Planned Parenthood and the Myth of the Sheepish, Dependent, Ethically Mono-chromed Woman (Introduction)

Planned Parenthood and the Myth of the Sheepish, Dependent, Ethically Mono-chromed Woman (Introduction) April 2, 2014

Planned Parenthood stand with “women.” Assumedly this means something.

It cannot mean that Planned Parenthood — in their actions, goals, and professed beliefs — stand for the all-inclusive category of “every human person with two “x” sex chromosomes.” 57% percent of women are in favor of abortion being illegal in all or most circumstances (20%, 37%, respectively). Planned Parenthood — who daily bemoans laws limiting abortion, manufacturing a menagerie of pink graphics protesting any and all proposed restrictions on the business — cannot include in their category of “women” the majority of American women. They cannot take an institutional “stand” with women if the majority of women do not “stand” with them — except in the manner of an aggressive, ideological photo-bomb, “standing with women whether they like it or not.”

Unless, one assumes, they are women advocating for restrictions on abortion. Then don’t trust them.

If Planned Parenthood are going to be factual about which women they “stand with,” “support” and “trust,” their category of “women” must mean “the 43% of women who are not directly opposed to our demand for increased access to abortion.” But they do not make this distinction. They speak for “women” in general. As in…

Since they make no distinction between their category of “women” and the living, breathing women going about their day-to-day adventures, I have to charitably assume that they are making reference to an idea of women, one that transcends particular women — who are more likely to identify themselves with pro-life positions.

Standing for an idea is a fundamental human pose, one taken across all political boundaries, as when the married woman stands for “the idea of marriage” — an idea transcendent of particular marriages, which often suck — or when the atheist defends the idea of the scientific, rational atheist over and against the particular atheists who operate on Reddit.

Planned Parenthood, in their incapacity to stand for women as particulars must stand for women as an idea. This is hardly a reason to dislike the kids. I merely want to point out an obvious consequence of their actions. If I say, “I want to stand up for Catholics in opposition of the death penalty in our country” and a nominal Catholic protests “But I support the death penalty!” it falls to me to make a decision about my category of “Catholic.” I must clarify in some awkward but nevertheless necessary manner, “Look, by Catholics I am referring to those faithful to the teachings of the Church.” I must define the boundaries of my category. I must carve out the borders of my idea.

This applies to everyone. Insofar as you going to elect yourself as a champion of an idea, it falls to you to determine the boundaries of that idea — who fits it and who doesn’t. Furthermore, every representation of that idea takes on a light of extreme significance by containing an implicit demand. If I am representing the idea of a Christian, I cannot say “the Christian is compassionate to the marginalized” without implicitly making the claim that the particular Christian ought to be compassionate. If I am representing the idea of a man, I cannot say “a man doesn’t back down from a fight” without implicitly making the claim that particular men, going about their real, daily lives, ought not back down from fights. Insofar as I am defining the boundaries of my idea, determining who fits and who doesn’t, I am implicitly claiming that those who don’t fit ought to — if they are going to claim to be part of my idea.

Planned Parenthood, in using the term “women” — and insofar as they are not simply lying, claiming the actual, universal support of all particular women — must be referring to an idea, and insofar as they represent an idea, they are responsible for deciding the parameters of their idea — of determining which particular women fit their idea of “women” — and which do not. Thus all Planned Parenthood’s various representations of the “women” they support implicitly carry an ought, a demand upon particular women to — insofar as they want to fit under the category of “women” — conform to their parameters. This is hardly controversial. When Planned parenthood speak for “women,” saying…

…they imply that all particular women ought to speak in like manner. When Planned Parenthood depict women — whether in advertisement, Facebook graphic, or universal statement like “women have a right to decide what goes on in their own bodies” — they are implicitly defining the borders of a category, saying what women ought to be — if they are to fit the category of “woman.” If their portrayal of women is of healthy, self-determined, powerful individuals in charge of their own destiny, they are implicitly making the claim that particular women ought to participate in these traits.

If this true — and I think it is, the only alternative being that Planned Parenthood are entertaining the delusion that 100% of particular women appreciate them — the question becomes, “How does Planned Parenthood define their idea of women?”

Unfortunately, the answer has recently been — “as a weak, dependent, incapable and mono-chromed creature.” I am not so foolish as to believe this is intentional. I do not doubt that the folks pouring over which shade of white works best with pink like women and desire that they thrive like Lebanon cedars. No, this lameness is the fruit of the fact that Planned Parenthood are working to establish a narrative within which their political demands achieve their highest possible level of public appeal. Women are made to look like invertebrate victims, not because those artisans of ideology believe this of women, but because placing women in the position of an invertebrate victim serves the higher cause of convincing a public to support the goals of Planned Parenthood. A healthy idea of women is an unintentional casualty of Planned Parenthood’s war for political victory.

In the next section, we’ll take a gander at what this idea is, where it comes from, and what it demands of particular women. Till then, stay in school. 

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  • DKeane123

    If Planned Parenthood are going to be factual about which women they “stand with,” “support” and “trust,” their category of “women” must mean “the 43% of women who are not directly opposed to our demand for increased access to abortion.”

    Why does it always have to be all or none? Is it impossible to stand for women, even if some of them disagree with the services that are offered? Would you apply this same logic to every other organization you had dealings with? Wouldn’t a hospital stand for the health of all their patients, even if they offered blood transfusions that JWs reject? As an atheist my children go to a YMCA for after-school care, do I agree with everything the YMCA stands for? Certainly not, but some of their services are very useful, and I feel they generally do good for the community at large.

    • Montague

      Because if they tell a woman (say my mum) who opposes abortion that she is wrong, they are either not standing with, supporting, and trusting that woman’s judgement. The only way they can claim to be supporting her is to appeal to “what is truly good for women as a category to have;” or else, they must state instead that they support those women who wish for more access to abortion, but not those who don’t. One cannot support/oppose both positions (more abortion or not more abortion, that is, A v ~A) without arguing some sort of more basic similarity between the two.

      [To use your example: If JW’s said that blood transfusions are evil and should not be offered to anyone, then that idea is not supported by offering blood transfusions anyway. In the case of the YMCA, you seem to be treating it as defined, not by its ideology, but by its offering of a product or service; that product or service need not entail the ideological basis of the institution; it only entails ideas on which you and the YMCA agree. Abortion, on the other hand, entails ideas on which (say) my mum and Planned Parenthood do not agree upon.

      You see the same thing in the whole controversy over the Christian baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex union. Although the baker would and had been selling goods to people with same-sex attraction, the idea necessary for selling (say) a bagel is agreed upon by both the baker and the customer; whereas the idea necessary for a wedding-cake was not.]

      I hope this is useful and clarifies things a bit, but I rather doubt it will help much /: If it doesn’t add to clarifying what Marc’s reasoning is, then I apologize.

      • DKeane123

        “In the case of the YMCA, you seem to be treating it as defined, not by its ideology, but by its offering of a product or service;…”. But I guarantee that the leadership of the YMCA and I do not agree on the resurrection. We have significant ideological differences.

        Should the baker have a right to not bake a cake for atheists or Asians?

        • Montague

          No, I am entirely agreeing that you do not agree with the YMCA’s ideology; I am claiming it seems unlikely that you disagree with the necessary ideology of the service that you use, which they happen to provide. You, at least, have nothing damning against their daycare policy, no?

