>Canaries & Coal Mines

>I don’t know if anyone noticed this but yesterday ACORN dissolved, starved of the federal funds it used for things like helping low income people access loans to buy homes and start businesses, register them to vote, get the poor access to housing, and other stuff that we simply cannot have. We live in a country where the free hand of the market always seems to bypass the poor, save to slap their hands when they get uppity and think they deserve a place at the table too. How dare they.

But here’s the lesson for liberals: don’t for a minute think the anti-ACORN campaign launched by the right won’t be repeated with other perceived “lefty” organizations. Indeed, it already has.

Two years ago a movement began to defund Planned Parenthood, even though no public funds go toward abortion services. They go toward prenatal care, pap smears, STD testing, birth control and even fertility treatment. You know, gynecological and obstetric care, like what you’d get at any OB/GYN.

If you are “pro life” you should be lining up on the streets to get a Planned Parenthood clinic in your neighborhoods because they are the only access to healthcare a lot of women have, and that healthcare enables women to have healthy babies. But you can’t see the forest for the trees, can you? You’ve drunk so much Kool-Aid that you hear “Planned Parenthood” and instead of thinking, “oh, pre-natal care,” or “oh, a pap smear,” you immediately think “abortion.”

You are very silly, horrid people.

And liberals are silly too, for sitting on their hands while the anti-choice crowd organizes their plan, recruits candidates, circulates petitions (I won’t link to it but it makes the outrageous claim that “one in every two black children is aborted”), and gets on top of the message war with bogus “gotcha” videos.

Are we asleep? Look past the obvious misogyny in this news story which garnered most of the outrage today; instead, see if you can spot the money quote:

RICHMOND – Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th, says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.

He made that statement last Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Yes, that’s right, Virginia wants a law just like the one Tennessee passed, which blocks state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Why? No public funds go toward abortion services.

Look people, this isn’t a culture war issue. It’s a healthcare issue. While the right is vigorously fighting any change to a crappy healthcare system which leaves 40 million people uninsured, they are also vigorously working to cut off public funds to the one organization that provides affordable healthcare to some of those people. Those vaginal-Americans who need a variety of services, including birth control, and including a lot of other stuff that any wealthy, upper class woman in a Virginia suburb can get at her local doctor’s office. This makes no sense.

Perhaps they think this is a swell idea:

A bill passed by the Utah House and Senate this week and waiting for the governor’s signature, will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage, and make induced abortion a crime in some instances.


The basis for the law was a recent case in which a 17-year-old girl, who was seven months pregnant, paid a man $150 to beat her in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. Although the girl gave birth to a baby later given up for adoption, she was initially charged with attempted murder. However the charges were dropped because, at the time, under Utah state law a woman could not be prosecuted for attempting to arrange an abortion, lawful or unlawful.

Wow, you’ve got to be some kind of callous bastard completely lacking in empathy to hear that story and think the biggest problem that needs to be addressed is that arranging your own miscarriage isn’t illegal.

Clearly men need to be able to get pregnant and be faced with the consequences of that pregnancy. Men need to know what it feels like to be faced with raising a child when you are poor, single, or a teenager; men should suffer the tremendous emotional pain of surrendering your child to adoption (the dirty little secret we’re not supposed to talk about). Men need to walk a mile (or a month) in this girl’s shoes.

Or else they need to quit crafting policy that treats desperate women in desperate situations like criminals.

But neither of these things are going to happen. Men aren’t going to start having babies and they aren’t going to get out of politics. So women, and the liberal men who love us, need to wake up. We need to stop ignoring these attacks from the right as some kind of crackpot fringe wacked-out group that won’t ever amount to anything.

In case you haven’t noticed, the conservative fringe is now the Republican mainstream. So wake up, people. It’s time to get active. Time to pay attention and get organized and act like this shit matters. Because it does.


Filed under abortion, ACORN, Planned Parenthood

16 responses to “>Canaries & Coal Mines

  1. Jim

    >SB – One thing I think the pro-life movement should do is open clinics to provide prenatal care for women in need. They could offer these services without offering abortion services and then apply for the same federal and state funding now going to Planned Parenthood. I wish churches and other pro-life groups would move to do more to help the women and children in question and not just protest the abortion services they oppose. I know that there are some limited efforts in this area – my wife volunteers with Birthright here in Memphis – but they are very limited in what services they can offer.

  2. >Well… Jim may be exactly right…It's up to the liberal "pro-life movement " " to provide prenatal care for women in need.."….cause all the conservative think about is their massively gigantic political hammer…..ya know ….baby killers.

  3. >So Jim, why haven't they? What is stopping them?

  4. Jim

    >PurpleGirl – I don't know what is stopping them. I guess one reason is that it is easier to talk/complain about a problem than to go out and do something positive to fix it. I really believe this is a huge shortcoming of the pro-life movement. Especially when you consider the religious aspect of alot of the pro-life movement, you can't help but wonder why these churches don't come together to offer the needed services.

