Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: How the 'family values legislature' is destroying families

Posted April 18

Womens' health care rights supporters during a June 2016 rally outside North Carolina's Executive Mansion in Raleigh.

A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, April 18, 2017; Editorial # 8149
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

The simplest and best way to reduce abortions is to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

The best way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is through sound family planning, access to contraceptives and good affordable health care for women. It is not complicated and shouldn’t be controversial.

But it is, largely because one of the best providers of these services and information to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies happens to be an organization that also offers legal abortion services to women – Planned Parenthood.

Making access to abortions more difficult will not lead to any reduction.

Last week President Donald Trump, after Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, signed a law to cut off federal funding for family planning services to groups that perform abortions.

The law eliminated an Obama administration rule to prevent state and local governments from withholding federal funds from health providers for family planning services related to contraception, fertility, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy health care, cervical and breast cancer – if they also provided abortion services.

North Carolina law already prevents state funds from going to “family planning services, pregnancy prevention activities or adolescent parenting programs” that are operated by groups that also provide abortion services. The provision in the 2015 state budget was carefully crafted to avoid any conflicts with funding from the federal Medicaid program.

The new federal law, signed last week, opens the way for the state legislature to expand its prohibition to include the federal Title X family planning program that offers cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection treatment and other preventive health care services to low-income and uninsured. North Carolina’s inexplicable refusal to expand Medicaid to cover the more than 500,000 people who cannot afford care makes these services even more important.

It doesn’t seem to bother legislators who are blocking the most needy North Carolinians from the health care they need while they’re also cutting off access to care a few of those same people are now able to get.

This is not a small matter in North Carolina. Should the legislature broaden its ban, as many as 91,440 people who used Planned Parenthood health service in the past year, might not have access to important health care.

There’s no reason, given the ideological tilt of the General Assembly’s leadership and its current ban on the use of state funds, that it won’t jump at the opportunity to extend that ban to the federal funds.

Attorney General Josh Stein had North Carolina join with 16 other state attorneys general in a friend-of-the-court brief in a federal case opposing an Ohio law that bars grants to Planned Parenthood for health services because it also provides abortions.

“Planned Parenthood provides needed preventive and primary health care services to women across North Carolina. This law and other similar measures force health care providers to choose between these critical health care services and delivering reproductive health care. This is not only wrong, it’s against the Constitution.”

Stein has the right focus here. His concern is on making sure that all those who need it can get good medical care and quality advice on female-health issues – including those involving family planning and contraception. Whatever other legal services Planned Parenthood provides are not relevant.

Stigmatizing and penalizing Planned Parenthood won’t accomplish anything. Passing laws against funding important and effective programs will only compound the issue anti-abortion activists claim to target.

Finding ways to provide effective and safe contraception along with more avenues to help bring children together with adoptive parents are better focuses of lawmakers’ time and attention.

Removing the need for abortions by supporting programs that reduce unintended pregnancies is the far more effective policy.

19 Comments

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  • Matt Smithe Apr 18, 2017
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    You talk as though the government is outlawing abortions. This is simply not the case. They are legislating that federal tax dollars cannot go towards the performance of this procedure. The entire issue of a woman's right to choose is a completely seperate issue from what is presented in this article. That may be what PP advocates would prefer to argue about but that is not what the legislation addresses.

    The argument presented makes absolutely no sense. "Making access to abortions more difficult will not lead to any reduction." So, how are they making it more difficult to access? - Even if they did make it more difficult to access the # of abortions would not decrease? This doesn't make sense.

    Another thing that makes absolutely no sense is the headline of the editorial. How does anything in the article address "How the 'family values legislature' is destroying families"? I guess that is just gratuitous click-bait.

  • Chris Perdue Apr 18, 2017
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    Wouldn't know Matt Smithe if he was sitting at my kitchen table. Guess you can't believe that there are at least two people who disagree with you views on PP.

  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 18, 2017
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    The logic I see is this:
    Provide counseling & care to those in family planning.
    The more they know and plan for, the less of a chance of needing an abortion.