          Maybe if he was a baker for communion wafers 😛
          The point was that the baker *does not* refuse services of a “neutral” ideological value (one which implies an agreed-upon idea between that baker and the customer) – such as a bagel – to persons which whom the baker has vehement ideological differences. However, the baking of a “wedding-cake” in particular requires that the baker *act* under an ideology or idea contrary to the baker’s own. Insofar as the baker’s idea of marriage is religious as well as civil, I am assuming that (even if/even when) the law declares same-sex unions to be marriage, since this must be a civil and not religious definition, there will be no legal basis for forcing the baker to bake cakes. But my legal experience is… well, I have none. So Who knows what will happen?

          But transferring over from the legal right to the right of (natural?) law: my position as a Christian includes my having to believe and act according to the precept that race is no grounds for withholding business; nor even being an enemy allows me to withdraw charity. So I must sell bagels to atheists and Asians. If by cake you mean wedding cake, then it depends not on race or religion, but what is (again) meant by wedding. I cannot support the customer’s definition of marriage if it directly opposes (though, I assume, I may support it if it is merely incomplete, rather than opposing) the Christian, sacramental view of marriage.

          If you do not hold the same position as a Christian, you may simply deny the premises that lead to such a policy; however, to make this denial part of legal action means a legal/societal war against the tenets of our Christian Faith itself, against which I would assume you and I share common precepts against. But then that depends on what views of government we may or may not share, and so on and on it goes…

          I am sorry if this is not well-put; I am trying to formulate what is much better-put, in other documents by other writers, through inference; so please forgive me if I’m obtuse.

        • The original Mr. X

          “Should the baker have a right to not bake a cake for atheists or Asians?”
          “Atheists” and “Asians” are categories of people, whereas “a same-sex wedding ceremony” is an event. The two are fundamentally different.
          Tell me, do you think that a gay baker should have the right not to cater for a Westboro Baptist Church fundraising event? What about a black baker for a KKK rally, or a Jewish baker for a Neo-Nazi parade?

          • cminca

            The “event” isn’t the customer–the people are.

            As for your hypotheticals–NO, the gay baker should not have the right to discriminate against the WBC, because they are a religion and religion is the only non-inherent trait that the law says people cannot be discriminated for.

            As for the KKK rally or the Neo-nazis–political affiliation is not a protected class, therefore the black or jewish baker would, supposedly, be within their rights. I, however, think that they SHOULD serve the KKK or the neo-nazis. For the simple reason that the bakers would prove themselves better human beings.

            There was an episode of the West Wing where Toby told the story of a family friend who was in a concentration camp. The friend spoke of seeing another inmate, on his knees in the mud, praying. The second inmate tells the first that he is thanking God. When asked “for what?” the second inmate says “For not making me like them.”

            So while I know that the black, jewish, or gay baker may want to say no–I would hope that they would say yes. If only to maybe open a dialogue.

            But I guess your religion just teaches you to judge.

          • The original Mr. X

            “The “event” isn’t the customer–the people are.”

            Yeah, people who are trying to get them to cater for an event. There’s a difference between not catering at an event and not catering to a class of people, period. In at least one of the recent cases — I think it was the one involving the florist — the gay couple in question were regular customers without any problem.

            “As for your hypotheticals–NO, the gay baker should not have the right to discriminate against the WBC, because they are a religion and religion is the only non-inherent trait that the law says people cannot be discriminated for.”
            We’re talking about what the law should be, not about what it is. Should the law allow people not to cater for official WBC events (note — not members of the WBC in a capacity as individual citizens)? And even if you personally think that people should cater for such events, to “maybe open a dialogue” or whatever, should people who think otherwise be compelled to do so by law?
            (And incidentally, what on earth makes you think that the WBC, the KKK, or Neo-Nazis would be open to dialogue in the first place? For genuine dialogue to take place, you need a certain amount of respect on both sides, respect which is conspicuously lacking in these cases.)

          • cminca

            An “official WBC event” is a religious event. They would be being denied flowers because of their religion.

            You want to be able to deny service? Fine.

            As a Unitarian I hold a firmly held religious belief that the CC is the whore of Babylon. If Hobby Lobby wins I guess I can fire the 15 Catholics working for me because of my religious belief.

            They have kids, and we live in a small rural community with no jobs–but that isn’t my problem. Because the government now says I can discriminate.

            (BTW–the above is a hypothetical. But you better be prepared. Because someday you are going to be the one truly being persecuted. Not just in you mind.)

            Finally–google Bryon Widner. People can change.

          • The original Mr. X

            Again, you’re conflating “refusing to serve at a particular event” with “refusing to associate with a class of people”. As a Unitarian you are (or ought to be) perfectly at liberty not to cater for a Catholic baptism party or a Knights of Columbus fundraiser or whatever. That’s not the same as refusing to serve Catholics in situations which have nothing to do with religion, still less is it the same as refusing to employ them.
            And what does Hobby Lobby have to do with anything? They’re complaining about being forced to pay for other people’s contraception. How on earth did you get from “Buy your own condoms” to “I refuse to employ any Catholics, at all, ever”?

          • cminca

            You don’t understand the laws of public accommodation. I don’t have time to explain them to you even if I thought you could understand them or would be willing to accept them as a law that protects all of us–
            I can’t refuse to serve the KOC because of their religion at ANY TIME.
            Hobby Lobby is claiming that they shouldn’t have to follow a law based on their religious convictions. This will become representational of all discrimination laws via the slippery slope Catholics love to argue with.
            Because if they can ignore that law–what stops me from ignoring the law that says I have to serve blacks at a lunch counter? When all I have to say is that that is against my religious convictions.
            All that being said–this conversation is as productive as talking to a head of broccoli. Over and out.

          • The original Mr. X

            “Because if they can ignore that law–what stops me from ignoring the law that says I have to serve blacks at a lunch counter? When all I have to say is that that is against my religious convictions.”
            Well for one thing, there’s a clear public interest argument in making sure everybody can get food, but the public interest in making employers subsidise their employees’ sex lives is somewhat less evident.
            Incidentally, how do you feel about conscientious objectors? Because having enough troops in the army seems far more obviously beneficial than giving out free condoms. So if the US gets embroiled in a major war and government announces that it’s going to draft people into the army, should pacifists be forced to serve in combat roles? Would it make any difference if they’re pacifists because of secular reasons as opposed to religious ones?

          • You wouldn’t necessarily get to fire them (as a hypothetical). If Hobby Lobby wins, business owners would still have to bring suit under the RFRA, but business owners would have standing to sue for a violation of free exercise imposed upon their business (as opposed to them more directly). So you’d still have to prove that hiring Catholics was a substantial burden and that the government didn’t have a compelling reason to prevent you from discriminating against Catholics in your hiring/firing practices.

      • JethroElfman

        Except that they’re not telling your mom she’s wrong for opposing abortion. Your mom gets to control her own body and doesn’t have to have an abortion! Hurray for her. PP says every woman gets her own choice. There’s an irony here if your mother feels persecuted for not being able to force her choice onto everyone else. Who made your mother or your church or you into the arbiter of all women?

        • Montague

          Actually, they do. One can’t say “people should support abortion,” and “it’s okay to oppose abortion” at the same time; and in the case of specific laws or policies, you’re going to vote yea or nay.

          Insofar as abortion has specific metaphysical or ideological principles which must be accepted, either urging for, or against it declares one side an “arbiter of all women.”

