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Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Morality," defunding Planned Parenthood and restricing access to sex-ed

A recent article in the NYT describes "the seige of Planned Parenthood" south of the border. There's a move by American legislators to deny any and all government funding to PP because they provide abortion services. This is in spite of the fact that PP is already barred from using government funding for abortion services by existing legislation. Of course, PP also provides family planning help and support to 1.85 million low-income women at the clinics each year in the United States. Proponents of defunding have been silent on what these women will do without PP to help them control their fertility and have their babies when they are ready, willing, and able to welcome them into their lives and families with some security.

Before we Canadians go feeling all smug and superior, shaking our heads and clucking our tongues at Americans, let's not forget our own Mr. Harper and his government have successfully ended funding to International Planned Parenthood here without even providing a reason. See this related G&M editorial and this article too for more info on that particular disaster. Old news, I know, but you see my point. In fact, there is a "Defund Planned Parenthood" Facebook site in Canada.

Seemingly unrelated, but not unrelated at all, I also noticed news this week that BC Ferries block access to sites about abortion and sex ed on their Wi Fi network. According to the article, their spokesperson says, "BC Ferries is a family show. We are offering free Wi-Fi and if customers want to view other sites that interest them, they can do it on their own time and on their own property." The implication that being pro-choice and providing necessary health information is somehow "anti-family" offends me.
In the NYT article about defunding PP, Gail Collins writes "There are tens of millions Americans who oppose abortion because of deeply held moral principles. But they’re attached to a political movement that sometimes seems to have come unmoored from any concern for life after birth." So, can we not call the anti-choice folk "anti-family"? After all, they don't seem to give one whit about what happens to all these unwanted babies in their post uterine form or to the families that struggle with them. But no one calls them anti-family.

Nice bit of writing. "Unmoored" is a good word. I'm a bit tired of the anti-choicers claiming the moral highground here. Unfortunately, Collins fails to take the next step in this argument which is to say that indeed, demanding access to abortion services and access to information about abortion or sex ed is also a "deeply moral position" and deeply "pro-family." Let's take it all the way and say, it is, in fact, a human right.
I would like, for once, to see the pro-choice position described as the one that is "deeply moral" because it is.

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