I assume there will be some mixed reactions to the title I have chosen for this article. I’d like to begin by stating two points:
The first is that I am a libertarian. I am in favor of free markets; I love social freedom; and I hate bombing other nations over minor, often non-existent threats.
The second point is that I have donated twice to Planned Parenthood.
The first time was in 2013 in Manhattan, when some people collecting money for Planned Parenthood asked me for a donation.
The second time was after the election, when I gave $25 under the name of Michael Pence.
I recently had time to look into the Planned Parenthood as an organization more. I’ve heard many people judging them and had no clue how any human could think they aren’t performing a great service for this world.
I want to begin by explaining what it is that Planned Parenthood does; both in its intentions and goals. Planned Parenthood is a network of women’s health facilities in the United States, focused primarily on stopping unwanted pregnancies at very low cost or, sometimes, even cost free.
This could be something as simple as providing women with access to birth control; or a cheap and easy way for a woman to find out if they are pregnant, how long they’ve been pregnant, and their options going forward.
They also provide the option for low cost methods of terminating the pregnancy through abortions, this is obviously what they are the most well-known for.
However, Planned Parenthood also focuses quite a bit on breasts cancer screenings, as well as other medical services for women; but as is the case in politics, anything to do with abortion is hotly debated.
It is for their abortion services that they tend to be targeted and bashed by people who have no idea what they are talking about.
Those same people seem to forget about Planned Parenthood’s service to countless women, catering to the medical needs of many, whether in their early teens or old age.
I never heard much talk on Planned Parenthood from the liberty movement until a year ago. Before that point, I just assumed libertarians wanted to cut federal funding to it because of their overall view on small government and cutting government spending.
I believed this until the 2016 election; I never noticed how big of a deal it was for some people before then.
During the election cycle, a video surfaced, showing a Planned Parenthood employee selling the remains of aborted fetuses. The reaction was a bizarre, sensational amount of media coverage in which Congress, every Republican presidential candidate, and more made idiots of themselves over what I consider a ridiculously dumb case.
Somehow selling remains of fetuses (which were terminated in pregnancy to be used for science) was evil to these people.
The body parts are used frequently in such things as stem cell research, cancer treatment, bone marrow treatment, human dissection for medical training, and other ground-breaking research, attempting to change the world.
This practice is followed throughout the world and has been done in the medical community – proudly – for decades now. Is this now evil simply because the woman in the video was acting too casually about what she was doing?
These waves of attacks have created a climate where Planned Parenthood is now seen by many as evil. In an election season with ISIS, a $500 billion yearly deficit, an average economy at best, and a million other qualms, the little money going to Planned Parenthood (which saves countless dollars and cents) is the big issue?
At least we got the joy of seeing members of Congress like Mia Love, Jason Chafetz, Trey Gowdy and many others (who have no idea what they are doing) make asses of themselves.
Having the Chairwoman of Planned Parenthood waste her time for a vote, which was never going anywhere anyway, did nothing besides give Planned Parenthood an opportunity to raise even more funds.
The controversy did bring up an interesting question, though: Should we cut government funds to Planned Parenthood?
Prior to the controversy I would likely have answered yes, considering there is nothing in government that I don’t already want cut.
However, after much research, I found myself at a loss; if we did cut the funding to Planned Parenthood it would very likely just end up costing the government more money.
We would need more funds in Medicaid directed towards pregnancy, more funds for pregnancy screenings and so on. These are all currently donor subsidized with Planned Parenthood, and would essentially just get wiped away.
Not to mention, these losses would affect the welfare/Medicaid system if the pregnancies Planned Parenthood prevents from happening, ever did happen.
It creates a serious issue where cutting funding would actually become a bigger problem in the budget overall; For that reason I took the side that Gary Johnson later took: Let’s not cut it, but let’s have it cost less to keep.
I thought heavily on ways we could “have it cost less to keep”, and came up with some very easy solutions.
Deregulating the hell out of the medical and pharmaceutical industries is an obvious one.
We could also set up incentives for groups developing the next generation of birth control; they would get the money promised to Planned Parenthood if they develop birth control products that meet new standards.
Another solution is to deregulate the FDA, and allow easier access to birth control, as well as streamline approval for new methods.
I also had some ideas for how to deal with Planned Parenthood: Defund them, but gradually.
Give them a decade to prepare: Give them money, but ensure they understand that they must show effort in cutting their own costs (ideally to zero), or finding private funding.
Reforms like these could be the subject of numerous articles; however, what baffles me is how “fiscal conservatives” could get behind this disaster of a plan (cutting one avenue of spending, only to create a problem which could end up costing ten times as much in the future).
I have seen the Planned Parenthood debate, and I think it’s finally starting to fade.
I look at it and see a depressing future. I am a libertarian, and part my reason is because I’m pro-choice.
I don’t believe life begins at conception, and I am willing to debate it if challenged.
I also have had many friends use Planned Parenthood’s services over the years, and their lives were undeniably changed for the better.
How we have this sad group of libertarians pushing for this fiscally irresponsible idea (defunding Planned Parenthood) that also hurts people, is just beyond me.
I understand the desire to want it defunded; but a lot of work must first happen. A knee-jerk reaction to a video that makes people upset is not enough.
I’d love to hear any thoughts in the comments; I’m looking forward to reading them all.
This post was written by Charles Peralo.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.
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