          ((But I’m not adding here anything you (at least oughtn’t to have) not heard before; so if you take issue with this position please take it up with someone who has the time to argue about it (i.e. people who have blogs for this sort of thing, as opposed to moi, a mere [connoisseur/shiftless and bored couch potato] who reads them on occasion). My only purpose is to try to produce clarity, not (in practice) to convince you. The first is quaintly quixotic, and the second is flat-out impossible as a goal: this is the internet, after all. I’m sure we can commiserate about that, so I beg your understanding and charity, as one comment-section heckler to another.))

          • JethroElfman

            I guess you’re right. It would be like saying, “We love gay people, but they can’t get married.”

            You said ‘quixotic’. On July 5 I get to see Man of La Mancha!!! My destiny calls and I gooooooo!!!!!!!

          • john smith

            No, your example is more like “Jethro loves his sister, why can’t he marry her?”

            Or “Zebediah loves five women. Why can’t he marry them all?”

          • Montague

            Will I eventually get around to reading the entirety of Don Quixote? Nay, ’tis an impossible dream xD

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I think you make a straw man. Having the right to abortion is not the same as when “The Inspired Word of Jesus” gives the perfectly just, holy, loving, and merciful command to slaughter everything that breathes but keep the virgins for yourselves. Unpacking that command, Jesus asked his followers to kill everything including obviously pregnant women, then take the rest of the women captive, and then determine if they are virgins in the usual way of the day (having sex with a woman over a white sheet without her consent is under the crime of RAPE). Finally, each woman without hymen first-time breakage is killed (some are probably pregnant, their zygotes and foetuses, unknown to all but Jesus, aborted).

            Just as every woman has the right to divorce every women should have the right to abortion, free to choose whether their individual right is ever exercised by themselves or not.

          • Montague

            Actually I don’t believe in a (moral) right to divorce, except in cases of prior intentional (marriage) contractual violation on the part of the other party. (In other words I think Marriage is till death and obligates love etc. just read the CCC or whatever)

            …I think you mean double standard, not straw man… I’m not here to debate the ethics of Mosaic law – firstly, I’m not an expert; secondly, this is not the subject of the post; thirdly, I have not the time; fourthly, you can easily look up arguments concerning the matter explicated in other apologetic blogs or in Church documents, so it’s better if you go there instead of here. Seriously, don’t ask a random commenter like me, ask someone you know is qualified to argue for our side.

            [[PS: I will briefly point out that arguing a double standard in this case can lead to either 1) not condemning both parts, or 2) condemning both parts. Not to say that you have to take that position, but merely that the ‘argument’ (I’m afraid I couldn’t quite decipher your syntax) as presented compares the two, rather than distinguishes between them.]]

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I was contrasting not being punished for choosing the option of abortion versus Jesus punishing Jews had they not forcefully aborted all those zygotes, foetuses, and fetuses (among other heinous things in the above commandment).

            PS. If you are against abortion, I am with you. If you are for abortion, I am with you. If you want me to help you stop women from having abortions, I will ask you how. If you say, “Help me enact legal punishments against women who have aborted and people who perform abortions,” I am against you.

          • Montague

            As I said, I’m not here to debate about the Lord’s command to Moses etc. But it’s not a question of abortion per se (You can argue it is genocide, but that is war against an entire peoples, and so it’s not condoning societal abortion anymore than war condones societal – that is, private – murder.).

            I do not see how you can be both for and against abortion…

            (I would not wish for people to be jailed for their abortions, since it is/was legal when committed and they need all the healing -and forgiveness- we could possibly provide, unless it’s abortionists who committed malpractice, in which case they would be in trouble with the law anyways. But Abortion needs to end, and it needs to end now. Support women, change culture, yes, but that’s in no way a *precondition* of abortion being wrong, merely the proper response of the effort to end it. – That’s my position as far as I understand it.)

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I am for and against abortion because I do not make it so that some people can make choices for other people. Hyperbolic example:

            Montague: “You see abortion as the correct choice for your situation- too bad! In this matter I rule that you must incubate this child for someone else/ that the child exists trumps what you do with your own life.”

            Me: “The developing child cannot be developed by anyone else. It has never been a person before and is not yet capable of being more than an organ of it’s mother. Since you are the one who has deal with all of the pregnancy, you should make the choices. I SUPPORT YOU whether YOU CHOOSE to go through with the pregnancy or whether YOU CHOOSE to have an abortion.”

            I get war. I get that bad things happen in war. I do not GET SPECIFIC ORDERS to forcefully give abortions to and kill women from someone every follower claims is NOT a ‘might equals right’ moral relativist when it is clear that a lot if not most of what he commands is simply because, “I’ll hurt you and your loved ones”, possibly with some justification that explaining how these commandments are good for everybody would somehow make them ineffective to do good- and by the way, Jesus is all powerful. I am left at a loss for how any consequences could trouble the person who has full control of the story at every point. The worst “sin” is that these arguments are not even made by Jesus but by the mouths of other people and the pen strokes of writers.

          • Montague

            You are for (and most certainly not against) abortion *in the sense which the debate is argued publicly*. You may support abortion or not aborting in specific instances, but you here admit some class of abortions as morally correct; that is to say even though you are (quite reasonably) not for abortion in every case, you are certainly for abortion as a possibility. I on the other hand (in concord with Catholic teaching on the matter) oppose all abortion (extreme corner cases where the life of both mother and child are in exceeding danger, and medical science has no ability to save both, then there may be a possibility of choosing to save the mother at the expense of the child. But at that point it should not properly be called abortion, since we do not need to actively kill one, merely save only one, as if from a shipwreck.)

            The short answer is “I am for choice – that we do not take away the child’s choice to live.” But to argue against your premises and defend mine are, again, not my purpose here. If you want the arguments I will gladly post links to the relevant documents – although I’d much rather you look for them yourself (hint: the Vatican website has Humanae Vitae, with the sort of mothership argument from which people like Marc Barnes, Peter Kreeft, etc. get their stuff).

            As I said, please look up someone(s) competent (read: NOT Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins) to explain the Church’s position on the matter. Seriously. You’ve gotta look up the best arguments from the highest authorities on the matter before your (understandable) lack of understanding becomes an actual argument for Christian hypocrisy. (Preferably, research an argument from someone recognized by the Vatican.)

            Best of luck!

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        The only way planned parenthood does not support you mum is if they followed Jesus’ ways in the old testament and Revelation in which he forces many pregnant women to get abortions (and kills the women, too). Or did you mean they don’t support your mum’s “right” to support punishment for those who go against these ant-right-to-abort peoples’ wills?

        • Montague

          I’m confused… did you insert one too many negative qualifiers in that last sentence, or am I just not reading it right?

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            “… “right” to support punishment *for those who go against* these ant-right-to-abort peoples’ wills?”

            Your mum hypothetically votes for legal punishment of people who disagree with her and people like her and abort anyway is the gist of what I meant.

          • Montague

            I argue for legal prevention, not bringing to a crimes tribunal. As much as I’d like the leaders of this holocaust to be in jail, I’d no more start witch-hunts to punish the individual women who got abortions than I’d put every German under trial for being Nazi supporters. I don’t think they are all murderers, just that many of them have committed manslaughter. Healing and support are the main matter in order.

            But abortion haves got to stop.

            Also, there are correct instances in which we should urge legal punishment against people who act on philosophies we disagree with. For example, if Albert thought murder was morally okay, I’d still be justified in making laws against murder that extend to him as well as me. And as you might remember, the argument against abortion is the argument that it is murderous…

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            An organ does not have the ability to be murdered nor object to being murdered. It can’t do much of anything but move like a muscle and involuntarily die if the mother has a hormonal imbalance or a conflicting blood type or a medical condition that makes the mother prone to miscarriage or etc. None of those things are murderers. They are organ rejection.

