For those who are watching to see what kind of stupid bullshit Fox News is trying to make a “scandal” this month, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in attempts to tie the words “abortion”, “Planned Parenthood”, and “Obamacare” together. They’re clearly hoping you’re not paying attention, because if you actually listen to the supposedly scandalous accusation, it amounts to being infuriated that some Planned Parenthood clinics are going to be part of a government program to help uninsured people navigate the new health care exchanges. Yep, that’s it. Watch the above video and you’ll see that even they can’t quite go all the way and imply that you’re going to spontaneously terminate a pregnancy just because an administrator at Planned Parenthood helped you select Blue Cross over Aetna.
NPR has a surprisingly cheeky response to the already kind of limp attempts at making a scandal out of this, pointing out that, in addition to Planned Parenthood, a lot of grants are going to Catholic organizations for the same purpose. It’s almost as if this has nothing to do with abortion, which is impossible, because everything is abortion. Everything!
But I think my favorite little detail gleaned from this report is this:
The Fishing Partnership Health Plan of Massachusetts got nearly $67,000 to work with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association to help uninsured commercial fishermen in Maine figure things out.
The logic of trying to make a scandal out of this goes something like this: Planned Parenthood does something some people find immoral (abortion). The government should never, ever have anything to do with anything that any citizen could possibly find immoral. Indeed, so much so that it shouldn’t even have programs that are completely unrelated to the “immoral” thing in the same offices as the “immoral” thing, for fear of “endorsing” this thing that some people disagree with.
Clearly, they’re being inconsistent here. If that’s the logic, then it’s equally scandalous for the government to give grants to Catholic charities and to lobster fishermen as it is for them to give grants to Planned Parenthood. After all, the Catholic Church does a lot of really immoral things, including making it harder for women around the world to control their fertility. Animal rights people have a lot of criticisms of lobster fishing. Fetuses don’t feel pain, but lobsters sure do when you boil them alive.
But all those objections would be asinine, because at the end of the day, the navigator funds aren’t really going to the organizations. The funds are really going to the people who are using the service, and the organizations are just conduits.
Conservatives are pressing hard on this notion that government grants to Planned Parenthood to do everything from improve contraception access to signing up people for health insurance is a de facto endorsement of abortion. If that’s true, then it follows logically that government giving similar grants to religious groups is a de facto endorsement of their faith—something that’s expressly forbidden by the Constitution, whereas there’s nothing in the Constitution forbidding the government from endorsing abortion. Why that’s not pointed out more is hard to say, though probably because logical inferences are tough to point out on TV without getting interrupted before you complete your thought.