On defunding Planned Parenthood

Leading up to the nationwide Protest Planned Parenthood rallies (which occurred last Saturday), I spoke with a reporter about why I am one of many people who support stripping the group of federal funding. I appreciated being able discuss my position, one that many people in my local vicinity would consider ridiculous. And I truly respect journalists who take time to listen and include both sides of the issues they cover. But when the article came out, the pro-life position was sorely misrepresented and under-represented.

So here’s my response.

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There seems to be this prevailing mindset in America that Planned Parenthood is the primary healthcare provider for low-income women. It’s true that according to PP, 60% of their patients rely on programs such as Medicaid to receive services. And I want to be clear that my goal is not to take away ethical and needed medical care from anyone. Quite the opposite, I am in full support of resources such as the developing app Help Assist Her, which will make affordable healthcare resources more easily accessible. But most of the arguments, if you can call them that, coming from Planned Parenthood supporters center on this point.

There are several problems with this narrative:

Relatively speaking, Planned Parenthood sees a minuscule number of Americans. Out of ~320 million citizens, they see about 2.5 million/year, so about .7%. Saying millions of women will lose their healthcare is at best a gross exaggeration. Of course some people have had cancer detected and STD’s caught at PP clinics. That’s not what I’m talking about though.

People need far more comprehensive healthcare than what Planned Parenthood offers. We know from recent videos released from Live Action that Planned Parenthood is dishonest about many of their services. Most recently, we’ve realized how they’ve exaggerated the prenatal care only a few of their clinics offer. Most facilities will only see pregnant women who are seeking an abortion. It’s no surprise, then, that abortion equals about 94% of pregnancy outcomes for PP patients.

We also know that Planned Parenthood has been involved in extensive Medicaid fraud. See results of recent audits starting on page 311 of this document. Shouldn’t this be part of the conversation? Especially since a LOT of their funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements, I think we need to be honest about how the funding they receive is billed and used.

One of THE most important parts of this conversation, I think, is that while abortion, sterilization, and contraceptive services have been increasing in number over the last several years, PP’s other (less controversial) services such as prenatal care, STD tests, breast exams, etc.) have steadily been decreasing (details). If we want to have a logical conversation about policy and federal funding, then I need to know why our government should fund an organization so focused on a limited number of controversial services.

And finally, if serving women and families and impoverished individuals is a priority for Planned Parenthood, wouldn’t they find a way to do so without federal funding? This is how many non-profits work. They depend on people who believe in their mission to keep the doors open. So why is PP an exception? Why would federal funding being taken away from PP stop them from seeing the patients they care so much about? You see, it wouldn’t. They’d just have to do it on their own dime, not mine. That’s obviously a scary thought to an entity whose budget is funded over 40% by our government.

This issue is about so much more than abortion. Yes, Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. But this is also about people being able to find good healthcare from ethical and responsible providers. It’s about being able to voice where my tax money should and shouldn’t be spent.

There are a number of perfectly reasonable reasons I support redirecting federal funding from Planned Parenthood to Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers. My voice matters. Yours does too. And it’s time reporters and the media started listening to people like me and including us in the conversation.

To LIFE,

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Why Planned Parenthood Shouldn’t be Federally Funded

Planned Parenthood is at risk of loosing their federal funding, and people are losing their minds. People with lower incomes won’t be able to access healthcare, right? I agree that we shouldn’t take healthcare away from people. But I also think Planned Parenthood’s impact is thoroughly overrated. So, in no particular order, here’s why I think it’s a sensible decision to redirect PP’d federal funding to other healthcare providers.

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1. The healthcare they provide is extremely limited. They’ll provide a pregnancy test, pap smear, morning after pill, STD test, abortion, sterilization, manual breast exam (which you can do yourself), and contraception. As far as healthcare goes, that’s a small scope of care. Saying people will lose “healthcare” without PP is grossly inaccurate, because PP doesn’t provide a comprehensive scope of care.

2. They aren’t actually the primary healthcare provider for many people. The self-reported number of patients they see in a year? 2.5 million. Out of somewhere near 320 million Americans, that’s . . . not very many. If you want to know the exact number, that’s .7% of Americans who go to PP in a given year. So will “millions” of people lose their care? No.

3. According to their annual reports, their abortion, sterilization, and contraceptive services have consistently been increasing over the last 10 years. All of their non-controversial services (STD tests, breast exams, etc.) have been steadily decreasing. [see info] I think this shows a significant bias. And I think taxpayers have every right to demand our hard earned money isn’t going toward biased and controversial organizations.