            A baby can cry and have experiences and learn and be cared for by people who did not create he/she, etc. Unless something is wrong in the separate and whole body of the baby itself or some accident happens, a murderer is the only other way to kill it. If the birth mother has a fall, gets a hormonal imbalance, dies, gets punched in the stomach, etc, a baby will not necessarily die but a not fully human organ would always be at risk.

          • Montague

            Thankfully for prenatal humans, they are not organs… I mean, no more than in the sense that we are organs.

            But my point was the premises of political action, not whether those premises were true. *Given that* one holds (“fetuses are human life, and that human life is sacred/has the right to life/is a person) *then* one’s position of (opposing abortion) is consistent with one’s held views and ought to be done at least in consideration of conscience.

            I don’t plan to argue about my premises here, though, since it’s addressed and summarized in a far better fashion by other people, whether Sacred or Secular, Christian or Atheist or something else, in numerous other places; to which if you insist I could direct you for convenience, but would appreciate if you researched on your own.

    • Why does it always have to be all or none? Is it impossible to stand for women, even if some of them disagree with the services that are offered?

      The point is, Planned Parenthood uses an all-or-none rhetoric. They do not claim to speak for “women-who-want-to-avoid-children” or to stand with “women-who-put-careers-first” or any such category: they claim to speak for and stand with “women” simpliciter. They accuse their opponents of being “anti-woman”. They are the ones who are doing the generalizing.

      I don’t see hospitals or the YMCA generalizing their rhetoric in any similar ways, so I don’t see what it is you’re trying to compare. If I’m missing something, could you point out the specific example(s) you have in mind?

      • DKeane123

        I would state they are interested in improving the reproductive health of all women, regardless if you want or approve of abortion. That essentially supports all women who have the ability to reproduce. It appears to me that the author is trying to imply that a non-existent line in the sand has been drawn by PP. The same way I could draw the same line for the YMCA or a hospital.

        • The author doesn’t imply it at all; he outright states as much: Planned Parenthood is staking a claim on what women ought to consider “improvement” and “reproductive health.”

          However, this is exactly the point on which many women claim Planned Parenthood does not speak for or stand with them.

          Women (and men) who consider abortion itself (or chemical contraception, or sterilization, or any number of things that PP claims are essential to “women’s reproductive health) to be harmful to women are, by Planned Parenthood’s rhetoric, being lumped into an “anti-woman” category.

          No matter who is right or wrong on the abortion debate, it seems indisputable that Planned Parenthood is using rhetoric which claims to speak for women as a whole group. Since they clearly do not speak for every woman, nor even for the numerical majority of women, they must be speaking for an ideal of women, implying a moral position that women should cling to, whether they do so in fact or not. In other words, they are indeed drawing a line in the sand. They say, on this side is good for women and on that side is bad, no matter how many women actually think that way.

          There’s nothing wrong with drawing lines in the sand, by the way. Especially in a debate, it’s a good thing. But it’s important to know what you’re doing. It’s important not to have the illusion that you are speaking representatively for others, when you are in fact arguing for an ideal.

          • oregon nurse

            “t’s important not to have the illusion that you are speaking
            representatively for others, when you are in fact arguing for an ideal”

            And that’s exactly the illusion they want women like DKeane123 not to notice. PP depends on women feeling unwomanly, weird, uncool, just plain wrong if they are outside the all encompassing group of women that PP represents.

          • ansuz

            It is the option of those things (abortion, chemical contraception, sterilization, etc.) that is essential to the health of women, as a group, and for them to be able to live their lives as they see fit. Restricting those options restricts the ability of uterus-owners to run their own lives.
            A woman deciding for herself that chemical contraception is not for her — nothing wrong with that. A woman trying to restrict the ability of other women to access chemical contraception? That is anti-woman.

            “Trust women” = trust each woman to know what is best for her — women who are making judgments about other women’s health and reproductive choices are overstepping their boundaries

          • The original Mr. X

            “It is the option of those things (abortion, chemical contraception, sterilization, etc.) that is essential to the health of women, as a group,”
            Actually there’s a positive correlation between easy availability of abortion and maternal death rates.

          • ansuz


          • The original Mr. X

            Here you go:

            As for your statement that “when abortion is easily available, people with higher-risk pregnancies will tend to abort”, you’ve also got to consider the effect that making abortion available will have on the care of women who carry their pregnancies to term. To take just one obvious example, channelling money into making abortion more available can mean that there is less money available for after-birth care, employing midwives, etc.

          • purr

            Lifesitenews is not a citation.

          • ansuz

            Eh, the real reason to not trust its conclusions is the fact that was vague about the sources, the actual data, and, oh, kinda everything.

          • The original Mr. X

            You can check the statistics by going onto the WHO website and looking them up.

          • ansuz

            It’s not that simple. My supervisor last summer was on a WHO panel, writing a report. Epidemiology is complicated.

          • ansuz

            I am skeptical of articles that draw conclusions from statistics when they don’t properly cite their sources so that we can go check that the methodology of the data collection is appropriate for the use being made of the numbers.

            That article didn’t link the IPPF acknowledgement, didn’t link or even give the title of the WHO report, did not say anything about the criteria used to judge which deaths count as maternal mortality and which count as general mortality and whether or not the criteria were the same throughout, did not link the Amnesty International report or any refutations, did not say anything about how people either obtaining abortions or giving birth in countries of which they are not residents were counted, failed to discuss any details of abortion laws in the countries it used as examples, did not say anything about setting a control with general health care outcomes, and barely gave any actual numbers.
            I looked (briefly) for the IPPF thing, but couldn’t find anything.
            That was all the energy I had to put into that, and I can’t justify drawing any conclusions for myself from that article.

            “To take just one obvious example, channelling money into making abortion more available can mean that there is less money available for after-birth care, employing midwives, etc.”

            Why should this be? If you’ve got a constant level of unintended pregnancies, your final bill is going to get smaller with each person who chooses to get an early abortion; early abortion is cheap and easy, and we have the technology to make it even cheaper and easier. We’ve got telemed, we can train nurses and midwives and GPs and doulas and pharmacists. Check this out, it’s really cool (ignore the stuff about terminology, that’s irrelevant):

            These sorts of things free up family planning money to put towards stuff like prenatal and neonatal treatment, birth, etc.

          • ansuz

            Because this doesn’t match the data I’ve seen, and it really shouldn’t be the case; when abortion is easily available, people with higher-risk pregnancies will tend to abort.
            (Incidentally, I’ve seen data analyses suggesting that this drives up the rate of complication of later abortions — people are not randomly grouped into ‘carries pregnancy to term’ or ‘obtains later abortion’. If the risks of the average pregnancy are (arbitrarily) assigned a value of 0.5 (with 0 being no risk and 1 being everyone’s going to die), the group ‘voluntarily carries pregnancy to term’ is going to be pretty close to 0.5 in risk, while the group ‘obtains later abortion’ is going skew to higher-risk (increased risk [e.g., if the pregnant person is diagnosed with cancer] being one reason for later abortions), maybe the group average hovering around 0.75.
            This means that you can’t compare the two groups and say all else being equal the rate of complication in giving birth is [what we observe when abortion is accessible] and the rate of complication [EDIT: add ‘for later abortions’ here] is [what we observe], because all else isn’t equal.)

          • Except some women (myself included) reject the notion that those options are essential to women’s health. So an organization claiming to speak for all women is overstepping its boundaries – because it doesn’t speak for all women.

