This is a story of me and two TV ad spots. First, I viewed the American Life League’s newest video that, according to some on Twitter, “will make pro-aborts see red.” Honestly, it makes me puzzled more than anything else. I think ALL and their GOP supporters are in desperate need of sex-ed and a lesson in exactly what Title X, the family planning program they’re crowing about, does. I wondered what cute little bunnies had to do with abortion and pregnancy until a colleague reminded me of the fail-safe pregnancy test methods way back in the day. Is ALL trying to bring back the “rabbit test”, I wondered? In the earlier part of the 20th century, it was discovered that injecting a rabbit (or other small rodents) with the urine of a pregnant woman would prove fatal for the animal. It was ultimately discovered that it was not, in fact, an effective (or, of course, humane) method of pregnancy testing. Still, I’m thinking ALL may have an alterior motive here.
The video is being called “Bunnies in a blender” – enough said. Keep in mind that a) this is what ALL is comparing safe, legal abortion to – blending up bunnies – and b) this is in response to completely eliminating Title X, a safety net program which has absolutely nothing to do with abortion (other than that it helps prevent them, of course).
Title X, our 40 year old family planning funding program, was created by Republicans to ensure that all women, regardless of ability to pay, had access to family planning includling preventative care to stay healthy.
It’s been unwaveringly successful as a program that does not only fund Planned Parenthood but public health centers around the nation. It’s a program which ensures that women of all ages receive breast exams, Pap tests, STI checks, and birth control; in fact, a majority of women in some parts of the country use it as their only form of health care because it is the only health care they can afford. It’s a program which saves the federal government – and hence the taxpayers – money.
Now, the Tea Party-led GOP has gone all Mad Hatter on this country. In direct opposition to what then Congressman George Bush, Sr. said about Title X in 1969 (“We need to take sensationalism out of this topic so that it can no longer be used by militants who have no real knowledge of the voluntary nature of the program but, rather are using it as a political steppingstone. If family planning is anything, it is a public health matter.”), Republican leaders are trying their hardest to do just that – turn a public health matter into an ideological fight club.
I almost thought the “Bunnies in a blender” ad was a joke when I viewed it. It’s actually more of a riddle, though. ALL certainly does have an alterior motive here. How can a group which calls itself “pro-life” actually be opposed to any and all measures which help women and infants stay healthy, and prevent death? This actually isn’t about abortion at all. It’s about contraception and planning ones’ family. It’s about our mothers’ and babies’ health and lives. Stripping funding from Title X as well as Maternal and Infant Health programs which provide prental care and the National Institutes of Health research on preventing preterm birth? ALL has cobbled together a poorly crafted smokescreen here. Pro-life? Not at all. As Charles Blow wrote in the New York Times op-ed “The G.O.P.’s Abandoned Babies,”
It is savagely immoral and profoundly inconsistent to insist that women endure unwanted — and in some cases dangerous — pregnancies for the sake of “unborn children,” then eliminate financing designed to prevent those children from being delivered prematurely, rendering them the most fragile and vulnerable of newborns. How is this humane?
Gratefully, I received an email this morning, from Planned Parenthood, containing its own :30 second television ad spot about women’s health. The ad features an older woman who visited Planned Parenthood for an annual exam and was diagnosed with cervical cancer, a diagnosis which saved her life and allowed her to be around to parent her two daughters who also receive health care from Planned Parenthood.
So, here we’ve got two television ads. One from an organization which actually provides medical care to millions of women, men and young people around the country sanely offering clear, sound health information about the prevenative services they provide. The other? An ad from a Catholic organization devoted to ending safe, legal abortion care by…throwing bunnies in a blender. I understand that there are Americans out there opposed to safe, legal abortion care. But what I don’t understand is being against the Title X program – unless you simply are opposed to contraception, family planning and compassionate assistance to Americans who cannot afford to pay for these services on their own. If that’s the case, why not be clear and stop pretending that this is about abortion? If you don’t want to see women’s reproductive health as integral to our overall health by ensuring that it’s a part of our country’s public health safety net programs, by ensuring that women and men who need access to subsidized family planning receive it, and by creating a moral budget which provides for necessary prenatal care and research on keeping our infants healthy, then you are opposed to contraception as well as to helping your fellow human beings stay healthy. It’s simple. Family planning prevents unintended pregnancy which is only beneficial to women’s health and lives, as well as to the health and lives of our entire families. I don’t know though – those bunnies are pretty cute. I’m sure my children, my husband and my parents would prefer for me to sacrifice my own health and life to make sure no more bunnies are blended.