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Okay, not pro-herpes, but definitely pro-abortion

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 0:41 EDT
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Ross Douthat is whining that liberals are calling anti-choicers out on their anti-sex, anti-woman, anti-human agenda in their attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood and force the STD and unplanned pregnancy rate to shoot up dramatically. The excuse, of course is that Planned Parenthood performs abortion, and abortion is wrong, because sluts should pay, um, fertilized eggs are people, too! Unlike Iraqis or the residents of New Orleans.

If you’re not against abortion, obviously, there’s no reason any of this should bother you: Planned Parenthood’s commitment to performing hundreds of thousands of low-cost abortions annually is a feature, not a bug. But telling people who are against abortion that they’re “pro-herpes” because they don’t support channeling three hundred million public dollars a year to America’s largest abortion provider is the equivalent of me accusing a fierce and moralizing anti-theist like Sam Harris of being “anti-education” because he doesn’t want his tax dollars being used to, say, fund the Catholic school system. The phenomenon of an institution that does good with one hand and evil with another is a familiar one in human history – even Hezbollah does a lot of impressive humanitarian work, I believe – and it does not by any means follow that those who oppose the evil are morally obligated to support the institution anyway just because it does other, less morally problematic things besides.

Fine, you’re not pro-herpes.* But you are absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, pro-abortion. Because the number one cause of abortion is unplanned pregnancy. The number one. Other causes, such as life-threatening illnesses or dead fetuses that aren’t expelling on their own, are a fraction of abortions performed. The vast majority of abortions are, “Oh shit, I can’t be pregnant right now.”

You know what would happen if Planned Parenthood suddenly disappeared and literallly millions of women would find that their source of contraception has disappeared? We can easily guess that the number of abortions that would result would be at least thousands more, and honestly, it might even be closer to hundreds of thousands more. Because Planned Parenthood’s clientele is mostly lower income women and students, who are exactly the same groups that have problems handling interruptions in contraception access and end up getting pregnant. I know what I was a student, if Planned Parenthood had disappeared and my ability to get my birth control pills had disappeared with it, I might have easily landed in an abortion clinic in desperation. But it didn’t happen, and I’m grateful to them for it.

If I was against abortion, I wouldn’t want to contribute directly to thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands more. If I were somehow embittered about other people’s sex lives and wanted to see them punished, though, that would be just the outcome I’d be seeking.

*Except, of course, that they are, which is why the anti-choice community consistently fights any attempt to reduce not just the unplanned pregnancy rate, but the STD transmission rate, fighting against condom distribution programs and sex education.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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