Abortion and Planned Parenthood defunding!

The first thing that I will be hitting on with the blog is a very contentious one! Abortion!

I was prompted to write about this from seeing all sorts of discussion on Planned Parenthood and on defunding it. Even though I am against defunding Planned Parenthood, the rhetoric of many pro-choice people often irks me and I think is unfair and oversimplifying of the issue. But more than just talking about Planned Parenthood, I was trying to fall asleep and just had all of this stuff in my head rumbling around about abortion and what it really means. It’s at the center of all of this controversy, of course. It seems impossible to me that we could resolve an issue like this without first getting our ideas of what abortion really is out there. So that’s what I’m going to write about first. My ideas of abortion.

I apologize in advance for my confrontational attitude. I’m on the side of legal abortion without exceptions, and on the side of planned parenthood. However, most of my criticisms are focused on my side. This isn’t because I don’t disagree with Republicans and pro-lifers and so on, it’s just that I feel like in the liberal environment of social media today it’s easy enough to see criticisms of the right wing. It’s just about all I ever see when I log onto Facebook or browse many sections of the news. I often get more irritated by the self-righteous and pretentious attitude of so many progressives and liberals than I do about conservatives. I promise I’ll be meaner to them in the future. And if you’re a self-righteous and pretentious progressive or liberal, I hope that you can still at least consider what I have to say before you make your own judgments about it. (Not that I mean to villify or alienate progressives/liberals, I realize this sounds kind of harsh. I respect your views, I just get bothered when people don’t respect anyone else’s.)

Just a heads up, the abortion part of this post is very long and is much more my personal views and conjecture than it is really based on relevant literature to the subject. You may want to simply skip down to the Planned Parenthood part if you don’t want a long and convoluted non-answer to a somewhat unformed series of questions.

Abortion!

If there’s one thing speech and debate (and life in general) taught me, it’s that there’s rarely one easy answer to a given issue. In my opinion, abortion is one of the hardest questions to answer because it crosses on so many unanswered, and indeed unanswerable questions itself. I will use this space to develop and share my thoughts on abortion to the best that I can articulate, and hopefully make you understand in the end why I support abortion being legal in every scenario, though I personally cannot say whether I would be able to accept it in my own personal life. Further, I will continue to argue that ultimately I do not believe Planned Parenthood should be defunded, or at least not the way that the Republicans want it to be.


So, why is abortion so tricky? Many people seem to find it an easy issue to make a judgment on. To some, it is a matter of protecting the most vulnerable and innocent in all of human life from a gruesome death. In such a situation it becomes impossible to justify. For others, it is a simple question of a woman’s right to her own body and her own health. Both sides end up essentially bypassing the other, as implied in the rhetoric of “pro-choice vs. pro-life.”


A fetus is biologically reliant on the mother for it’s very existence, and physically occupies the space of the mother’s body. I’ve heard some go as far as to call a fetus a parasite, and that somehow that makes it completely justifiable to kill it off. After all, we don’t mourn over removing and killing a tapeworm that may have grown inside of someone’s stomach. Of course, a tapeworm isn’t a human life, which to me is a pretty big disanalogy between a fetus and a typical parasite. But from there, many argue that a fetus isn’t adequately a human life. This gets into the argument of life beginning at conception. I’ve seen a bunch of people say life doesn’t begin at conception, that it’s just a cluster of cells. When life does begin, if that is not the case, I don’t know of any convincing argument. Biologically a fertilized egg is a form of human life, just in an earlier cycle of development. As much as people try to say pro-lifers are anti-science, I haven’t seen any legit scientific argument for when exactly life does begin. So it’s almost like a smokescreen. “We don’t know when life begins! It’s just a cluster of cells! it’s okay to kill it!” Okay. I saw something like this in a video someone posted by Bill Nye. Sure, lots of scientists are pro-abortion. I am pro-abortion too. But it seems to me like another case of liberals accusing everyone else of being anti-science to justify their own beliefs, which are not any more scientifically supported.


