I’ve been writing up a list of ideas about abortion reduction to send to the Obama transition team, and unfortunately there are a few holes in my list.
I want to write “Work with pro-life, pro-contraception groups to maximize support for your prevention policies,” but I can’t. There essentially aren’t any.
I want to write “There are people who agree with your agenda for reproductive justice in every way except that we view abortion as violence against a human being. Talk to them; they have ideas that people in your circle might not think of,” — it’s true, but who can I point to?
This came to mind again when I read all the hand-flapping about Planned Parenthood of Indiana offering gift certificates.
The network of 35 clinics across the state announced it is offering holiday vouchers for basic health care services “or the recipient’s choice of birth control method.”
The organization decided to offer the vouchers because so many people are uninsured or are putting off health care because of prohibitive costs, said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana. Nearly 800,000 Indiana residents don’t have health insurance, she said.
A few thoughts:
- They’re not “gift certificates for abortions”, the way that many abortion opponents are breathlessly characterizing them. If you look at PP’s page, they’re not being marketed that way at all. They’re clearly meant for basic health care services and contraception. I actually agree with the PP spokesperson who says that although the vouchers can be used for abortions, she doesn’t think anyone would give them for that purpose. Whatever people’s political views might be, there aren’t a lot of people out there who celebrate abortion and would think of it as a fine holiday gift.
- That said, someone will take a voucher that was given to them in the hope that they’d get necessary preventive health care, and use it to get an abortion. There’s no point telling ourselves otherwise.
- All the blog posts I’ve seen about this (from “Planned Parenthood is selling gift certificates for abortions!” to “those Planned Parenthood-haters don’t want women to get health care!”) seem to be missing the bigger picture: that there are women for whom this might be the only way they can get a mammogram or a Pap smear. If I’m going to get outraged about something, I think it’ll be that, thanks.
I cordially invite pro-lifers who are outraged about this story to band together and start up their own clinics that provide reproductive health care and contraception, but not abortion. We have utterly, utterly fallen down on the job here.