Monday, March 27, 2006

American Life League Attacks Planned Parenthood

When I started writing this paper on abortion and reproductive rights in America I signed up to receive automatic emails from Yahoo!News with the keywords "Planned Parenthood" and "Abortion." The positive side is that it's actually been kind of cool to receive these notices because it means I save time surfing the web looking for the latest stories on these issues.

The negative side is that I spend a good portion of my day angry because it never fails that when I read one of the articles included in the notice emails that I receive several times a day some idiot is spouting off some rhetoric about some aspect of abortion that is totally bogus.

Take for instance this article that I received today. The headline is American Life League Launches New Ad Campaign: Planned Parenthood: Proponent of Racism, Protector of Rapists, Promoter of Kiddie Porn. So let's discuss, shall we?

According to the article, Planned Parenthood is each of the following:

1. Proponent of Racism: The article "brings to light" one of abortion activists best kept secrets - the fact that one of the earliest feminists and pro-choice women in America was a racist. Margaret Sanger was an advocate in the early 1900's for getting contraceptives out to the general public. I was actually really surprised when I was researching my paper to discover that Sanger was indeed a racist. She believed, along with other birth control proponents of the time, that it would be best for low-income families and minorites to take birth control in order to slow down the birthrates and thereby slow the rise of poverty. She was an advocate of high-income families continuing procreation in order to "shore up the nation's stock." However, that was the early 1900's. I have a really hard time believing that Planned Parenthood is still focused on that. In fact, at the Planned Parenthood where I receive my yearly PAP exam and my birth control, I have only seen Caucasions in the waiting room.

2. Protector of Rapists: Yep, damn that Planned Parenthood for taking into account the emotional distress of some girl who was raped by her father and granting her emergency contraception or an abortion. When I was a kid, probably about 4 or 5 years old, some teenage relative of my mom's came to live with us. I thought that was strange but my dad is a preacher so we always had some random person or two living with us. Well, I was probably 25-years-old or so before I found out the reason she lived with us for that year. Apparently her father forced her to have sex with him and she got pregnant and her mother took her to a clinic to have an abortion. I don't remember much about that time but I do remember how sad that girl was and when I was an adult and found out the circumstances of her life I was so relieved to know that there was someone out there (in this instance a clinic) that could help her. I don't really care if her dad ever got prosecuted or not as long as she was able to get the help she needed. (That's a lie...I kind of wish I knew whatever happened to that man but I've never met him so maybe he is actually in jail.) Organizations like Planned Parenthood are there to provide help and support to people that need them for various and specific reasons. They are not there to play cop.

3. Promoter of Kiddie Porn: I have no idea what this is about except that the article does reference "the pornographic material Planned Parenthood distributes to children under the guise of sex education." I remember the book my mom read with me when I was about 10 that was everything I ever did or did not want to know about my body, some dude's body, how our bodies could do that thing to make those babies, and all the ickiness in between. So I don't know exactly what literature Planned Parenthood is passing out to the youngins but I'm going to try and get some of it so I can see it for myself. Planned Parenthood is in the business of sex education. IT'S WHAT THEY DO, PEOPLE. Too many parents are too freaked out to discuss sex with their kids and somebody has to do it. Thank GOD there is an organization that a confused kid or teenager (notice that the article doesn't actually say what age these "kids" are...they could be 17-year-olds!) can petition to get information about their bodies when they need it. Did your parents discuss sex and your changing body with you? Mine did...a lot. Probably too much, as a matter of fact. But I'll tell you this, when I got my first period I was A LOT less freaked out about it than my friends were when they got theirs.

4. The article also points out that statistics show that teenage girls who have abortions have a higher incidence of suicide but it doesn't actually show any of the statistics or offer any proof. I'm not discounting what the article claims as fact, but I will say that I've done a ton of research for this paper - from both sides of the argument - and not once did I come across any mention of these statistics. I'm going to try to look into that as well, though, because I think it would be a really interesting thing to learn more about, if, in fact, it is true.