It’s problematic to me when people make arguments that imply that, because a fetus is entirely reliant on the mother and cannot live on it’s own, it is justified to kill it off. To me, that same principle would justify killing an infant baby as well. The only real difference between the infant baby and the fetus in the womb, that I can see, is the development stage and the physical location (in the womb versus out of the womb). As far as development stage, there isn’t a hard line that I’m aware of where a fetus becomes a baby, and if there is, it certainly doesn’t seem like birth would be one. Merely expelling the fetus out into the world does not in my mind fundamentally change the value of that creature from OK-to-kill to a human deserving of rights and protection from infanticide. Furthermore, there are countless other situations in which a human life is dependent on another. The first example that comes to my mind is a person who is hospitalized from severe injuries or other disability. In that case, the person may be completely reliant on life support and continuous medical care from other people. If in a coma, the person doesn’t seem to possess the capacity to make choices. Would it then be justified to have a law that said we can terminate the lives of the comatose without punishment? You may think of this as a right-to-die question, but it isn’t really. Someone may be put into a temporary coma after a car accident. If the doctor then said “Well, this person is utterly reliant on me and incapable of surviving on their own, so it is ultimately my decision whether I kill them or not,” and killed that person, it would be a crime. And it wouldn’t just be a crime of violating contract and failing to do one’s job, that would be an actual case of murder in most cases.


And just about everyone would scoff at that example. Of course we don’t want doctors murdering anyone who is temporarily incapacitated. Those people will wake up eventually. Other doctors could care for the person instead. However, those same arguments apply, in a sense, to the unborn. A fetus will eventually become a human (“wake up”). After birth, that child could be put into adoption, and someone else could care for it (OK I know people don’t put newborn babies into adoption usually, this is just a mental exercise). The biggest disimilarity between them that I see is, once again, that the comatose person is not physically inside of the doctor like a baby is inside of it’s mother. Is that the primary moral reasoning between whether someone lives or dies? That they are physically occupying the space of another human? Is it that the baby is reliant on the body of the mother, feeding off of substances her body manufactures, whereas the comatose person is feeding off of synthetic substances? In that case, once again we are brought to the example of a newborn baby. A newborn baby feeds on it’s mother’s biologically produced milk, yet it is still not forgivable to kill it.


There’s also a common argument that, well, a fetus may fail to develop from a number of different things, and is not a guaranteed human life particularly at an early stage. This sounds legit, until you add that the exact same thing is true of pretty much everybody. Anybody might die. Children may die and never live to become adults, comatose patients may die or they may recover. It’s never 100% one way or the other. Even if a person might die on their own from a fatal disease, if you kill them prematurely you are still a murderer. In the same sense, I don’t see how one can justify killing a fetus because it might expire on it’s own. So I’m left wondering again – is the moral distinction between killing a fetus (depending also on the stage of development) and killing a baby or comatose person simply a matter of it’s physical location? If that’s the case, I’m sorry to you who have read this far, because I have an even more absurd example to provide. If a person was surgically opened up and another person was placed inside of them, would they be justified in killing the person inside? I know you’re thinking “this makes absolutely no sense who cares about what happens when someone is sewn inside of someone else” but please, humor me. Say that a baby or small child was put inside of somebody, perhaps in their stomach, and they managed to both survive. Could the person carrying the small child or baby kill the one inside of them? This question isn’t one that I think makes enough sense to even answer in the first place. Of course you could justify performing surgery to take them out. I think in some scenarios, killing them if it was a matter of life or death for the carrier could almost be considered self-defense. But even if this example seems entirely absurd, doesn’t it seem like the idea that we can kill those that physically occupy our space seem arbitrary?


