponents to this exchange are not angry about whether or not a Non-Profit like PP is turning a profit on fetal tissue, but whether or not it is happening at all.
A Surrogate Argument for Abortion
Opponents to PP are almost categorically against abortion, and in many ways this debate has become a surrogate issue for the abortion debate. Now we all know the abortion arguments, but basically there are those who see abortion as murder and those who do not. Modern public sentiment allows for abortion, and if you ask me it seems that abortion is a natural albeit naturally uncommon (except in humans) thing. There are plants that will cause abortion and there is little doubt in my mind that animals have and will again use them. How regularly I don't really have any idea. The practicality of the abortion question comes down to whether or not any ban will have an effect of reducing abortions (but in general banning it has only endangered women). Much like prohibition of alcohol has created violent crime etc in the past and the drug war does now. When abortion is taken away women will find a way to do it anyway, and maim or kill themselves commonly in the process.
On the flip side to those who understand the danger and futility of banning abortion there are those who believe it is murder. They don't see it as any different from rounding up and euthanizing hobos. In fact most see fetuses as babies and babies as having more potential than your average hobo. These people can't fathom why it would be made legal to round up hoboes or fetuses for the purpose of extermination. Again, I am not taking sides, I see both sides, I am just explaining the fine lines here. One makes one human ok to murder and not another? The argument of medical safety of mother is much more uncommon than simple unwanted pregnancy.
So getting back to the current issue we have PP which has been given the right by the US courts to do abortions, and they also have the legal right to donate, sell, or whatever the fetal tissues to medical establishments for study. Think of how this makes opponents to abortion feel (remember opponents are people too). Now it is their tax dollars being used to not only 'murder (abort) fetuses (babies)' but also to supply their fetal corpses for study, like lab rats. Now in America and elsewhere we support many things with our tax dollars that we might not agree with, but that does not mean that we should (by which I mean any issue, war, drug war, roads, medicine, whatever, provided we honestly disagree with it). People should fight to only support what it is that they agree with. We should not expect people to fund that which they don't agree with. As required by law they will, or they will be jailed, but they shouldn't be expected to 'shut up' and they shouldn't be called dumb just because they have a different moral compass than someone else. Such assertions only drive a wedge to reasonable discourse. It is also important to remember that before government funded all these programs they were funded by private interest groups. There were resources to fund things before the government just began confiscating oodles of cash to fund whatever they chose.
Attack on the Poor?
Again switching back to the other side there are the proponents of PP who see this all as an attack on the poor, and an attack on women. Truth is that it very well might be. More likely though it is just an exploitation of the religious right by politicians looking to score a few points. Planned Parenthood is largely an organization dedicated to responsible family planning. Pregnancy prevention and the prevention of unwanted births is a valuable service. Without such a service millions of women lose access to the same pregnancy protections that wealthy women can afford with ease. By eliminating PP the moral question of abortion is not answered but there is the moral question of women ending pregnancies in bathrooms and possibly their own lives at the same time. If we eliminate funding for PP then what is gained, who will be harmed?
[Please note though that this is a negative action (inaction) and not the same as action. Not funding PP doesn't cause bathroom abortions in the same way that funding PP causes (enables?) regular abortions. If inaction was as unethical as action (could be) then we would all be VASTLY unethical at nearly all moments. But this is a much longer and philosophical discussion.]
Just because one person has a moral objection to abortion, does not mean they are an idiot, just as another person isn't an idiot because they advocate the "sale of baby parts." The issues are far more complex than simple dichotomies. The anti thinks abortion is murder murder should be illegal; the pro thinks that abortion is legal, and PP is an important organization. In the end as with most issues if you take a hard and fast my way or the highway standpoint you will likely be butting your head up against brick walls constantly. People need to be open to compromise, to realize that there are humans on both sides of nearly all issues. Their use as pawns for political gain isn't the fault of the pawn. We should always try to root out falsity and lies, but acknowledge that different perspectives and thresholds for truth will always obscure the consensus.
Heated Argument Tends to Stifle Compromise
If you asked me to make a compromise it would be to allow people to opt out of paying for PP in their taxes. Let people who believe in PP pay for it. Of course that sets a nasty precedent for lots of other unpopular programs the government would rather not give us the option of whether or not to fund. And here we find the final matter here. The issues, nearly all of the controversial issues bandied about, are framed in such a way to divide the masses somewhere between 60/40 and 50/50. If the people are left calling each other meaningless names and engaging in hot emotional debate about each other's stupidity they will not look to the heart of the matter, which is that the issue in its first place (government force) is wrong. I am a hands off kind of person. I think that which doesn't effect me isn't really my business. I stand up for those who have force placed against them, and argue against those forcing others (partly why this issue in particular is so complex).
Since there won't be a tax option to support PP or not I would suggest defunding and the privatization of funding (this is my answer to MANY issues). Again that will strike people as me taking a side, but I am not suggesting that PP be made illegal, although perhaps there should be some compromise on the dissemination of fetal tissue as well (frankly I kind of think that all post mortem dissection should require consent of family, but probably moreso the individual). Instead I just think since there are so many people in support of PP government could reduce taxes the equivalent (they wont) of the current PP sponsorship, and those who save that money and believe in PP can donate it the same way other charities receive their funds. Of course I know that makes it seem as if I am against PP, which I am not. I think instead you take the 3% of PP which has anything to do with the dissemination of fetal tissues and defund that or separate it into a different, non government endorsed program (hospitals?). Offer the .000001% (arbitrary figure) and lower taxes that amount, and allow that portion (fetuses for medical research) to be funded privately, or just ban that small part of PP outright, leaving PP to receive its government funding for the majority of its operations.
There are a lot of issues involved, but I just wanted to remind you that the answers are not simple. I hope I have opened your eyes in some small way to the humanity on both sides of the issue. Life and death, rights, poverty, (us vs you politics) these are all important things to understand from all perspectives.
It seems that the debate comes down to what the exact nature of your objection or support of Planned Parenthood is. I encourage you all to find out exactly where it is you draw your lines and then help others to find theirs. Maybe eventually people will understand that forcing people to live under the guidelines of another is a form of violence, that attacking people for beliefs or trying to impose beliefs on others is not a healthy way to have a society. Remember all people are acting from under their fears and aspirations, their knowledge and ignorance... all of us, not just your opponent in a debate.
If you wish to comment on the naturalness of abortion in general you may head over to http://accordwithnature.com/review/abortion