“Let’s face it, they’re [Planned Parenthood] in the business to kill babies for profit,” she said. “First and foremost, they get young girls hooked on their birth control pills, which don’t work,” Hanks said.
Media Matters points out that birth control pills do work to prevent conception pretty reliably; “oral contraceptives work with 92 percent efficacy for the first year of ‘[t]ypical [u]se’ and are 99.7 percent effective with ‘[p]erfect [u]se,” MM says. So if Planned Parenthood is encouraging people to use contraceptives, which it does, then it really isn’t primarily “in the business” of abortion, is it?
Further, “Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, Inc. is a tax-exempt corporation under Internal Revenue Service code section 501(c)(3) and is not a private foundation. (Tax ID #13-1644147) Contributions are tax deductible,” their web site says. Strictly speaking, they are not “in the business” for profit at all. I believe it operates mostly on donations and endowments.
Regarding the abortion question, Eleanor Clift argues that Democrats should refocus the debate on birth control.
Family planning is an issue Republicans generally like to avoid because it threatens the coalition between economic conservatives and the religious right. Business types tend to be live-and-let-live, while a segment of social conservatives oppose birth control with almost the same fervor they oppose abortion. Family planning is such an under-the-radar issue for Republicans that Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, says the Right to Life organization doesn’t advertise a birth-control position. “But you find in that movement—and they’ve become much more assertive about it—if you use birth control, you are stopping a life and that’s not acceptable,” she says. Listen to right-wing talk radio and you’ll hear how making birth control available or teaching sex-ed in public schools leads to sex. That’s an argument equivalent to believing that putting air bags in cars causes accidents, says Keenan.
The American public may be ambivalent about abortion, but I’m sure a whopping majority approve of birth control as an alternative. Cristina Page pointed out recently that there’s a strong, under-the-radar anti-contraceptive movement. Further, she says elsewhere, pro-choice politicians would do well to make contraception an issue.
Americans, pro-life and pro-choice, support contraception particularly because its the only proven way to reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion. (Only 11 percent of sexually active women don’t use contraception and from this 11 percent comes 50 percent of the nation’s abortions.) But very few voters are aware that not one pro-life organization in the United States supports contraception. Instead, pro-life groups lead campaigns against contraception. Ninety-one percent of the American public strongly favors contraception. When pro-choice presidential candidates make the discussion about prevention, contraception and results, they’ll win. No less than 80 percent of self-described pro-life voters strongly support contraception too.
The irony of the so-called (imagine my voice dripping with contempt) “right to life” position is that passing laws that ban abortions doesn’t stop abortions. This can be proved with solid empirical evidence; many nations that outlaw abortions have higher rates of abortion than nations with more liberal abortion laws. The one factor that, reliably, does lower abortion rates is access to and use of contraceptives. It is well documented that increasing the use of contraceptives correlates to lowering the rate of abortions within a population. You can’t say the same about passing laws prohibiting abortion.
You’ll never persuade the thick-headed Leslie Hanks of this, of course, but I think most Americans really don’t want the Morality Police to take away their contraceptives.
See also Susie at Suburban Guerrilla.