Now I know these circumstances may all seem very arbitrary themselves. There’s rarely if ever a way to create a perfect moral distinction between any act. Instead, we usually use some of our common sense or utilitarian-style ethics or some combination of qualifiers to make the distinctions. Perhaps it’s not the physical occupation itself, but the combination of biological reliance upon the mother, physical occupation of the mother, and incapacity to make decisions of one’s own that ultimately fabricates a separate category of killing. Alternately, it goes without saying that if one finds infanticide morally acceptable, one should also find abortion morally acceptable. And there are some that would argue for both. However, as with the idea of a sudden death for comatose patients, it comes across to me as a little counter to the usual liberal ideals. After all, it sounds kind of Social Darwinistic to say that those that are powerless to take care of themselves may be killed without punishment.


There’s too much missing from this moral quagmire to make any kind of headway. Up till now we haven’t even addressed the question of the value of a woman’s choice in circumstances that will ultimately impact their life and health, and the additional very important considerations of the effects on society that abortion has, and of course the question of a ‘soul’. The point that I hope to have made with my musings above is mostly that you can’t easily categorize the taking of a fetus’ life as inconsequential while simultaneously holding that life is precious in all other areas, unless you have a moral justification I’m not aware of (in which case please comment it!).


One other thing I’ve heard is a parallel between abortion as murder and masturbation as genocide. Basically, the idea that if all forms of human life are sacred, surely sperm must be too. A fetus is a human life, just in a different stage of development. in this argument, it’s kind of making the point that we can’t treat all human lifeforms as equal even when they are in different stages of development, otherwise we end up with uncountable sins for some pretty common things like protected sex or masturbation. To me, there’s also not a totally easy answer to this question, because it gets into what the value of a human life even is. To some, the value of a human life is inherent due to the existence of a soul. That relies on a supernatural/religious argument, of course. As an atheist I conveniently sidestep that whole problem because I don’t believe souls exist. So, killing a fetus is not damning it to an eternal life in hell because it has not been baptized, for example. To avoid getting into another massive discussion about what determines the value of human life for an atheist, I’ll try to summarize that I think that whether or not we actually have inherent value as humans, we must live and structure society as if we do. Because a society where every life is not valued to some extent is a society that is not conducive to survival and continued human progress and existence, or at least that’s what I think.


Now, this argument creates a sort of utilitarian argument for the value of human life. It says that we need to value human life in order to create a society that’s good for humans to live in. We can debate all day about what exactly constitutes a human life. I would argue that sperm have yet to fertilize an egg and thus do not have all the parts that make up a human, although the same could be said in many cases for fetuses, babies, or even just regular people (Missing a kidney? You are no longer human. Prepare to die), but it lacks even the genetic structure to grow into human life without the addition of an egg. A fetus is at a stage where it needs basically only food and time to turn into a full-fledged human, unless there is some complication that occurs.


So we’ve established a bunch of arguments for what sort of isolates the killing of a fetus into it’s own category, or at least I hope we have. And here I hope the complications are clear. In the observable world, we don’t have a clear line to decide what is worthy of being called a human and what is not. We generally don’t include sperm in that, but many people include fetuses in that – and many people don’t, or at least not until later in development. So we really can’t say one way or the other that it’s justifiable to kill a fetus. The ultimate point that I am making here is that I do not believe that anyone can claim that killing a fetus is fundamentally different from killing a human, except through simple matters of degrees of development. Considering we don’t consider killing a child to be less worthy of punishment than killing an adult, that doesn’t seem a justification of it’s own. My point is that I don’t know of a pro-choice argument that would effectively brand an abortion that occurs after a few weeks as not murder. At least once a fetus has developed the capacity to feel and be at least somewhat aware of it’s surroundings, it seems to me that abortion is indeed murder, of sorts. I have certainly not put forth all moral arguments in favor of abortion that exist, that would be impossible and I don’t know of all of them. But I have yet to see one that was convincing enough that it could alone counter this point, unless it substantially differed from the morality of most of society (a moral system that did not view infanticide as murder, for example).


