I’m sure you all have seen Campbell Brown’s ridiculous concern-trolling of Planned Parenthood in the New York Times, an op-ed that never should have been run both because it’s so fact-free and because Brown fails to disclose that her husband works for the Romney campaign. Kathleen Geier rips it up pretty well, and there’s a couple of more things I want to add. Brown pulls the “ladies be more polite” nonsense in a flagrantly stupid and dishonest way, and I just want to kick it around some more.
As a person who believes abortions should be safe, legal and rare, I support many of Planned Parenthood’s goals. But the militancy must go. Demanding a perfect record from candidates it supports has already left Planned Parenthood marginalized. So does an attitude that doesn’t ever seem to take into account that abortion is a morally complicated matter or that those on the anti-abortion side are often decent and well-intentioned people.
“Militancy”, in this case, appears to be Planned Parenthood’s commitment to the idea that reproductive health care should be available to all. Brown is practicing a form of “pro-choice” politics that positions contraception and abortion in the same world as a well-made Manhattan: She wants it to be legal, but is perfectly fine with it only be available to the economically privileged people on the coasts, and everyone else can just go suck a dick. As Kathy makes clear in her investigation of some of these supposedly pro-choice Republicans, that’s the end result of the sort of compromises Brown is demanding of Planned Parenthood.
I think my favorite part of Brown climbing down from the Republican cloud of supporting someone who is on the record of wanting to bring an end to Planned Parenthood and legal abortion to scold the protectors of these things is her claim that she, not Planned Parenthood, understands the True Nature of Abortion. So, I ask humbly of you out there: Who do you trust more to really understand what women are going through when they get abortions? Campbell Brown, who has personally provided 0 abortions? Or Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides over 300,000 abortions a year, which is one in four of the abortions provided in the United States?
If that question is confusing to you, let me bring up an analogy. Who do you trust to understand more what it’s like to work in a busy restaurant: Anthony Bourdain or someone who has never had a meal outside of their home?
The notion that Planned Parenthood doesn’t know anything about how abortion actually is and doesn’t respond appropriately is belied by the testimony of the patients, by the way. Check out this Tumblr that Deanna Zandt put together of patient testimony regarding Planned Parenthood. Most of it is about contraception and other health services, which makes sense, since that’s 97% of what Planned Parenthood does. But Brown’s image of Planned Parenthood as a heartless abortion factory is the complete opposite of what the patients actually get. The testimonies of abortions are uniformly about how Planned Parenthood was supportive and listened to their concerns and problems. The people who come across as hostile, discompassionate, and obtuse to the hard decisions of others are anti-choicers who are eager to cast judgment on women they view as slatterns. The people that Brown describes as “decent and well-intentioned people”.
It’s funny that she mentions that, because as Kathy says, there’s no indication that Planned Parenthood attacks the motivations of its opposition in the way she claims they do. Not that this is uncommon. The only group whose motives get defended before anyone attacks them as often as anti-choicers is people who supported the Iraq War in the days leading up to it. The reason is the defenders of anti-choicers know, as we all do, that antis are not well-intentioned or decent people. The pre-emptive defenses of them show that the defenders are feeling, well, defensive. I mean, who was saying that anti-choicers are disingenuous? (I mean, I do, but I’m not Planned Parenthood, who is being accused.) It was Brown who brought it up. And she should know! She may know shit about abortion, but she apparently spends a lot of time around anti-choicers and has a big ol’ eyeful of what lying fuckers they actually are. No wonder she’s so defensive about that, and is smacking down the accusation before anyone actually made it.