Thursday, November 05, 2015

GOP pursues Planned Parenthood shutdown despite no evidence of wrongdoing

By Tom Maertens, Vox Verax
Published in the Mankato Free Press
Thursday, November 5, 2015 6:00 am

House Republicans are threatening to shut down the government unless Planned Parenthood is defunded. They’ve set up four congressional committees to investigate the selling of fetal body parts, based on deceptively edited videos.

Planned Parenthood is the health provider of last resort for poor women in the U.S., some 20 percent of whom rely on it for contraception, cancer screening and treating STDs; abortions account for only 3 percent of its activities. As the Guttmacher Institute has reported, almost one-third of American women will have abortions in their lifetimes, 69 percent of them economically disadvantaged.

Seven states have already investigated the charges and found no evidence that the organization is profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, which is vital for medical research

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services found “No known violations of the country’s fetal tissue laws.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, found no evidence that Planned Parenthood misused federal funds. “Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” he concluded. Further, Planned Parenthood hasn’t used federal funding for abortions since 1976.

The self-appointed religious police know what’s best for women, though. They don’t simply reject abortion themselves, they demand the right to dictate other women’s health-care decisions, including prohibiting abortion to save the life of the mother; an ectopic pregnancy can threaten both the mother and fetus. It’s a good bet that if men got pregnant, abortion would be available on demand.

The real fanatics, the Christian jihadis, are willing to terrorize and even murder abortion providers, threaten their families, and firebomb clinics to enforce their version of Shariah, as Dr. Horvath-Cosper has documented in The Washington Post.

More than 231 state-sponsored anti-abortion laws have been introduced in the last four years, according to Guttmacher, virtually all in states dominated by Republican legislatures. Such laws don’t stop abortions; what they do is prevent safe abortions.

Strangely, the same people who oppose abortion want to make contraception difficult or impossible to obtain, which leads to more abortions.

They are also promoting personhood amendments that would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses.

Such legislation can be used to criminalize pregnancy; a woman who didn’t know she was pregnant but drank a glass of wine could be charged with criminal endangerment. The investigative website ProPublica found that at least 479 pregnant women have been prosecuted for “chemical endangerment” of their fetuses since 2006, most commonly for smoking marijuana.

The Guardian has reported that “Hundreds of women have been prosecuted — some for murder — for harms allegedly inflicted on their fetuses, even though in many cases their pregnancies ended with the birth of healthy babies.”

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women has documented more than 1,200 arrests or equivalent actions against pregnant women.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that around half of all fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted (miscarried), usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. Among women who know they are pregnant, another 15 to 20 out of every 100 will miscarry. In other words, 65 — 70 percent of all fetuses are spontaneously aborted through no effort on the part of the woman.

The anti-abortion lobby claims to be pro-life, but Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, differs: “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth.”

Abortion opponents frequently assert that women greatly regret having abortions and are emotionally scarred by the experience.

A University of California study followed 667 women for three years after their abortions and found that 95 percent of them believed they had made the right decision.

To paraphrase Schopenhauer, there is nothing in the world to which every woman has a more unassailable title than to her own life and person. That includes abortion, which is legal in every state in the Union.

Tom Maertens served as National Security Council director for nonproliferation and homeland defense under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and as deputy coordinator for counter-terrorism in the State Department during and after 9/11. He lives in Mankato.

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