Of course, this may seem like I’m hitting abortion heavily against it, while still leaving the strongest arguments in favor of it untouched. But I’m simply trying to categorize different aspects of it. If we can categorize abortion as murder (which I’m sure many of you disagree with, and if you do I’d love to hear about why in the comments), then we can move on to discern whether it is justified or not. This part is also very hard. It strikes me that the most common exceptions for abortion are in cases of rape, in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, and in cases where there may be a complication in the child’s life. This all strikes me as a bit weird. If abortion is really murder, then why does it being done after a rape make it okay? Whether or not the child was conceived voluntarily doesn’t seem to me to be a condition upon which the innate value of human life is contingent. It seems to me that if you were to truly take the stance that abortion is the murder of a child, and that these children must be protected, it would be pretty un-principled to make exceptions in cases. When a mother’s life is in danger it makes some sense, if only because then it is a question of life versus life – and something like self defense, saying that she should not have to sacrifice her own life to sustain another, might come into play. It seems to me that people should generally be either in favor of abortions being legal or against abortions being legal, without exception for circumstance.


However, the exceptions for circumstance ultimately play into a very important part of the abortion debate. A mother’s right to her own decisions is the primary counter that comes up against a fetus’ right to life. Perhaps it is true that abortion is murder, but maybe we say that the value of the murder is somehow less than the value of the woman’s choice. To me, murder versus life choices seems like an evaluation that we don’t usually make for the rest of society. We don’t say it’s okay to kill someone because doing so allowed you to get enough money to go to college and have a good life, at least I don’t think we do. The value of a woman’s choice is extremely high, but the thing is – it needs more. It’s not enough to defeat abortion = murder trump card, in my book. In order for it to win the debate, abortion must either not equal murder or there must be additional reasons to allow abortion that propel it’s importance above the importance of murder of a fetus. This can also be accomplished by an important step that I haven’t gotten into yet – reducing the importance of murder of fetuses. That sounds horrible, but it’s what I may very well do later on. If we can get at exactly what makes a murder so bad, perhaps we can develop a model that will allow a woman’s right to choose to exceed the negative value of abortion.


I’ve certainly heard arguments that attempted to devalue the importance of killing a fetus. One such argument that I’ve heard is that the child may be born into a situation where the mother has no capacity to adequately care for it, such as when the father has left and the mother is still young and not financially secure. In this instance, it seems that people argue that letting the fetus live would mean bringing another person into the world who will only suffer. While this point may be convincing in some ways, to me it does not fundamentally counter the argument, still, and furthermore provides a very fatalistic view on humanity. I do not believe that a difficult life is one that should not be lived. We do not kill people who are suffering unless they ask us, which the fetus has not done. To me, this argument does not justify it. However, it touches on a very important point.


The approach that I take to justifying abortion from here on is the pragmatic one, the area that I feel abortion advocates have the strongest case. The problem with everything I’ve discussed until now is — even if all of my scatterbrained musings on whether or not abortion is murder and whether that is ultimately the most important thing are accurate — it still remains, so what? As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the construction of a humane society necessitates treating humans as though they have inherent value even though we don’t know if we do or not. The fundamental point to ethics and morality in my opinion is to create a society that is better adapted to serve human interests, progress and existence. Taking a hardline moral stance on any issue is questionable if it potentially harms society. The value that we attach to crimes is only what is necessary to facilitate better societies. Legal abortion means less unplanned pregnancies, less women losing their careers or potentially lives, less impoverished people being added to a country that already has massive inequality, less crime, less back-alley abortions, less overpopulation and resource consumption, and greater autonomy of women in controlling their own fates. All of these things serve to push society forward into one that is more capable of adapting to the challenges of the 21st century.Particularly, uplifting women and providing greater autonomy and access to education and economic opportunities may be the best way to save the human race from death by overpopulation. The level of education received by women in a country tends to be a great contributing factor in reducing the birth rate, part of the reason we have a much more stable population growth here than in many areas of the developing world. Access to abortion and contraception in general is critical to constructing a society in which women are valued for more than just their uterus.