          • purr

            Regardless of what you think, preventing pregnancy IS essential to woman’s health, since pregnancy IS not a state of wellness, and is in fact the #2 killer of women worldwide.

            The majority of women will not stay abstinent their entire lives. And many many women suffer from painful debilitating periods. Just because YOU are in a position where you can live a life of abstinence and have perfect painless periods does not mean that everyone else has it so easy.

            FACT = contraception helps women, period.

          • Again…not a fact. The WHO lists hormonal contraception as a carcinogen. NuvaRing has been strongly linked with strokes and blood clots. Women should be given this information and should weigh it with their desire to prevent pregnancy, regularize their cycles, and/or avoid painful periods. But contraception isn’t the “magic pill” to end all problems. And pregnancy is a state of wellness – and so is not being pregnant (provided its not due to infertility)! Plenty of women get pregnant and give birth every year. Its a normal, natural consequence of a normal, natural act. Death comes from complications, lack of adequate medical care, and lack of nutrition. This isn’t an issue of “regardless of what you think” or regardless of what I think. Pregnancy isn’t and never will be a disease. Strep throat is a disease. Cancer is a disease. Plenty of people die from driving cars – but my “state of wellness” doesn’t change the moment I get behind the wheel.
            I don’t actually intend to be abstinent my entire life. I do, however, intend to get married before having sex.

          • purr

            Considering the fact that pregnancy is the leading cause of death amongst girls aged 15-19 worldwide I would say that contraception = safer.

          • Then you (assuming you are a 15-19 year old girl, or making a role play decision) should choose to use contraception. I (as a 15-19 year old girl), would not choose to use contraception. But again, it isn’t a “magic pill” that will solve all health problems with no side effects.

          • purr

            Abortion and contraception are safer than pregnancy.

          • purr

            Plenty of women get pregnant and give birth every year. Its a normal, natural consequence of a normal, natural act.

            Pregnancy might be natural, it might be normal, but a woman is less healthy if pregnant. A normal pregnancy causes negative health effects – suppressed immune system, high blood pressure, the fetus takes sugar from the blood (can cause diabetes), iron (anemia) and calcium (which can lead to osteoperosis). It loosens the gums and leads to dental losses. It takes a toll on the body. And birth and labour itself often involve tearing and often maim and even permanently disable the woman.

            Each year in the U.S., about 800 women die of pregnancy-related complications and 52,000 experience emergencies such as acute renal failure, shock, respiratory distress, aneurysms and heart surgery. That’s about 2% of births per year. 25% will suffer permanent physical maiming or injury.An additional 34,000 barely avoid death.
            Maternal death in the US is about 22/100,000, or about 0.022%

            A 27.22% risk of permanent injury, disability and even death. Is this not enough risk for you? Should you be forced to risk this to preserve life? Should anyone? Why do you get to choose for women? Why is your view on risk assessment more valid than the person who is actually facing the risk?

            Data modeling suggesting 21/100,000 US maternal mortality rate

            In 2004/2005, 1.7 million women per year suffered adverse health effects






            Normal, frequent
            or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

            exhaustion (weariness
            common from first weeks)

            altered appetite
            and senses of taste and smell

            nausea and vomiting
            (50% of women, first trimester)

            heartburn and indigestion


            weight gain

            dizziness and light-headedness

            bloating, swelling,
            fluid retention


            abdominal cramps

            yeast infections

            congested, bloody

            acne and mild skin

            skin discoloration
            (chloasma, face and abdomen)

            mild to severe backache
            and strain

            increased headaches

            difficulty sleeping,
            and discomfort while sleeping

            increased urination
            and incontinence

            bleeding gums


            breast pain and

            swelling of joints,
            leg cramps, joint pain

            difficulty sitting,
            standing in later pregnancy

            inability to take
            regular medications

            shortness of breath

            higher blood pressure

            hair loss

            tendency to anemia

            curtailment of ability
            to participate in some sports and activities

            including from serious and potentially fatal disease

            (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with
            non-pregnant women, and
            are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)

            extreme pain on

            hormonal mood changes,
            including normal post-partum depression

            continued post-partum
            exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section
            — major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to
            fully recover)

            Normal, expectable,
            or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

            stretch marks (worse
            in younger women)

            loose skin

            permanent weight
            gain or redistribution

            abdominal and vaginal
            muscle weakness

            pelvic floor disorder
            (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers
            and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal
            incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus,
            the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)

            changes to breasts

            varicose veins

            scarring from episiotomy
            or c-section

            other permanent
            aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed
            by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)

            increased proclivity
            for hemmorhoids

            loss of dental and
            bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

            higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s

            newer research indicates
            microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and
            mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

            Occasional complications
            and side effects:

            complications of episiotomy


            hyperemesis gravidarum

            temporary and permanent
            injury to back

            requiring later surgery
            (especially after additional pregnancies)

            dropped (prolapsed)
            uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other
            pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele,
            and enterocele)

            (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated
            with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)

            eclampsia (convulsions,
            coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

            gestational diabetes

            placenta previa

            anemia (which
            can be life-threatening)


            severe cramping

            (blood clots)

            medical disability
            requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of
            many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother
            or baby)

            diastasis recti,
            also torn abdominal muscles

            mitral valve stenosis
            (most common cardiac complication)

            serious infection
            and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

            hormonal imbalance

            ectopic pregnancy
            (risk of death)

            broken bones (ribcage,
            “tail bone”)


            numerous other complications
            of delivery

            refractory gastroesophageal
            reflux disease

            aggravation of pre-pregnancy
            diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5%
            of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment
            prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

            severe post-partum
            depression and psychosis

            research now indicates
            a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments,
            including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors

            research also now
            indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity
            in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

            research also indicates
            a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary
            and cardiovascular disease

            Less common (but
            serious) complications:

            peripartum cardiomyopathy


            magnesium toxicity

            severe hypoxemia/acidosis

            massive embolism

            increased intracranial
            pressure, brainstem infarction

            molar pregnancy,
            gestational trophoblastic disease
            (like a pregnancy-induced

            malignant arrhythmia

            circulatory collapse

            placental abruption

            obstetric fistula

            permanent side effects:

            future infertility

            permanent disability



            All normal, completely natural side effects of pregnancy. And pushing a watermelon sized object out of something the size of an orange isn’t ‘healthy’ .

          • Pregnancy has risks. So does Advil. So does chemotherapy. So does life. Don’t want to risk the adverse affects of pregnancy? Don’t have sex. Don’t want to risk the adverse effects of Advil? Don’t take Advil. Much of what we do is just that – a risk assessment. But just because not all women accept that the risk of pregnancy is worth the risk of contraception or abortion (not to mention the grave sin) doesn’t make them stupid or uninformed or not real women. Planned Parenthood and other groups have tried to turn the Hobby Lobby case into a narrative about how poor, helpless women are victimized by awful, bullying men. But that narrative isn’t true. First of all, women aren’t helpless. We’re capable of thought and logic and reason. We don’t need anyone to speak for us. And I certainly didn’t tell Planned Parenthood they spoke for me. Second of all, women are capable of going out and buying contraception – and paying for it! The Hobby Lobby case doesn’t say women can’t use contraception – but it does say that their employers (who have a religious objection to contraception) don’t have to cover it. Women who want coverage of contraception should find an employer who covers it or negotiate for their employer to cover it.

