With Planned Parenthood’s back against the wall following the advent of more videos exposing the selling of baby parts, their apologists are growing desperate in their attempts to prevent its defunding. Case in point is Michael Specter, a staff writer at The New Yorker and former New York Times and Washington Post reporter, who spreads the usual counterintuitive spin that defunding Planned Parenthood would actually increase abortions. The headline was “Planned Parenthood Means Fewer Abortions.”
A few years ago, Specter wrote a book called Denialism about the dangers of science denial. But he’s in a case of Planned Parenthood denial.
If only we could find an organization that educates young girls, and boys, about the dangers of early and unwanted pregnancies; a group that distributes contraceptives but also stresses the fact that sexual abstinence is safe, free, and, when used continuously, always prevents pregnancy. That group could really lower the abortion and teen-age pregnancy rates in this country. Oh. Wait. We have that organization. It’s called Planned Parenthood.
Yes, Planned Parenthood offers abortions—which are legal in the United States. Nonetheless, according to Planned Parenthood, just three percent of its services involve abortions. The vast majority of those services are devoted to the organization’s more central goal—helping people avoid unwanted pregnancy altogether.
Perhaps Specter should consult his old Washington Post colleagues on how that three-percent propaganda number isn’t, well, scientifically accurate.
Specter is apparently content with entrusting the sex education and unwanted pregnancy initiatives to a group that advises young people to engage in recreational sex play that involves defecating and urinating on sexual partners, viewing “educational pornos,” and role playing as babies during sex while dressing in diapers. This just screams sexual restraint.
He then throws in a bunch of statistics to indicate that abortions, teen pregnancy, and birth rates throughout the nation are at an all time low. “Fewer pregnant teens also means fewer abortions.” He then attempts to credit this phenomenon to Planned Parenthood and bash abortion laws all at the same time.
Could it be that education works? The U.S still has the highest teen-pregnancy rates in the developed world. But it is hard to understand how more restrictive abortion laws would reduce the need for abortions. Clearly, however, better access to birth control and sex education has made significant impacts on unwanted pregnancies. The rate of abortions among adolescents in the U.S. is the lowest it has been since abortions became legal, in 1973. The numbers have fallen by two-thirds since 1988.
It’s an ideologue, not a science-lover, who makes the outrageous claim that restrictive abortion laws do nothing to end the “need for abortions.”
Specter goes on to make the bizarre claim that we need Planned Parenthood (300,000-plus abortions committed a year) to make abortion rare:
“teen-age pregnancies cost this country well over ten billion dollars a year in lost tax revenues and increased spending on many forms of public assistance. Stripping the funding from Planned Parenthood, as Jeb Bush and other Republicans have proposed, would add to the burden. You don’t have to be particularly insightful to see where that will lead: more abortions.
This is like arguing we subsidize McDonald’s as an obvious cure for childhood obesity. Of course, a defense for Planned Parenthood would not be complete without an attack an abstinence-only sex education.
As it happens, the Bush family has a track record when it comes to depriving people of contraceptives and even of the opportunity to learn about them. George W. Bush’s Administration was devoted to the idea that abstinence was the only solution to pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and, of course, abortion….In fact, almost every political group involved in the issue supports abstinence. But relying on it as the primary method of birth control is another thing entirely, because those programs often fail.
Specter’s changing the subject to liberal-pleasing nostrums, conducting no defense of Planned Parenthood selling baby parts. He concludes with this cheap shot at Republicans. “This is not only madness but expensive madness. Republicans should welcome the savings guaranteed by cost-effective sex education. The alternative is simply more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions.”
Of course one wonders how a man who believes that Planned Parenthood, a group that sells baby parts like toys and teaches sexual deviancy to minors, will keep the abortion rate low is qualified to accuse anyone of “madness.”