Hm. Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy of “Fox & Friends” specifically said on TV that Planned Parenthood was unnecessary because you could get pap smears, breast exams, and other non-abortion related services at Walgreens. But when I moseyed on over there and asked how I would go about getting my ladyparts examined, the cashier looked at me like I was crazy! But I didn’t want to resort to going to Planned Parenthood — oh no. Glenn Beck said that only hookers go there!
Really though, this is far and away the most absurd and infuriating part about the ongoing war on Planned Parenthood: the blatant misinformation that Republicans have been spreading (whether deliberately or ignorantly) in order to demean the importance of Planned Parenthood and the services they provide. Do those Fox guys even know what a pap smear is? It’s difficult to gauge which is worse — giving idiots a time-slot on a major channel so that they can do nothing but spout mindless, unproductive drivel (especially when the channel knows what a huge influence said drivel has on much of the country), or being a United States senator and just deciding to cite arbitrary, made up statistics in a speech — statistics that are not even remotely close to being near the ballpark of accurate. Yes, we mean you, Senator Jon Kyl — did you really think you could get away with claiming that “well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does” is abortion, when abortion actually only constitues 3% of their services? Oh, excuse me. That “was not intended to be a factual statement.” Do we need to have a disclaimer every time Jon Kyl intends to lie on the Senate floor?
Sure, this kind of unapologetic ignorance is pure gold for the comedy world, but now and again we have to remind ourselves that this is real life. This is what the Republican party (not all Republicans, but most) has come to: trying to sabotage women’s rights in a sleazy attempt to secure office once again, and resorting to lying in order to get people on their side. Just because it’s well-known now that many right-wingers, whether on television or on Capitol Hill, don’t concern themselves much with fact-checking doesn’t make it acceptable — especially when, with every lie, so much is at stake for millions of women.
Fortunately President Obama managed to protect Planned Parenthood from the recent wave of budget cuts, but that still didn’t prevent the ever-merciless House of Representatives from passing their own bill to cut PP’s funding just to make a point (the Senate overturned it a few hours later). Planned Parenthood is safe for the moment, but Republicans — who claim to want to do away with government intervention in American people’s lives — are closer than ever to controlling women’s reproductive rights, using a smog of lies to convince Americans that it’s right. It’s pollution; they’re polluting people’s minds with incorrect information, so that everyone who listens to them is running around with ideas about what should be done about abortion — but the thing is, such opinions aren’t anchored by truth. It isn’t just about “the abortion issue” — as noted, only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion, and they are not federally funded, so why sacrifice everything else they provide? Stamping “abortion” on everything is dangerous and manipulative. And a crucial decision — like defunding Planned Parenthood — is not something that should be made based on sensationalism.
(I know I’m preaching to the choir, so there are ways for you to help combat this: donate to Emily’s List to help elect more Democratic, pro-choice women to Congress or follow NARAL Pro-Choice America on Facebook for updates on petitions to sign and other ways to help.)