          • purr

            You act as if people can easily remain abstinent. Real life does not work that way. People should be allowed to have a healthy sex life without the threat of pregnancy. Also, reproductive coercion happens. Not all women are in a position of strength where they can just say no. And those dead 15-19 year olds are sold as sex slaves to their husbands.

            Not everyone is as privileged as you.

          • Life isn’t about things being easy. And where in the rule book did it say that “people should be allowed to have a healthy sex life without the threat of pregnancy.” Pregnancy comes from sex. That’s not groundbreaking news.

            Rape and sexual assault happens. Sex trafficking and child marriages happen. Abortion happens. All are tragedies. Does the fact that many children have died as a result of bombs in the Middle East diminish the tragedy of those who died as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing? No. The tragedy of sexual assault does not diminish the tragedy of abortion anymore than the tragedy of murder diminishes the tragedy of rape.

            Again, Hobby Lobby isn’t about criminalizing contraception. It will still be available in CVS aisles and in pharmacies around the country. And despite all the statistics, all the claims that pregnancy is unhealthy, all the fear-mongering and name-calling, Planned Parenthood still does not speak for all women – which seems to be the central point of Marc’s argument. It takes one counterexample to disprove a mathematical proof. Well, here’s one counterexample. I’m a woman and Planned Parenthood doesn’t speak for me.

            As to my privilege or my menstrual cycle, you are making assumptions. You are free to continue to make those assumptions and to post them. But they remain assumptions and you have no way to verify them. This will be the only time I shall answer those ad hominem attacks.

          • snogo

            I normally do not read Marc’s blog because I’m not its usual demographic. I’m a 36-year-old woman, and mother of five children. So, I’m just livin’ the dream while Marc and most of his young readers are philosophizing about it. And I even more rarely comment because Disqus and my iPhone do not get along at all.

            Anyway, I had to jump in because this conversation between two women who have not experienced pregnancy or childbirth (by their own admission) is lacking in personal experience. The two of you are debating ideas but you haven’t experienced these things, so I thought I’d add my perspective for a more well-rounded discussion.

            First, and most importantly, a vagina is not the size of an orange (and if yours is, something is wrong). It’s also not the size of a banana, a vibrator, or a penis. Vaginas are stretchy. That is their nature. (An aside: despite an average weight of around 3100 grams, a baby is also not shaped like a watermelon or bowling ball. The largest part, the head, is also about the size of an orange upon presentation.)

            The fact that you would rather jump off a cliff than experience childbirth does not make it abnormal. Birth is a normal part of being a mammal.

            The list of possible complications you have listed here would appear to be quite exhaustive, with some things (e.g., gestational diabetes) being added more than once (for emphasis?). However, missing is the fact that most women won’t experience many/any of these complications, and that most of them are treatable or even preventable. Others, like breast changes, are just a part of life on a planet with gravity. Despite our best efforts, breasts will change throughout our lives, whether we have babies or not.

            Childbearing does carry some risk. But life is also full of risk. Whether a woman experiences pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting or not, she will most definitely experience suffering. No matter her vocation or lifestyle, her life will be fraught with it, in fact.

            My children (four living, one deceased) are my greatest source of suffering. There is no doubt that motherhood is a heavy cross and a difficult road. Death, isolation, depression, and discipline struggles have all been part of my experience of motherhood. There have been days where I wanted to walk away from it because it’s so hard. (And believe me, pregnancy and childbirth were no preparation for the true difficulties of parenting.)

            But there is also no doubt that my children are also my greatest source of joy. This is not some pat platitude, but a truth of my reality as a mother. My children are funny, insightful, honest, and humble. Each of them is an incredibly unique individual that I am literally awestruck that I get to know. In parenting them, I have seen the very worst of myself as well as the very best. In serving my children, I am gradually chipping away at my worst qualities and slowly growing in my better ones. Without them, I would be a selfish bitch. I might be one anyway, but they help me to be better.

            Lieutenant, no one is forcing you to experience pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting, given that it causes you such great alarm. However, listing a laundry list of possible complications, of which you have experienced zero (how do you even know how those would feel or seem unless you’ve experienced them? Maybe they aren’t as bad once you’re there….), does not somehow render pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting a dangerous minefield. I’ve done it five times, including once via abdominal surgery (c-section). When you are in that place, it is not as scary or traumatic as it seems when you’ve never been there.

          • purr

            I had to jump in because this conversation between two women who have
            not experienced pregnancy or childbirth (by their own admission) is
            lacking in personal experience.

            I’ve never jumped out of a plane. I guess I can’t make the decision for myself ‘hey, that’s too dangerous/scary’ since I *haven’t experienced it*.

            Vaginas are stretchy. That is their nature.

            Some are actually smaller. If a woman is too small to take a penis without incredible pain, then how can she possibly handle childbirth? Some women can’t even handle a tampax. The fact that it’s stretchy doesn’t mean a goddamn thing. Besides, if it’s so magically stretchy, then please explain obstructed labour, obstetric fistulas and sympiosotomy (where they take a hacksaw to the woman’s pelvis so she can continue having babies) and epiosotomy.

            go here:

            This head looks pretty big. Definitely bigger than any orange I’ve ever had. Nope, don’t think I’d want anything that size inside my vagina, or even something the size of an organge tvym. It’s torture, as far as I am concerned.

            However, missing is the fact that most women won’t experience many/any of these complications, and that most of them are treatable or even preventable.

            And many simply are NOT preventable, and since you are not the one facing those risks, it’s not your place to decide for other people.

            Childbearing does carry some risk.

            Once again, not your place to make medical decisions for others.

            Without them, I would be a selfish bitch. I might be one anyway, but they help me to be better.

            Good for you. You have the CHOICE to live this life. The government should not make reproductive decisons for people – either to force abortions/contraception or deny it.

            However, listing a laundry list of possible complications, of which you have experienced zero (how do you even know how those would feel or seem unless you’ve experienced them? Maybe they aren’t as bad once you’re there….)

            Yeah, I may get to experience the joy of an un-predictable post partum hemmorrhage and die! Yay me! Or, I may suffer PPD or any # of auto-immune diseases after birth! Yay! I could even be so lucky as to benefit from an episotomy or vaginal tearing! I could even be lucky enough to have someone take a knife to my abdomen for a c-section! Yay! Especiall for someone who HATES the very idea of surgery.

            NO THANK YOU

            What happens to my body is my concern, and the fact is, pregnancy is not risk free, never has been, and only the person facing the risks gets to decide what happens to their body.

          • snogo

            Absolutely my point re: vaginas. They are smaller than that. Also if a woman finds intercourse painful, there is actually effective physical therapy (regardless of whether she goes on to have children or not).

            Also, I’m guessing from what you’ve written that you are unfamiliar with the politics of childbirth or the fact that birth is a primarily feminist cause. A great many progressive feminists have worked, and continue to work, very hard to protect women from barbaric birth practices like episiotomies. A good indication of a hospital’s practices is its episiotomy rate—the lower, the better.

            Your choice whether to procreate is, indeed, entirely your own. But your tone here belies some ignorance about an important factor in feminism. Birth by its nature is a woman’s issue and women are fighting pretty freaking hard for better birth practices, particularly in the US which lags behind its western counterparts in this area.

            Finally, you do not know me or my experience, as I don’t know you or yours beyond what you’ve shared here. However, as a person who has considered herself a childbirth advocate for 13 years, as well as a person who avoids western medicine for the most part, I was greatly shocked when the planned homebirth of my fifth baby turned into a c-section. But in that moment, I found that I had strength, resolve, and peace about the situation that I never would have anticipated previously. People have greater strength than they know. So, again, please do not procreate, as it’s the last thing you want to do. However, you don’t know what it’s like to face a complication with pregnancy or birth, or to experience the death of a child. I do know these things and having experienced what I have, I still wouldn’t change a thing.