4. As they’ve proven recently, PP supporters are quite capable of financially supporting the organization themselves. Why force taxpayers to fund a controversial organization when they have supporters to keep doors open? I think if they tightened their budget a little and didn’t spend $30 million on trying to get Hillary Clinton elected, they might be able to survive just like any other nonprofit: with private donations.

5. They’ve over billed Medicaid and financially benefited from the program by over $8.5 MILLION. And that’s a conservative estimate. See section starting on page 311 of this report. Since much of their government funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements, I think we need to get real about how much they’ve abused that program.

6. There are thousands of federally qualified healthcare centers to help people facing low incomes. Actually, there are 20 for every PP facility. If funds are redirected from Planned Parenthood to these centers, lower income individuals will have more access to more comprehensive care. So to say people will not have access to healthcare is a blatant lie.  Take a look at this map from the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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But what is a Federally Qualified Health Center? It’s a healthcare provider that “must serve an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors”. By meeting these requirements, the center qualifies for federal funding. Is that what everyone wants?

Looking at this information, I don’t see a logical objection to redirecting money from Planned Parenthood to Federally Qualified Health Centers. There are thousands more FQHC’s, which makes them more accessible. They provide a much more comprehensive scope of care, so we’re giving people better care. And they come without the controversy of being America’s #1 abortion provider (who’s been referred to the FBI for possible prosecution and found to be guilty of many crimes). This looks like a win-win situation to me.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk in the comments!

To LIFE,

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An open letter to Americans about kids

Did you see this article: “I’m Not Prejudiced, I Just Don’t Like 25% of Humanity”? In it, Haley talks about how (in general) America has become anti-child. People get mad if kids are disruptive in a restaurant. Crying on flights? How thoughtless of the small monster! And if they fail to be silent in Mass? Get. Out. Ya’ll just better stop raining on my parade.

Dear America: You can do better.

Thinking about it, it’s no surprise that people write things like the “26 Important Reminders Why Birth Control Exists” Haley linked to. Kids are just these little tasmanian devils that eat your money and steal your soul, not to mention your sleep. So it would make sense that people don’t like them.

I come from a big family, and I’ve been around big families my entire life. While I’m not a mom, I’ve cared for kids and grown up knowing that while kids can be hard, they are worth it. And doing all the reading I do now has only helped cement that belief.

So when I read that buzzfeed list of why to use birth control, I honestly had to laugh. It’s sad, yes, the comments people made on it. They are so afraid of kids that crayons on the wall bother them? What? I mean, look at that smiling face when kids say “I love you”. Menacing! Artwork on the car? Terrifying! Yes, there’s a limit to where kids should be allowed and how they should behave. But come on. Baby smiles are so precious, even if it’s because they just farted. Yes, I said that. Maybe kids will put oatmeal in their hair and spread bodily fluids all over their bed. Maybe they will scream and you can’t figure out why.

Maybe they will make other people uncomfortable, but that’s okay. We need to get uncomfortable.

We need to realize that while it’s not okay for kids to totally misbehave, we need to cut them some slack. Kids have so much pressure to be perfect. “Sit still” you hiss at them, or “Write your name perfectly 10 times”. Since when did we have so many crazy expectations for kids? Where are the days when kids roamed the neighborhood and made memories with friends? Some of my fondest childhood memories are of getting dirty in the mud in our backyard. We would play restaurant or re-decorate a recycled Christmas tree. I had the freedom to be creative. Yes, that did turn into a big mud fight that got on our house once. We had to clean that one up! My brothers tried to eat snails and worms too. Many of my dolls received haircuts, and my favorite blanket is in shreds. Childhood is just kind of messy.

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But so what?

It’s an absolute shame that when we see kids now, we see only what they take away from us. We have our perfect little sanitized life and if there’s an itty bitty dirty hand involved oh my landa would ya’ll get the Purell STAT?!?!

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What about if we stopped complaining so much, and talked more about how they enrich our families and communities? Tell me about the time the kids surprised you with breakfast in bed. The homemade cards. The messy baby kisses. Honestly, when I read the buzzfeed thing I was cracking up. The kids (for the most part) are being kids! They’re going to be messy. They are not always going to be quiet.

Shame on us if we can’t see the beauty in that.

If you don’t have experience with kids, I can see why you might be afraid of them. From my limited experience, I’ve gathered that it’s a lot of work. If you’ve never seen those precious baby smiles and the laughter of little kids filled with glee, completely oblivious to our messed up world, you’ve missed out on something. And I’m sorry you’ve only seen the bad parts.