26 comments:

SUZANNE said...

I think the reference to PP protecting rapists comes from the undercover investigation that a pro-life group (I think it's Life Dynamics, but I'm not sure). They called PP clinics claiming to be underaged girls who wanted an abortion, impregnanted by adult males. The girl would have been a victim of statuatory rape if the case had actually been true, but the PP staff often promised not to go to the police with the information about the alleged assailant. So in this sense, PP is said to enable rapists.

SerenitySprings said...

I've heard of that investigation but what concerns me is that people seem to be under the impression that PP should be reporting these things. PP is an organization of support, not police. Many girls are scared and confused and I think PP has their policies in place because they are trying to protect the girls and make them feel safe.

Dwain said...

It makes sense to me that the parents of a 14-year-old girl ought to know that she's pregnant and seeking an abortion. How can a clinic know what's better for her than her own parents? That's where I see the criminality in not reporting these things.

SerenitySprings said...

Some girls grow up being abused by their parents. Some girls grow up being forced to have sex with their fathers. Some girls grow up in extremely religious or conservative households where the parents might not allow an abortion.

I disagree that all parents are going to know what is best for their kids. Some parents are really, really bad at parenting and for some girls, it's really not safe for them to go to their parents.

Dwain said...

I didn't imply ALL parents know what's BEST for their child, but rather MOST parents know what is BETTER for their child.

Do we abolish a parental-notification law for the sake of the few (minors victimized by abusive fathers), or do we enact a parental notification law for the sake of the many (minors victimized by abusive boyfriends, acqaintance rape)?

SerenitySprings said...

Dwain:

I also think that most parents know what is "better" (using your word) for their child(ren). However, I am also an advocate for abolishing all restrictions on abortion. That's right, ALL.

This is not to say that I want child abusers to remain free to do what they will, but it is to say that I would rather one girl in a dire situation be helped due to not having to deal with restrictions, than 100 girls having their parents notified.

The fact of the matter is, if we continue to restrict who can and cannot receive an abortion, we are denying 100% autonomy regarding reproductive rights to females of all ages. The more restrictions we have in place, the more unwanted babies will be born, the more females will have inflicted upon them serious risk and/or death, and the less likely we are to accept that women have an inherent right to decide what they will and will not do with their bodies.

This is more than just about "freedom of choice." It's about loosing the chains of oppression that have bound women since the beginning of time.

Trust us to make the choice that is right for us. Believe in the fact that we really do know what we can handle and are ready for. We know ourselves and our bodies better than anyone else...just like you.

Dwain said...

The American Life League ads are posted on their homepage at http://www.all.org/

Perhaps we're touching on legal terms, but I'm not aware of ANY restrictions on abortion in the United States. Perhaps you mean restrictions on abortion clinics that are now in place in some states, aka 'Trap' laws?

I'm disturbed by the ideology you propose. We agree that we don't want child abusers to run free, but I'm not convinced the best thing for an abused 14-year-old girl is to seek services from a clinic that will keep all matters confidential. Because this DOES set the abuser free. Required notification and consent from a parent serves the child better because the parent will know how to make decisions based on the psychological maturity of the child. If the clinic suspects abuse of a child by a parent or gaurdian, this matter needs to reported to criminal authorities.

I aggree with these requirements because a crime has taken place, and someone needs to be accountable. If these cases are never reported, if Planned Parenthood keeps hush-hush, then the predator wins. The girl is returned to her abusive father. Or the sexual predator finds another victim. And if MY daughter is then next victim, I will also hold the clinic responsible because it would have been stopped.

I don't think we give young girls enough credit. It's incredibly painful to have to review all that trauma for a parent and/or court. But young girls are survivors when supported by the love of her parents, gaurdians and/or a therapist.

Yes, the needle hurts when you get the shot, but it's for your own good. And in this case, the pain will save her life and prevent the victimization of another young girl.

SerenitySprings said...

