Amid an attack on the accuracy of presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s comments on Planned Parenthood and Republican scare tactics aimed at defunding the organization, both sides of the debate have fallen short of understanding the main issue at the heart of the controversy: late term abortions.
Whether or not you’re pro-life or pro-choice, Planned Parenthood has been a boon for communities that don’t have the resources to seek out more expensive medical treatments. Planned Parenthood has devoted most of its resources to testing for sexual diseases, providing contraceptive services and screening for cancer. Only three percent of the organization’s services are allocated to performing abortions.
Yet abortion is the reason a national debate has grown around Planned Parenthood after the anti-abortion organization The Center for Medical Progress secretly recorded Planned Parenthood officials discussing how to obtain aborted fetal tissue and how to crush the fetus in certain ways to preserve its organs.
And while nitpickers try to decipher how much of the videos were “highly edited,” it distracts from how ugly the nature of second trimester abortions are.
The abortion lobby, aided by the media, often use the term “fetal tissue” when a women plans to have an abortion. When she doesn’t, it becomes “organs.” See the difference?
Tissue doesn’t bring to mind a miniature human composed of a heart and a brain the same way the word organs do.
If you are disturbed or morally troubled by late term abortions, you’re not alone. According to a recent Marist University poll, 84 percent of Americans want restrictions on abortion, especially late term abortions done after the first three months of pregnancy.
Yet the abortion industry and its allies continue to paint pro-lifers as the extremists even as they use the words “goop,” “clump of cells” and “uterine contents” to describe a fetus.
If you haven’t heard by now, last week senate democrats succeeded in blocking the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban all abortions after 20 weeks with a few exceptions.
And while Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice advocates celebrate, the death of this particular piece of legislation is a mistake for both political and moral reasons.
While half of this country considers themselves to be pro-choice, polling data shows that the further abortion is done from the first trimester, the more Americans think it should be illegal.
Why does this matter?
While it’s one thing to ignore that the stance the U.S. currently has on late term abortions puts it on the list of one in seven countries in the world that allows this, including North Korea and China, it’s another to ignore the rights of not just one human being, but two; a mother and the life she is carrying.
What makes this matter so complicated is that opponents on both side of the argument can’t decide when the fetus gains its rights.
Most would argue that when the fetus is capable of feeling pain it should be protected by law, hence the Pain-Capable Act. Yet abortion activists continue to deny medical evidence that a 20-week-old fetus can feel pain, choosing to stick to extreme views that allow the termination of pregnancy at any trimester.
Which brings me back to Planned Parenthood and the fight to defund it.
If the Republican Party, which has taken a stance against abortion, and their allies want to stop abortion, it doesn’t make sense to close the leading provider of birth control.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that women who use long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) have a lower abortion rate thanks in part to the elimination of birth control failures that LARCs provide.
Taking away a valuable resource that women and families rely on to provide contraceptives would only lead to more unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, which would lead to more abortions.
Reducing the risk of pregnancy should be the agenda on everyone’s list. Women don’t want nor do they plan to have late term abortions any more than pro-lifers do. By promoting contraceptives to decrease the risk of unwanted pregnancies, both sides of the argument can find comfortable middle ground in the fight over Planned Parenthood.