Culture At Large

Why is it so hard to be truthful about Planned Parenthood?

Dianna Anderson

In the heated world of politicized reproductive health, pro-life Christians can very often make a good, honest case. Why, then, do so many feel the need to lie instead?

By now, most everyone is aware of the actions this past week on the part of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and their relationship to Planned Parenthood. But for those of you who may not be, a quick summary: The Komen Foundation announced early in the week that they would be withdrawing their grant money from Planned Parenthood clinics, a decision they have since reversed. This grant money was used for breast-cancer screenings and mammogram referrals for low-income and impoverished women (Planned Parenthood underwrites the cost of going to a local hospital for a mammogram should a breast exam turn up any abnormalities).

One can argue back and forth for days whether or not this was a political decision, but as Christians, we need to be careful with how we approach the debate.

Over the past few days, I have seen many self-identified pro-life Christians espousing blatant falsehoods about Planned Parenthood and abortion, and that is disheartening. Our positions should be strong enough that we need not stoop to falsehoods in order to prove our point. But, here in America, we seem to have a large blind spot when it comes to Planned Parenthood. These two comments are representative of the kind appearing on the Komen Foundation’s Facebook page this morning:

The spreading of falsehoods is unbecoming of a Christian church.

Sorry, I disapprove of this change in your position. Given the fact that one of Planned Parenthood's main purposes is to refer for and perform abortions, I do not see how your money should go to them. Many studies have shown that abortion actually increases the risk of breast cancer. Also, I've heard that Planned Parenthood doesn't actually do the exams (mammograms) there, but only refers for them. They can't do that without your money??

Do you know that planned parenthood's PRIMARY mission is to preform abortions. There are HUNDREDS of other needy organizations and clinics that FOCUS on ALL women's health issues that could benefit from this foundations dollars. planned parenthood is not the ONLY organization that helps impoverished women.

The spreading of falsehoods is unbecoming of a Christian church.

Planned Parenthood, during the defunding fight last year, released their figures on distribution of funds for the 2009 fiscal year. Abortion services only accounted for 3% of their total work. The rest are cancer screenings of the type funded by Komen (16%), STI/STD testing and treatment (35%) and contraceptive services including gynecological exams (35%) and other women’s health services (10%). These are the only statistics on Planned Parenthood’s distribution of funds that are available - any others that you see are false.

We also see the resurrection of the myth that abortion causes breast cancer. This idea has been thoroughly debunked by scientific studies.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood’s abortive services are funded separately from all other services. Legally, they have to be. According to the 1976 Hyde Amendment, federal funds and grants (such as Medicaid) cannot be used for abortions. As a result, women getting abortions at Planned Parenthood are paying out of pocket, so Planned Parenthood has a network of private and individual donors who specify that they want their money used in that way - much like the Komen grants, which are specifically used only for underwriting breast-cancer screenings.

In a hotly contested issue such as abortion, where there are many personal opinions and stories on both sides, it is the Christian’s responsibility to care for their neighbor. And caring for one’s neighbor, at a very basic level, means not slandering them with lies and deceit. If we have to resort to lies and slander to make our case, we have already lost.

Topics: Culture At Large, News & Politics, North America