Monday, June 25, 2012

Campbell’s Soup

If you’re in the mood to read an op-ed that is a fine example of lies, half-truths, distortions, and outright bunk about Planned Parenthood by someone who claims to be “pro-choice” but really, really concerned about the terrible image that the organization is putting forth, then go no further than the piece foisted on the world by Campbell Brown in the New York Times yesterday.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD has a large target on its back. At no time in the organization’s history has it faced such a concerted Congressional challenge to its agenda. But most worrisome is the organization’s shrinking number of defenders, and Planned Parenthood has only itself to blame. It has adopted a strategy driven by blind partisanship, electing to burn bridges instead of building them. That strategy is damaging, and possibly imperiling, its mission.

Most of Planned Parenthood’s work focuses on health care for low-income women, things like screenings for breast cancer and diabetes, and family planning. Despite the claims of its opponents that it’s solely an abortion provider, abortions represent only 3 percent of its work. Almost half of the organization’s funding (46 percent) comes from the federal and state governments, making it imperative that it have friends in both parties. But that’s tough to do when Planned Parenthood sees ideological purity as so paramount that it permeates every aspect of its strategic planning. There is almost no room for even slight deviations. Those who are not in lock step with the organization are viewed as enemies to the cause.

This mind-set will doom Planned Parenthood to failure. When an organization is willing to support only lawmakers who are with it 100 percent of the time, it virtually guarantees that the debate will be bitterly partisan.

This tome is what’s known as “concern trolling,” where a supposed ally of the cause furrows her brow and worries that Planned Parenthood might be alienating potential allies, all the while she’s really rooting for its demise.

It’s breathtakingly ironic for Ms. Brown to be so concerned about “ideological purity” on the pro-choice side when it is an everyday element of the anti-choice side. They’re now down to the level of being opposed to abortions even in the cases of rape and incest, and woe betide anyone who suggests that the life or health of the mother comes before the blastocyst; they’ll come at you with a vaginal probe, and they know how to use it. So for her to get so fretful about hurting the delicate sensibilities of the few remaining moderate Republicans who might support Planned Parenthood if only they weren’t so strident is a little much and a lot of pearl clutching. And obviously Ms. Brown is not that well acquainted with most left-leaning movements. To accuse them of marching in lockstep is sardonically hilarious: if only. (Exhibit A: Occupy Whatever.)

This is the second time the New York Times has run a piece by Ms. Brown in the last two months. Her first rumination was on how condescending President Obama is to women, and the raspberries she got for that bit of effluence are still echoing. So why they asked her back is a mystery for the ages.

(PS: The Times failed to note that Ms. Brown is married to Dan Senor, a top adviser to the Romney campaign. Just thought I’d point that out; take it for what you will.)