    If and when the extremely difficult, heart-wrenching, gut-turning decision to abort becomes necessary, you cross that bridge when you get there, and it makes complete sense to have care and counseling to either avoid abortion (and go route of raising the baby or adoption) or abortion.
    The decision should ultimately be up to the woman that is pregnant, with advice by trained, professional counseling which is what PP advocates for: the decision of the woman is hers to make.
    Abortion will never go away. Anyone who wants one would be forced into back alley abortions or they will simply travel to a place that permits abortion.
    And if the government chooses to legislate that the child must be born, then the gov't must provide assistance in raising the child, aka 'pro-life' not 'pro-birth'

  • Matt Smithe Apr 18, 2017
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    You are correct and I was wrong about the timeframe. The overarching point, however, remains valid. Much more than 109k was contributed to HRC through the aegis of the PP organization. You state that it is not 30mil. It may not be but it is considerably more than your stated amount.

    The argument set forth in the article is still circular. Abortions are bad so you need to support the organization that performs abortions so that there can be less abortions. You must see the circular logic of this, no?

  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 18, 2017
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    Here is the link that shows graphically the amount of money PP has donated, showing $14M since 1990:
    https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000591&cycle=A

    Your claim that $14M in 2016 is inaccurate. They spent $2.9M in 2016, of which $109k went to HRC.

    This has been an interesting exchange, but the thrust of this article is that 'family values legislature' is actually working against itself by making access to family planning more difficult, which is true.

  • Matt Smithe Apr 18, 2017
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    You're level of delusion and inability to factually counter a valid argument is what is truly remarkable. You may wish to expand your knowledge of logical fallacies prior to responding further as your prolific deployment of them is only serving to make you look the fool. Ad to this hypocrisy when you condescendingly encourage others to "educate themselves" given that your facts are incorrect (i.e., PP spent over 14mil on outside spending in the 2016 cycle) using the source you provided. While I am not the same person posting under multiple names your reliance upon this red herring as a counter to facts shows the weak and feeble nature of your argument. If you have a factual retort that adds to the conversation I would love to hear it.

  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 18, 2017
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    Your original statement: "Why is there not an organization similar to Planned Parenthood but without the policy to recommend abortions?"

    Your latest post modified it, with the qualification: "...when they feel it's appropriate."

    PP provides many services, 97% of which are not abortions: they are family planning, information on avoiding unwanted pregnancies (so an abortion is irrelevant), std testing- the list goes on.

    Assuming the anti-abortion activists have their way, I have yet to see or hear a sensible solution to all the babies born from unwanted pregnancies (that could have been prevented from family planning/education/etc) that the government will provide financial assistance for, as a result of the government dictating what a woman can or can't do with her body.

  • Clif Bardwell Apr 18, 2017
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    How does that counter my statement? I never said Planned Parenthood *performs* abortions. I said it was their policy to recommend them when they feel it's appropriate. The main problem is that "appropriate" could mean as a form of birth control. I don't know about you, but I feel that killing a human being because it is inconvenient is, well, wrong. I don't want my tax dollars going toward paying an organization with the policy that abortions, as a form of birth control, is acceptable.

    Now I'm not saying that the *other* xx% of Planned Parenthood's services isn't a great boon to women. But if the recommendation of abortions is such a small percentage of their service, why not just remove that policy all together?

  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 18, 2017
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    Please educate yourself, as your information is wrong:
    http://www.factcheck.org/2015/09/planned-parenthoods-services/

  • Xander Bogaerts Apr 18, 2017
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    It's reMARKable that you originally posted as "Chris Perdue" and then as "Matt Smithe"- it seems like it would be to your benefit try to keep your multiple aliases organized that you post under. Who knows- you're probably behind most of these comments on here already.

    That said- you'll notice it's 14M since 1990 that PP has donated.

    Here's another website you can use for research (since you aren't able to defend the 30mil figure you originally gave):
    https://www.istandwithpp.org/defund-defined/how-federal-funding-works-planned-parenthood

    You'll notice the benefits of preventative care (that's right- preventative) and value that PP provides.

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