Now I might sound like a hypocrite, because I already specifically went through some of these arguments and said why they don’t ultimately trump the value of murder. But here is where I argue that we put the value of murder into question. The reason that we must have laws against murder is because of the ways our society would be damaged were they not there. Families are torn apart by murder, companies are disrupted. One of the greatest goals of society in achieving progress is clamping down on sources of disruption to the wellbeing of members of that society. Now this may seem purely utilitarian, but there is a place for virtue ethics as well, albeit one that is subservient to utility. In the case of abortion, were it made illegal I do not believe that it would ultimately be reduced dramatically. Back-alley abortions would still occur, and more unplanned pregnancies would happen which may lead to a cycle of more dysfunction that would lead to even more abortions down the road as well. Of course, it’s a tough question still. If legalizing murder somehow produced a society where people murdered each other even less (perhaps because they were afraid of retribution or something like that), would it then be a good idea to legalize murder? I would still say no, though cautiously. Simply because even if the overall murder rate went down, there would still be cases where a person’s family member or friend was murdered, and there was no way to achieve justice without murder itself, which one may be opposed to doing. Essentially, even if an act occurs while it is illegal, branding it as legal may reduce the capacity for the concept of justice.


It’s hard to weigh what these concepts are. The best way that I can think of is to view the adherence to a virtue as a form of utility. The sense of justice is itself a creator of a better society. Now, where abortion comes into this is a mixed bag. If people do not value a fetus’ life to the same extent that they value another child’s life, then losing a fetus does not produce a large negative reaction in that society. We don’t care about fetuses, thus it does not harm us if they die. In that sense, murder then becomes justifiable simply because no one has any real attachments to the one that is murdered. This is a troubling concept as well, unfortunately. If a lone hermit is murdered in the forest, there must still be a trial. I’m missing something here. I think the thing that pushes abortion into the realm of acceptability is all of the societal benefits that I mentioned earlier. Murder is, in the vast majority of cases, detrimental to society. Abortion is not. This is if we view “society” as sort of the human race itself. Our struggle to survive as a species is, ironically, made easier by the elimination of the unwanted unborn. I understand that this more and more sounds evil. I don’t know how to say any of this in a way that doesn’t sound evil. I think maybe it is evil. It’s dangerous to view things as justifiable solely in the lens of what advances the species, it strays scarily close to certain forms of eugenics. (perhaps not a coincidence that the founder of Planned Parenthood was a strong advocate of eugenics?)


It’s why I ultimately think that abortion must be legal. Perhaps we could debate when exactly in the development stage we consider the fetus to be human enough for abortion to count as murder, based off of when awareness or certain organs or other features are developed. But it seems to me to be a moot point. I surrender to the immorality. I cannot justify abortion except to see it as a necessary evil in the survival of society. I do not believe that it should be taken lightly. Not that I believe most women who are undergoing the procedure would ever make the decision lightly. But it seems to me that when people are so quick to equate abortion as a question of women’s health, they sidestep the entire moral question of it in the first place. If I ever became an unintended father, and abortion was an option, I believe that it would be immoral of me to advocate for one. Ultimately it would be the woman’s choice, but I think that a choice to abort the child would be an immoral one. Perhaps it could be considered moral in the servitude of the common goal of society’s survival. To me that seems like a societal justification rather than a personal one. I believe strongly in the principle of self-ownership. A woman’s self-ownership is infringed when abortion is illegal. I said earlier why that may not trump a fetus’ self-ownership, it’s right to live. But it’s still damned important. Ultimately, the vast majority of the negative consequences of legal abortion that I am aware of are, essentially, abstract. Or supernatural. Because we do not as a society truly feel the loss of these fetuses, tragically we are left in a position where we must choose between tangible benefits to a society at the cost of an unknowable and unquantifiable moral evil.


