Responding to Richard Mellon Scaife

Planned Parenthood took out a full-page ad in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, featuring an op-ed written by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife entitled, "Why Conservatives Should Oppose Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood."

His arguments fall on deaf ears in conservative circles.

Not only is defunding Planned Parenthood of the hundreds of millions of tax dollars it receives annually the number one priority of social conservatives, but 29 fiscal groups led by Americans for Tax Reform have come out in favor of the effort as well. So have ten of the prospective 2012 GOP presidential candidates.

But regardless, Scaife’s column contains so many half-truths it warrants a response.

First, Scaife lavishes praises upon Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. After noting that his grandmother was an early friend and supporter of Sanger he writes,

“… I respected her dedication to making health-care and birth control services available to all Americans, especially those with low incomes, no insurance, and no other resource to medical services.”

The question is… why? Why was Sanger so dedicated to providing birth control to those with low income?

The sad truth is that Sanger was an original proponent of the eugenics movement, strategically placing Planned Parenthood clinics in poor neighborhoods.  Some quotes illustrating her views:

  • “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members” (Sanger’s letter to Clarence J.Gamble, 1939, December).
  • Sanger referred to immigrants and Catholics as reckless breeders, writing in her book, Pivot of Civilization, “[They’re] an unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.” (Sanger, p.187).
  • “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it,” Margaret Sanger wrote in her 1920 book Women and the New Race (Sanger, p. 63).

Scaife must have had these quotes in mind when he wrote, "I didn't agree with everything the formidable Mrs. Sanger espoused.” So he’s clearly not ignorant of her views, he’s just refusing to connect them with the motive behind her works.

Scaife continues,

"I am aggravated by the continuing attacks on Sanger and her primary legacy, the Planned Parenthood network that still serves so many Americans today… They help to arrange adoptions for women our couples unable to raise a child but unwilling to end a pregnancy."

Indeed, Planned Parenthood is carrying on Sanger’s legacy, targeting the most vulnerable among us today. But they aren’t providing adoption services like Scaife would like to believe, they are providing abortion.

Just look at their basic stats as reported by the Chiaroscuro Foundation. In 2009, 98 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services to pregnant women were abortions. For every adoption referral Planned Parenthood made, it performed 340 abortions. All in all, Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions in 2009 alone. Abortion patients constitute 12 percent of Planned Parenthood clients and yield 37% of all PP revenues by conservative estimates. Yet, Scaife somehow manages to write with a straight face that abortion is just a “minor aspect of Planned Parenthood’s mission.”

Furthermore, Scaife also tries to argue that, without Planned Parenthood, poor Americans would have nowhere else to turn for affordable health care services:

"If not for Margaret Sanger's vision and bravery, many poor Americans would have no place to turn for birth-control measures and counseling or for other health-care services.”

This is not true. The Chiaroscuro Foundation reports that there are plenty of other options than Planned Parenthood:

“Poor women and women generally, have options for seeking primary care, contraception, STI testing, and cancer screening.

In addition to the tens of thousands of U.S. doctors and hospitals providing this care, there were 1,048 federally qualified health centers in the U.S. provide women cancer screening, contraception, and STI testing.

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that as many as 40 million Americans may come to rely on these community health centers as a result of the new federal health care law’s provisions and funding for such centers. Currently 5 percent of all Americans rely upon them.”

The overwhelming majority of conservatives recognize that Planned Parenthood is an abortion-centered organization deeply rooted in Margaret Sanger’s beliefs in destroying the ‘human weeds’ and ‘reckless breeders’ of the world. They recognize that moment for taxpayers to reject their compulsory involvement in Planned Parenthood has arrived.

If Planned Parenthood stays in business at all, it should do so on its own dime. Not ours.

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