          • purr

            Also if a woman finds intercourse painful, there is actually effective physical therapy

            Or maybe the person with the vagina just doesn’t want to and we should leave that decision up to them?

            Also, I’m guessing from what you’ve written that you are unfamiliar with the politics of childbirth or the fact that birth is a primarily feminist cause

            I am familiar with the homebirth/feminist movement. Women can do what they want, but that should not include FORCING other women to remain pregnant/get pregnant.

            Birth by its nature is a woman’s issue and women are fighting pretty freaking hard for better birth practices, particularly in the US which lags behind its western counterparts in this area.

            Yes, and sadly, the USA is falling behind in maternal mortality and other maternal health issues. Infant mortality is also rising.

            was greatly shocked when the planned homebirth of my fifth baby turned into a c-section.

            I just read a touching story about that subject on salon:


            And some sad stories here, about women who had a rough time of it:



            For some women, birth and pregnancy are wonderful and magical. For others, it’s hell. And for some of us, even if pregnancy and birth were pain free and full of unicorns and rainbow farts, we would still not want something inside us without our permission.

            I do know these things and having experienced what I have, I still wouldn’t change a thing.

            and more power to you. It’s a choice. A willing sacrifice. Extremely noble. But not something that should be forced on anyone. Many things are noble, but people still have the right to say no if it isn’t for them. And it isn’t noble if it’s forced.

          • ansuz

            Rejecting reality does not make it not reality. I have a uterus, and my IUD is necessary for my mental health because of my severe tokophobia. People-with-uteri as a group require* that the full spectrum of family planning technologies be available for them to use (in order for them to participate in all aspects of society as they choose), whether or not any individual woman approves or makes use of them. People-with-penii would also benefit from a greater range of family planning technologies directed at them.

            Planned Parenthood doesn’t speak for you — fair enough. I think that the host’s characterization of Planned Parenthood’s stance as speaking for women is off the mark anyway; what I see is Planned Parenthood standing with each individual woman’s choice to use or not use various family planning technologies, supporting their rights to make those decisions, and making sure that the technologies are available for those who choose to use them.

            *Meaning that some members of the group will absolutely require the technologies for reasons of life, liberty, and/or pursuit of happiness; some members of the group will live better lives with them but will not absolutely require them; and some members of the group will not find any value in using them. All of these are perfectly okay.

          • raphamello

            What the hell is tokophobia???? Oh wow. Wow. I looked it up. Wow. You’ve got problems. Sorry 🙁 That’s so sad… Like, if you knew how much Christians would pray for you (I’m sure many do). But, you know something? A fucking piece of copper in your uterus, girl, is not going to help your mental health. This may sound like tough love (sorry for cursing) but honestly… tokophobia sounds like the biggest excuse ever for getting birth control… I hope reality hits you hard and you get that thing out of you and seek *real* help for your mental health problems… Sorry 🙁

          • purr

            There’s no shame in being disgusted by pregnancy.

            i would rather jump off a cliff than give birth

          • felixcox

            Ok, claire, and do you expend this much energy denouncing the Catholic church? They claim to be the one true church. Surely you have a bone to pick with them too- at least, if your quibble with PP is really a principled one about terms…

        • Frank

          It’s quite unhealthy to have an abortion. Well there goes that argument.

          PP arguements dismantled one by one.

          • purr

            Abortion is 14x safer than pregnancy.

          • raphamello

            Oohhhh wow, Bad Catholic should have deleted all your batshit comments from this thread, they clogged the comments up dude… Seriously, and your username is Lieutenant Nun? I feel like you’re a Feminazi troll… I can’t believe Claire Rebecca gave you as much of her time as she did because honestly you don’t deserve it…

          • purr

            Show me these ‘batshit’ comments.

          • purr
          • ansuz

            That looks like an awesome book.

          • purr

            All of my comments are fact based sweetie. I am sorry that you consider ‘facts’ to be ‘batshit’ but that is your problem not mine.

            Try reading the WHO and CDC sometime. You might learn something.

          • DKeane123

            Frank! I missed you and your bald faced assertions!

      • felixcox

        This is a non-issue. If you really had a principled objection over people co-opting umbrella terms to suit their particular interests, then how can you cite the YMCA with a straight face? Not all young men are interested in christianity…

  • KarenJo12

    So, what is your view of women? Planned Parenthood correctly believes that you and your church want to restrict women to a purely domestic role and that you will enact whatever laws are necessary to achieve that end, and allow private employers to do whatever THEY want to eliminate all political and economic opportunities for us. What are you and your church doing to increase access to paid maternity leave? Day care? Good public schools? Protection against domestic violence?

    • Beth N-E

      What exactly is Planned Parenthood doing to increase access to paid maternity leave? High quality child care? Quality prenatal care for women? Oh, nothing. Their operating budget is dependent on abortion, which sort of eliminates the need for any of those things.

      To answer your questions, the Catholic Church has a long history of providing parochial schools, hospitals, adoption services, post-abortion care (as per Project Rachel), and many others WORLDWIDE. Google it.

      • cminca

        And what are you, and your church, doing to limit the number of unwanted pregnancies for women that don’t want, or cannot afford, to have (more) children?

        Two things are proven to limit unwanted pregnancy–comprehensive sex education and access to quality birth control.

        Where is the CC on promoting CSE and access to birth control? Where are you?

        This isn’t actually about “babies”. This is about controlling behavior. You and your church want to dictate what people should, or should not, be able to do. And when the country doesn’t listen you get your knickers in a twist.

        Sorry–but until you are out there promoting education and access to birth control–I’m going to call you the hypocrites you are proving yourselves to be.

        • oregon nurse

          So, because some women make bad choices ( Oh, I forgot, the only choice you seem to want/value is the choice to abort after exercising that other apparently non-choice you have no responsibility for) that’s the fault of the Catholic Church?

      • ansuz

        “Their operating budget is dependent on abortion,”
        Can you back this up? Looking at Planned Parenthood’s info, it doesn’t look like it’s possible for abortion to be more than a third (and that’s being very generous) of either its medical services revenue or its medical services expenses.

        pages 14-15, 17-19

        pie chart on percentages of abortions in different weeks

        at the links ‘the abortion pill’, ‘in-clinic abortion procedures’ on price

      • BT

        Not true. Abortion services is a fairly small portion of the total. Quite likely a net money loser for them given the litigation involved.

    • Purely domestic role? Um…what?

      • KarenJo12

        Read Casta Canubi. Your church is officially opposed to married women having any public role at all. No encyclical since that one has revoked its conclusions; therefore, the conclusion is still binding. Married women should stay home under the thumb of their husbands.

        • I am not Catholic, so “my” Church does no such thing. But, Casta Connubii also doesn’t suggest as much. It commends the role of husband and wife for making a home, and even notes that a mother may be forced to work out of home for [whatever reason] to provide for it – and this is a sad thing, but sometimes necessary.

          I just read it. Did you?