I am talking about restrictions such as age limits, waiting periods for those seeking abortions, spousal or parental notification, etc.

I am talking about doing away with ALL restrictions on abortion. If you want to terminate a pregnancy, then bust a move.

I would also like to reiterate an aforementioned statement wherein I said that the purpose of Planned Parenthood is not to play "cop." If a female is seeking an abortion she should be able to receive one without fear of recourse by her family, boyfriend, whomever.

dwain said...

Indeed, the restrictions you mentioned are considered TRAP laws. And I agree it is not the 'purpose' of Planned Parenthood to play 'cop.' But what does purpose have to do with responsibility? It is a teacher's purpose to teach young minds. It is a doctor's purpose to heal the sick. Despite the mission of their profession, they all have a responsibilty to report a crime. It is immoral to see a man drowning in the ocean, and do nothing to save his life because, heck... you're just a fisherman passing by. After all, it isn't the fisherman's purpose to play lifeguard.

SerenitySprings said...

I agree with you in theory. But in practice, I would still rather see a young girl get the help she desires without fear that she'll be beaten or worse if her parents find out.

Dave-o-ramA said...

Why then should lawyers not be required to tell police anything their clients tell them that might be evidence of a crime? By your logic, they should have to. Lawyer/client confidentiality and doctor/patient confidentiality exist for a reason. That reason is that if clients or patients cannot be frank and honest with their lawyers or doctors, they will not recieve the representation or care they need.

Dave-o-ramA said...

It is immoral to see a man drowning in the ocean, and do nothing to save his life because, heck... you're just a fisherman passing by. After all, it isn't the fisherman's purpose to play lifeguard.

Is not a comparable situation. What reason would you have for NOT saving the man in this scenario?

A more apt analogy would be a man is drowning. He calls to you for help. You say that you will not help him if he does not consent to tell you who pushed him into the water.

Dave-o-ramA said...

There was a prosecutor in Kansas who was planning to subpoena all records of abortion clinics who had performed abortions for underaged girls for 'covering up evidence of statutory rape'.

However, since he's not subpoenaed hospitals for records of actual births by underage girls, it's pretty transparent that he doesn't give a rat's ass about statutory rape. His motivations are pretty transparent. He wants to harrass abortion clinics.

dwain said...

Dave-o-rama,

You make a good point. (However Planned Parenthood doesn't REFUSE treatment to anyone.) The fisherman (Planned Parenthood) helps him (sexually abused child) best if he pulls him out of the water AND reports to the authorities the person responsible (predator) for pushing him in water so that the poor soul doesn't end up in the water again. If the fisherman doesn't report the problem, then the fisherman might as well push the guy back in himself.

By the way, client/patient confidentiality doesn't apply. In every state, the following people are required by law to report suspected abuse: Doctors; nurses; dentists; mental health professionals; social workers; teachers; day care workers; law enforcement personnel. In some states, clergy, foster parents, attorneys, and camp counselors also are required to report abuse. In about 18 states, ANY PERSON who suspects abuse is required to report it.

Dwain said...

Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio, Kansas, and Indiana are under investigation.

Did I say, yet, how much I hate Planned Parenthood?

SerenitySprings said...

LOL, Dwain. You didn't *specifically* say it, but I think we got your point. :)

Can you help me to understand exactly why it is that you hate Planned Parenthood? Is it just because of their reporting practices, or lack thereof, or is it deeper than that?

Dave-o-ramA said...

Did I say, yet, how much I hate Planned Parenthood?

And this is why no investigates a doctor who delivers a baby for a 14-year-old for failing to report abuse, but they do for Planned Parenthood. It's a disingenuous attempt to punish Planned Parenthood for providing abortions, and is only tangentially related to preventing child abuse. If it weren't, then ALL pre-natal care providers would be subpoenaed.

SUZANNE said...