My final point in this one is that there are also social elements of abortion. Both in having it legal and having it illegal. Ultimately I haven’t mentioned these as swaying it one way or the other because I am not a believer in legislation as an act of attitude control. But there are also obviously other consequences of abortion – like the way it may make the woman feel who had it. After all, she’s pretty much the only one (possibly the father) who’s going to feel the loss of the fetus, both physically and emotionally. The reason I don’t consider this is because I believe that, as autonomous beings, making a choice that you will later regret doesn’t mean that the choice should be banned. That’s for the woman to decide. And considering 95% of the women surveyed, from the source I read (Reuters) said it was the right choice for them and they didn’t regret it, it seems those women are probably making the right choice for themselves at least. Granted, I’ve often heard people say that having a child was the best thing that ever happened to them, and rarely have I heard people say they regretted it. But attempts to force women to get medical procedures and so on to show them the baby and try to guilt-trip them into not getting an abortion should not be mandated. Either let abortion be legal or try to ban it, don’t pressure women that are already likely in a vulnerable state in order to subvert actually challenging the law.

Planned Parenthood!

Now that the rest of that is out of the way, the actual politics at hand are much easier to talk about for me. If you were uncomfortable with the abortion stuff I talked about or thought it was just a bunch of random bullshit hypotheticals then you’re in luck, there will probably be less of that here, considering it’s much less of a moral quandary for me.

For defunding Planned Parenthood, as I mentioned earlier, I’m against it. The thing is, though, I understand it. Many people who are standing with planned parenthood declare that the defunders are “anti-women”. This bothers me for a few reasons. First off, however justified you may feel in making that accusation, it’s still just an attack of character on a very large group of people, many of whom are women. I’m going to first make my arguments against many of the arguments stating that the defunding attempts are solely an anti-women issue, before I argue why I support Planned Parenthood anyway – even though I’m a libertarian who generally opposes government spending.


So one argument that seems convincing that defunders are anti-woman is the argument that Planned Parenthood provides much more services than just abortion, and in particular – that abortions do not receive federal funding in the first place, due to the Hyde Amendment in the 70s. To really argue against this I think that there are some things to establish. Planned Parenthood statistics say that only 3% of the services they provide are abortions. Wow! Abortions are a very small part of what they provide, for sure. Except that that values all of the services equally. That values getting a contraceptive pill at the same level as getting a second trimester abortion. And what does that 3% number really look like? It’s about 330,000 abortions per year.


So what? Well. I talked about this under the abortion section. But if someone is pro-life and they really believe that the murder of a fetus is equivalent to the murder of a child or adult, then picture it this way – here’s an organization receiving federal funding that is responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of Americans. That number is many multiples of deaths caused even by the largest armed conflict in the world today, the Syrian civil war. Honestly it seems to me that if you truly believe abortion is murder, then Planned Parenthood is a genocidal organization that needs to be shut down at all cost, no matter what other services they provide. Now, the point gets brought up, what I said before – federal funding doesn’t go to abortions. But that doesn’t really mean as much as people seem to think it does. Even if our tax dollars aren’t going directly to abortions, they are still helping to support Planned Parenthood’s other services, which helps the organization grow, spread it’s influence, and open more clinics and such. And if they weren’t receiving the roughly 500 milliion dollars we give them, they would likely have to shrink and contract in size. Even if it is indirect, it’s still the same organization.


If you had a violent government that killed millions of people, but also provided numerous services that helped everyone out, I don’t think you would say “well our tax dollars only go to the nice services and not to the genocide, so I’m fine with it.” You would want nothing to do with that organization. You would say this dictatorship needs to be shut down and we need to bring in a new government that can still do the nice things but not do the genocide. That’s essentially what a lot of the defunders are arguing – defund Planned Parenthood and put the money into other programs that can still help women’s health without performing abortions. Now this rhetoric may not be totally accurate, I’m sure many of the defunders wouldn’t put that money back into women’s health. But it still stands as a valid point to me that pro-lifers, given what they believe, are absolutely justified in not wanting to support Planned Parenthood. In fact, I think it speaks to a certain level of desensitization amongst our overall society that also afflicts even many of the hardest pro-lifers we have here, that this is ALL they are doing, and that they needed a bunch of doctored “sting” videos to propel them to action.