          • KarenJo12

            I’ve read the English version many times, including this part:

            74. The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected. This emancipation in their ideas must be threefold, in the ruling of the domestic society, in the administration of family affairs and in the rearing of the children. It must be social, economic, physiological: – physiological, that is to say, the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother (We have already said that this is not an emancipation but a crime); social, inasmuch as the wife being freed from the cares of children and family, should, to the neglect of these, be able to follow her own bent and devote herself to business and even public affairs; finally economic, whereby the woman even without the knowledge and against the wish of her husband may be at liberty to conduct and administer her own affairs, giving her attention chiefly to these rather than to children, husband and family.

            75. This, however, is not the true emancipation of woman, nor that rational and exalted liberty which belongs to the noble office of a Christian woman and wife; it is rather the debasing of the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood, and indeed of the whole family, as a result of which the husband suffers the loss of his wife, the children of their mother, and the home and the whole family of an ever watchful guardian. More than this, this false liberty and unnatural equality with the husband is to the detriment of the woman herself, for if the woman descends from her truly regal throne to which she has been raised within the walls of the home by means of the Gospel, she will soon be reduced to the old state of slavery (if not in appearance, certainly in reality) and become as amongst the pagans the mere instrument of man.

            76. This equality of rights which is so much exaggerated and distorted, must indeed be recognized in those rights which belong to the dignity of the human soul and which are proper to the marriage contract and inseparably bound up with wedlock. In such things undoubtedly both parties enjoy the same rights and are bound by the same obligations; in other things there must be a certain inequality and due accommodation, which is demanded by the good of the family and the right ordering and unity and stability of home life.”

    • First of all, what about the idea that people don’t have ideas on “women” anymore than they have ideas on “men.” I’m friends with some women. Others annoy me. I think that some are good writers, some are good scientists, and some are bad singers. Secondly, the Church doesn’t prevent women from working outside the home anymore that it prevents men from sharing in child care and household duties, or even staying at home. I have yet to see an examination of conscience (for Confession) that asks “Have you (as a woman) worked outside the home?” Now the Church does believe in traditional gender roles for men and women. But that doesn’t amount to “eliminat[ing] all political and economic opportunities.”

  • Gail Finke

    Well I’m a woman, and Planned Parenthood sure doesn’t speak for me. I think it’s hilarious that Marc quite ably defined a classic rhetorical device — defining something as a whole the way you think it ought to be and then treating it as if your ideal is true of the whole (dogs are “man’s best friend,” and if particular dogs hate people they are not “real” dogs) — and people immediately write in excoriating him for attacking a rhetorical device as if it’s true. “Women” don’t agree with Planned Parenthood — some women do.

    And KarenJo12, meet some actual Catholics. Catholic women — such as myself — work in all walks of life. They do not play a “purely domestic role” and our Church doesn’t tell us to. I can imagine how well THAT would go over, ha ha! It is bizarre that you hate private employers so much, a country sure can’t make it without them.

    • Asemodeus

      This post is so thick with cognitive dissonance that I’m shocked your brain didn’t explode when you hit post.

      “defining something as a whole the way you think it ought to be and then treating it as if your ideal is true of the whole…”

      “And KarenJo12, meet some actual Catholics….”


  • CarynL

    “Trust Women” obviously means that you should trust women to know what is right for them. Each, individual woman can make her own decisions. Women can make their own decisions about healthcare and about how large their families should be, and if they even want to have any children. The whole point of this is that if a woman walks into a Planned Parenthood facility and she is pregnant and doesn’t want an abortion, Planned Parenthood trusts that she has in fact thought through her decision and helps her explore her other options. They aren’t pushing any one thing. If you don’t agree with them, then you are saying that women cannot be trusted to make their own decisions. That’s it.

    • Except Planned Parenthood often does promote abortion to women, even if they are considering adoption or raising their baby. They also disparage women who disagree with their political stances and crisis pregnancy centers that provide support to women. They don’t really “trust women” if those women disagree with them.

      • purr

        Planned Parenthood offers women help, formula, diapers and advise should they wish to KEEP their child. It’s just not about preventing pregnancy and abortion. It’s about total woman’s health.

        CPC’s lie to women.

        • I don’t know if crisis pregnancy centers lie to women. And I wouldn’t accept a report from a site called “Pro-Choice Action Network” as reliable about crisis pregnancy centers. But Planned Parenthood disparages them (crisis pregnancy centers) on their website. The all-powerful “choice” would include the choice to go to life-affirming crisis pregnancy centers.
          And this isn’t so much about whether Planned Parenthood does or does not promote “total wom[e]n’s health.” I say it doesn’t, and I assume you’d say it does. The fact of the matter remains that Planned Parenthood claims to speak for all women when it doesn’t. Unless by “women” they mean “women who agree with Planned Parenthood.”

    • data_file_7

      “make their own decisions about healthcare”

      And by that you mean having a 3,000 page law detailing exactly how healthcare will be done for everyone, right?

  • TheSquirrel

    Planned Parenthood will stand by women who stand by themselves, and regardless of their personal politics, fight for the right of women to control their bodies.

  • BT

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    The survey linked above did not break out women separately that way. It’s 57% of Americans, not 57% of women.

    Actually among women in the survey, those calling themselves pro choice outnumbered those identifying themselves as pro-life by 47 to 46. Close enough that it’s a statistical tie. Call it 50/50.

    It’s more the men that skew pro life.

    I don’t have strong feelings either way, but folks should use the data properly.

    Particularly we Christians.

  • Russell

    Many of those 57% who aren’t clearly pro-choice in how they answer a survey have had or will have an abortion. So, perhaps the correct claim is that Planned Parenthood stands with women when it matters, when they are needed.

  • Asemodeus

    “57% percent of women are in favor of abortion being illegal in all or most circumstances (20%, 37%, respectively).”

    This is a example of lying with numbers. Under that same link provided, you can also say that that 80% of women are okay with abortions, the difference is by how much. If the author is trying to make his defense for his forced birther views, this polling data soundly rejects his worldview.

    Meanwhile, back to reality:

    Our Work

    Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 71 percent of our clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.

    Planned Parenthood services help prevent more than 486,000 unintended pregnancies each year.

    Planned Parenthood provides 585,000 Pap tests and nearly 640,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer.

    Planned Parenthood provides nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

    Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.

    Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs to more than one million young people and adults each year.”

    There is more to standing with women than giving them their constitutionally protect right to their own bodies. There is a host of medical and educational services PP provides that no forced birther organization even comes close too.

  • felixcox

    I can’t see why a minor marketing strategy justifies so many paragraphs. Yes, they are using a narrow version of ‘women.’ We get it. I think this is really just that Marc has a problem with abortion, and more specifically, with those who do not share his moral calculus of it.

  • That “Women are Watching” logo looks seriously Orwellian to me. CREEPY!

  • Katie

    As a woman with a mind of my own, I was extremely offended when PP and Obama came out with all this crap calling the taking of a human life “health care” and saying it was what women want. In fact a couple of years ago I made my Facebook cover a poster saying “I am a woman and Obama does not speak for me!” I have been raped, pregnant from rape and the my child’s father is an abusive and dangerous man, and I STILL will never and have never “needed” an abortion. Because I’m strong enough to be a parent, and if you think you’re not you aren’t relying on God’s strength. Because I’m a female, and to me that means a nurturer and creator of life, not a stealer of it. Because abortion is wrong, it stops a beating heart. Because God chose to give my child life. Because children, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conceptions or the disposition of their pregnant mothers, are precious! They are made in the image of God. They are innocent. And damn it, I DO want flowers and chocolate, and I hate pink! PP does not speak for me AT ALL. Caring pregnancy centers give help to women in need and present them with HUMANE options. They do not lie to women about what abortion is. They tell them the ugly truth.