How does a doctor deliver a fourteen-year-old's baby without notifying the fourteen-year-old's parents? Does that actually happen? We know that PP fights notification laws tooth and nail, so we know that they oppose divulging secret abortions to the parents of the girl. Are the OB\GYN's who won't tell the parent that their daughter has delivered? Aren't there laws against doctors giving any kind of major treatment without the parents' consent? Perhaps if OB\GYN's went out of their way to keep these deliveries secret, maybe the pro-life movement would pay more attention, but I don't know of any such pressure.

Dave-o-ramA said...

Dwain said: In every state, the following people are required by law to report suspected abuse: Doctors; nurses; dentists; mental health professionals; social workers; teachers; day care workers; law enforcement personnel. In some states, clergy, foster parents, attorneys, and camp counselors also are required to report abuse.

Suzanne said: Perhaps if OB\GYN's went out of their way to keep these deliveries secret, maybe the pro-life movement would pay more attention, but I don't know of any such pressure.

Dwain argues that anyone who has evidence of abuse is required to go to the police. If the mere existence of a pregnancy is evidence of abuse, then all OBGYNs who have treated such cases without contacting the police are breaking the law. But since the motivation here is stopping abortions, not catching criminals, no one cares. Sure, they'll wave the bloody shirt of rape if it suits pro-life purposes, but it's still politically motivated persecution. An OBGYN who treats a miscarriage in an underage female without reporting it to the police gets a pass, because they don't hate what he does. Oh, wacky mister walrus.

dwain said...

Under Kansas state law, a girl under the age of 14 who is impregnated is considered to be a victim of child abuse or statutory rape. So yes, an OBGYN delivering a baby from a 13-year old is required to report a crime. If a 13-year-old girl tests positive for a pregnancy test taken at a Planned Parenthood Clinic, Planned Parenthood is required to report a crime.

I believe the openly, pro-life Kansas AG is explicity working to shut down Planned Parenthood in his state. No doubt about that. I'm sure that's his motivation. And maybe he doesn't really care about the victims. But does that discredit the investigation, or negate the fact that a crime (in this case, the failure to report a crime) took place? I think the AG used LifeDynamics' investigation as motivation to investigate Planned Parenthood. And LifeDynamics didn't target hospitals. I dunno... is a politically motivated tactic an unethical one?

It doesn't erase the fact that when Planned Parenthood keeps abuse secret, they're aiding and hiding the sexual predator. Is the sexual predator thankful when Planned Parenthood keeps quiet? With such a hush-hush reputation, isn't it in the best interest of the rapist-father to take his victim-daughter to Planned Parenthood?

Dave-o-ramA said...

I believe the openly, pro-life Kansas AG is explicity working to shut down Planned Parenthood in his state. No doubt about that. I'm sure that's his motivation.

That is a problem in and of itself. When those who are politically opposed to a government official have more to fear from the government than those who agree, that's a serious problem.

Politically motivated prosecutions are antithetical to American freedom. If the Kansas AG is using his office to attack people based on political beliefs, that's a serious abuse of power.

dwain said...

I suppose he is looking to shut down something that in his mind is antithetical to American freedom. However, his office is not attacking a group of persons, but rather an institution.

Dave-o-ramA said...

So it's OK for an AG to persecute organizations that disagree with him

dwain said...

It's okay for an AG to prosecute an organization that disagrees with the law.

Dave-o-ramA said...

Remember, the OBGYN who didn't report an underage pregnancy violated the same law you accuse Planned Parenthood of violating. But the AG ignores the OBGYN but nails planned parenthood based solely on their POLITICAL differences with the AG.

If you feel that it is acceptable to ignore one criminal because you like his politics while prosecuting another becuase you dislike theirs, then I have nothing more to say to you.

dwain said...

Ok. I'm confused. I don't understand what you mean by 'political differences.'

I thought Life Dynamics only called Planned Parenthood clinics in their investigation. Did they also call hospitals and OBGYNs? I missed that part. If the Kansas AG skipped over Life Dynamics' findings with OBGYNs and specifically targeted Life Dynamics' findings with Planned Parenthood, then something stinks at the AG office.