If you truly believe abortion is murder then it should be the most important issue affecting our society today. Massacre on an unparalleled scale. But many of today’s pro-lifers are content to just wait around, generally harrassing or disrupting or fighting against abortion clinics and organizations that provide them or politicians that support them. But they haven’t been trying to federally defund Planned Parenthood until now, after a bunch of videos talking about selling baby parts. Even if those videos weren’t doctored up, I would honestly have to say – does that even compare? Selling organs doesn’t seem nearly as evil to me as committing mass murder. But I digress.


The point that I wanted to make is just that you can’t accuse them of hating women. In essence, they are trying to protect hundreds of thousands of unborn women, which would heavily outweigh the good caused by Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, I do not think they are anti-woman, just firm adherents to a principle that I believe is misguided. In a way, I have more respect for the ardent pro-lifer than I do for someone who offhandedly dismisses any anti-abortion efforts as anti-woman and proclaims that a woman’s choice trumps everything, without even stopping to consider the true moral meaning of what they are advocating. Not that I’m saying everyone who is pro-choice is that way, or even a majority. But I do think the polarization of our society has led people on both sides of the issue to dismiss the other side too quickly. And there are certainly individuals in the pro-life movement that are anti-woman, there is no way I’m going to exclude that. I’m just stating that the movement itself should not be considered anti-woman in my opinion.


I also wanted to provide some arguments in defense of Planned Parenthood from the perspective of a libertarian that generally opposes government spending. I’m not a hardline libertarian against all spending, debate has made me a little more moderate. But as far as a lot of these services are concerned, I don’t believe that government is the most effective way to produce a good healthcare system. Nonetheless, government is in the business of healthcare now, and has been for a long time. We spend massive amounts of money on different healthcare programs. Ultimately, Planned Parenthood’s federal benefits are about 500 million dollars. That sounds like a lot. And yes, it’s a lot. The government deals in large quantities of money. The stats I found for 2014 said we spent about 600 billion dollars on just Medicare. The money we give to Planned Parenthood doesn’t even come slightly close to comparing to what we spend on a K-12 education system that doesn’t work, an imperialistic military that creates more problems than it solves, welfare programs to support those in poverty that often keep them in poverty (look up the welfare cliff as an example of this), and so many other things. And yes, other organizations could do the things that Planned Parenthood does. But why not have PP do it? Women’s health with a particular focus on contraception, family planning and abortion services are pretty damn important and worth having separate organizations specifically dedicated to them, particularly because I don’t have a lot of trust in large sections of our healthcare system.


Defunding Planned Parenthood is not any solution to the federal debt. If we want to start cutting excessive government spending I’m all for that, but I wouldn’t pick out PP as the lone target of those cuts when I believe that abortion and contraceptive access ultimately reduce the future costs to our system (how much more would we have to provide in services for over 300,000 new births a year, large portions of whom would be unwanted or grow up impoverished?).  I also just had to edit this post to add in an argument that I’ve seen in defense of Planned Parenthood that I think is pretty convincing – all the non-abortion contraceptive procedures they provide! If we’re going to effectively reduce the rate of abortions in this country, I strongly believe that we’re going to have to have a population that uses contraceptives more and is safer about sex. And PP provides a lot of those services, for women and for men, too. So even though they may get hassled for the abortions they provide, in the end it would possibly be counter-productive in the quest to reduce abortions to defund them.

EDITED TO ADD:

I was re-reading this post and found that I missed or skimmed over some things that I think are more important than I gave them credit for. I’m just going to use this space to add a few more paragraphs of stuff so that I don’t have this incomplete feeling inside.

First one is on the point that I made under the abortion section about involuntary conception not reducing the value of human life (rape exceptions). I meant to add more about that in a later section but never did. I think the reason that abortions in cases of rape are more excusable are a few; first, an unwanted pregnancy being added to a woman when she has already been subjected to a traumatic and damaging event is compounding the way her life is affected. It doesn’t mean that the fetus’ life is any less valuable, but I still think it increases the importance of the woman having autonomy over her own body, considering her autonomy was stripped away in the act that conceived the child. I just wanted to add this part because I feel like I sort of underplayed the importance of issues like these, and where the mother’s life may be in danger or when the fetus has complications.

