Everyone by now has heard of or seen the videos of Planned Parenthood officials or their affiliates discussing fetal tissue. These videos have revitalized evangelicals, especially in combination with the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage. Whether or not evangelicals are oppressed is for another day, today I want to discuss why this is something that is changing the conversation around abortion. Planned Parenthood has stated over and over again that abortions only make up 3% of their services and that donation of fetal tissue is a legal procedure.
Those facts aside, I believe that these videos have appealed to the ambivalent feelings many individuals have about fetuses and abortion in general. Data show that Americans support a woman’s right to choose and Planned Parenthood in general, even after the videos have come out. The intellectualized ideas of pro-choice vs pro-life can seem simple when not presented with discussions of limbs or beating hearts.
The issue with these videos is they only show one side of the equation. If you are going to appeal to the emotional side of voters there is a clear emotional component that reveals the importance of legal abortions. Recently Hillary Clinton, and others have remarked that this attack on Planned Parenthood is truly an attack on women and I have to agree. Here’s why. When you value a fetus over a woman you are devaluing women. When you demand to know a woman’s reasoning for her decision or force her to get and view an ultrasound in order to intimidate her you are dismissing and imposing your will on her. The notion that a womans body is a public issue is one that needs to end. Especially because as many have said before, it is generally uninformed men making these decisions. I will include a few quotes to illustrate my point.
From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that down. REP. TODD AKIN
“it’s something God intended.” SENATOR RICHARD MOURDOCK
Let me vent for a minute…..These are elected officials! They are representatives of not only their constituency but our country. Republicans are so concerned with America’s standing in the world when it comes to wars and spending but not when it comes to educating themselves about the bodies of the humans that they are attempting to legislate on. Not only that but there does exist a clear separation of church and state since the founding of America so why is no one saying anything about debates that ask about conversations with “God” or representatives making decisions for the country based on their religion, especially when they are so blatantly flouting this core part of our democracy.
And finally a quote that is generally used by pro-lifers to affirm the importance of overturning Roe V. Wade. This is a flawed argument for the same reason stated above. Unless the woman is no longer a sentient being capable of making decisions how and why would you put a fetus’ “happiness” above in importance?
Just as a fly-by aren’t conservatives trying to defund a national organization that serves low-income communities, especially in states where conservative governors have passed laws effectively closing clinics where women can get other services that would prevent a pregnancy in the first place?