But that is not a valid excuse. Just because you don’t have good experiences with kids doesn’t mean you can make sweeping generalizations about them. Hating kids doesn’t say anything about them, but it says a lot about you.

So take some time to get to know families, especially families who openly love their kids and will let you see a glimpse of family life. Help a mom out when she drops something with a baby on her hip. Anonymously pay for a family’s dinner when their kids are behaving. Make dinners. Babysit. Challenge yourself to see the good. Who knows?

You might just fall in love with baby smiles.

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What’s your take on this?

To Life,

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P.P.S. Please don’t get mad at me for giving excuses to parents who are failing to control their kids. That’s a whole different can of worms.

 

No free contraception? We’re all going to die!

Next week the supreme court will hear the case of Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius, a case which could have a great impact on the direction of religious liberty in America. Here’s the official description of the issue:

“Whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq., which provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest, allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.”

Hobby Lobby owners object to the use of contraception based on their religious beliefs, and they don’t want to be part of providing them to people. Simple enough, right?

Turns out some people aren’t okay with their access to free birth control being taken away.

Oh no! Not my contraception!

*GASP*

No free contraception?!!?!?!?!?! It’s the end of the woooooooooooorld!

Sorry, this isn’t a funny issue 🙂 But how hard is it to understand that you’re not entitled to free contraception? Planned Parenthood is making a big deal about how this decision should be between you and your doctor, not your boss.

Their current cover photo on Facebook

But guess what? If companies chose to not cover contraception in their insurance plan, you are still perfectly free to march yourself down to Walmart or Walgreens and buy yourself a lovely device or carcinogen. Yay!

You see, eliminating contraception from insurance plans doesn’t mean you can’t use it. It just means you have to be a grown up and pay for it. That should be common sense. And guess what? Many people agree. here’s one woman’s take on it:

“Medical insurance is for emergency visits and check-ups, and most contraception isn’t a medical necessity or required to maintain your health. Just because something is costly doesn’t mean you can cry foul, try and deem it a right, and demand that someone else (the deep, endless pockets of corporations or other taxpayers) pays for it.”

We don’t get actual life-saving medical care for free (think blood pressure medication or diabetes treatment), so why should we get contraception (a purely elective medication/device which halts the natural function of your body) at no cost?

Riddle me that, Planned Parenthood.

The Mother of Birth Control: See for Yourself

Margaret Sanger, the woman responsible for much of the development of the modern birth control pill, was a terrifying woman. Not only did she want to make the world dependent on birth control, but she wanted to exterminate “undesirable” (black, minority) people by forcing sterilization, birth control, and family size limits. The woman had some terribly twisted views of the human person. See for yourself in this interview:

Bearing the Burden of Contraception

Skip to 2:05 in this video, and watch Obama’s response to this question from a viewer:

“What can you say about a healthcare bill that’ll mandate insurance companies to provide birth control, sterilization, etc. to employees of Catholic universities, hospitals and churches since this goes against the Catholic religion?”

What can he say about it? First thing he says: religious freedom is critical, it’s what we were founded on. Right. Second: we exempted religious institutions, but wait! “Big” Catholic hospitals, etc. employing “a lot” of non-Catholics and receiving “a lot” of federal money have to cover contraception because it would not be “fair” for their employees to have to pay for it themselves.

Come Again??

It wouldn’t be FAIR to make people pay for medically unnecessary pills? Huh? If THAT’S not fair to make people pay for, then I think it’s high time people started paying for me to have an unnecessary car, mansion, haircuts, pedicures, and prime steaks every. single. night. Also add a years supply of Yougurtland, and a season pass to Disneyland. Make sense? I didn’t think so. You see, it’s stupid to force people pay for other people’s fancies. You want to drive a three million dollar car? You have to buy it. You want to eat expensive organic food? You have to buy it. You want to get plastic surgery? You have to buy it. You want to use contraception? Um, taxpayers have to pay for it…..WHAT?!?!

No one is entitled to contraception. And to go even farther, absolutely no one is entitled to contraception for free.

If you really want to know what’s not fair, I’ll tell you what: forcing anyone to violate their conscience, and/or their religious beliefs. Freedom is what America was founded on. It’s time to re-claim our freedoms, and speak out against this nonsense.

*And if you’ve gotten this far and are wondering why I’m against contraception in the first place, check out this site for great explanations.