Second one I wanted to add was a kind of random argument about abortion/planned parenthood that I forgot to fit in anywhere before, and doesn’t really relate to the morality or planned parenthood but is just sort of a pet peeve of mine. And that is the argument that I’ve often seen that men shouldn’t be legislating women’s bodies. This usually goes like, “Oh, look at all these old white men telling women what they can do,” and to me makes no sense. First off, if we are arguing over whether or not abortion is murder, men have just as much say in preventing a murder from occurring. Obviously they do not have the concern of being pregnant ourselves. But it still is completely unfair to say “this doesn’t affect you,” when clearly, if abortion is murder, it should affect everyone. That’s like saying if a single mom kills her own child, men shouldn’t be able to say anything about it. I mean, not exactly. But it’s close enough.

But I actually have another argument to add to that point as well. When people accuse male elected officials of doing this, they are really subverting the entire process of a representative democracy. The congresspeople are obligated to represent their constituencies. As much as people like to give shit to men for being anti-abortion, it turns out women are in many areas more opposed to abortion than men. http://www.theguardian.com/science/the-lay-scientist/2014/apr/30/why-are-women-more-opposed-to-abortion
Statistically more women call themselves pro-choice than men and more men call themselves pro-life than women. But when you get down to the specifics, women tend to take more extreme sides (legal in all cases, illegal in all cases) on issues like abortion than do men, who tend to take less radical stances (probably because men are less directly affected by the consequences of it). People love to advocate that men are waging a war on women, but protecting the unborn is something that is extremely important to many women. Considering that women voters make up a very large portion of the constituencies that get these politicians elected, if they weren’t acting in accordance with the female voters’ interests then they would likely not be elected. Saying that male representatives shouldn’t have a say over this is also saying that all the women who elected those male representatives shouldn’t have a say in it. And I don’t get that logic in the first place – it’s not as if we require our congresspeople to be somehow involved in every issue that they legislate over. That would be impossible, and trying to apply that principle ONLY in the case of abortion just seems dishonest.

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Abortion and Planned Parenthood defunding!

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Halo!

I have decided to start up this blog so that I have somewhere to throw out the wordvomit that comes into my head all the time, particularly when I am trying to go to sleep. I’m just gonna be posting about whatever I think about. If y’all find things you disagree with or think are just straight up wrong, it’s a great place to leave a comment. I don’t care if you’re anonymous or not, and I don’t care if you use swear words or accuse me of things.

I hope to present some of my ideas in an enjoyable to read format, but sometimes I just type up a bunch of stuff and don’t want to really mess with it. Kind of like a video blog or something, like I’m just talking. So in that same vein, you’re going to be seeing my opinions and what I think about things, and different posts will have different levels of supporting material or fact-checking. So take things with a jar of salt if you do stick around to read things.

I will be aggressive and post offensive stuff depending on what you view. And I also want to be clear that I will sometimes speak disdainfully of large sections of people based off of ideology or some viewpoint or other, but it’s usually an exaggeration and if you place yourself in one of those sections I don’t mean to misrepresent you or imply that I hate you. In reality, I don’t hate most people. A lot of people that I love very much I have stark disagreements with (most – I do not agree with very many people about very many things).

So like yeah and stuff. I might eventually start up a video blog because that way I can express my ideas better, since sometimes I can’t figure out how to write things in a way that adequately expresses what I’m feeling and sometimes I just have too much to say but don’t think anyone wants to scroll through a giant wall of text. Unfortunately, I have convinced myself that only terrible people vlog. Once I can overcome this irrational fear of looking like an asshole maybe I’ll do it. (For those of you that actually vlog, I don’t think you’re terrible! I admire your courage!)

Edit to add: Hey I forgot to actually explain what kind of things I might talk about. This blog will definitely be about politics and social movements and religion and stuff a lot, but I also probably will use it to talk about other things sometimes that I feel might be interesting.

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