  5. >Jim:You don't know what's stopping them? Sure you do. They simply don't give a fuck about born babies, preferring to focus on the unborn.

  6. >Acorn was too much of a partisan political group to be so wholly supported by federal money. That works in the other direction as well–I'm glad to see that the Catholic church lost (some) tax funding because they insisted on discriminating against gays in DC. I cannot begin to understand someone equating abortion with murder while opposing pre-conception birth control. If God told me that abortion was murder, passing out condoms would be a sacred duty. Although I support Planned Parenthood with more of my own money than any other cause, (they have been my write-in choice whenever I've worked where there is a payroll-deduction charity plan) I'm not sure I like them getting tax money either, although I'm not so firm there.

  7. >Sevesteen:I mostly agree with your take on this. My only quibble would be that while the outcome of ACORN's work might be partisan in nature (the registered voters tending to vote democratic candidates into office–although I haven't seen any data on this) the intent is to register voters, regardless of political affiliation. As far as I'm concerned any money that churches recieve from the gummint ought to be accounted for to the last penny and, better yet, met with matching funds used only for secular purposes. Oh, and they should pay taxes on any monies not spent for secular "good works". Yeah, I know, I hate GOD and it will never happen. A guy can dream, can't he?

  8. >democommie:They don't care about unborn babies either. If they did they'd be tripping over themselves to make sure poor pregnant women have access to pre natal care. But no.They care about the POLITICAL ISSUE which has worked very well for them.

  9. >Demo –What government money do churches receive? Our didn't get one penny.Church affiliated organizations may get govt funds for their social service programs, but that is not the same. Our best homeless services organization here in Nashville was started by a Catholic priest. It's called Room In the Inn and it's awesome. Churches all around Nashville house and feed the homeless, it's all coordinated by the RITI/Campus for Human Development. During the day they have programs for the guests, find them jobs, alcohol and drug rehab, GED classes, etc. Each church fills out a form detailing how many homeless guests were served, how many means and showers, how many volunteers were needed, etc. From that the Campus is able to request Federal money to keep the program going. Not one penny goes to the church, it all goes to the program.The "take away the church money" folks need to understand that a program like this would not exist without federal money. Just because churches are part of the solution doesn't mean the Campus doesn't need federal funds. The churches are an integral part but they do not have the funds to keep this organization going. Though, now that I say that I will say that our church did make large $$ grants to the organization every year. And we aren't the only ones. But they require much more.

  10. >Southern Beale:Sorry if I wasn't clear.Churches are tax exempt, that is a de facto government contribution. I don't like churches being allowed to prosletyze on the public dime and, much more to the point, be used as political bully pulpits while receiving such a consideration from the government. As long as they stay out of the political arena and don't use any government funded programs to push their particular version of the myth, I don't care what they do. I'm not a person who hates GOD (I don't believe in any concept of a supreme being that would be considered as even deistic in nature) but I sure do hate when my government's resources get tangled up with the churches' "charity".

  11. >I don't like churches being allowed to prosletyze on the public dime…They aren't supposed to. They need to abide by the law in any program for which they receive federal grants.I'm not saying it never happens, but churches wouldn't be the first (or only) group receiving federal money to break the law. If proselytizing is documented an agency can lose its grant money. The Salvation Army is in trouble for just such a thing.Some church groups (Southern Baptist Convention, for example) choose to not take govt money for programs like their orphanages, because they don't want to abide by federal restrictions.Like it or not, churches do a majority of the "work" out there when dealing with the poor, homeless, sick, needy, etc. That's just reality. Much as I abhor the Salvation Army (you won't ever catch me putting money in their Christmas kettles), putting them out of business means thousands of people will go hungry and without shelter all across the country.People aren't stepping up to the plate to take care of our neighbors and fellow citizens. There's this "let the churches do it," or "let the government do it" attitude on both right and left. Just as Jim might wish that Christian health clinics offered more of the comprehensive OB/GYN services that Planned Parenthood provides, I wish more secular groups out there worked with the poor and provided these services. There are very few non-church affiliated groups, and those that are out there have targets on their back. ACORN did it and look what happened to them. Now Planned Parenthood is next.So before you start putting the churches in your crosshairs, think for a second who is going to do the social justice work that needs to be done if not the churches. Because no one else sure is.

  12. >Yesterday, ACORN dissolved.Today, I learn that the James O'Keefe "pimp" video may have been a hoax:http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/02/24/anything-goes-when-it-comes-to-hos/But no-harm-no-foul, right?I'm re-reading "Brave New World" right now, and this quote from "Brave New World Revisited" struck me:"In regard to propaganda the early advocates of uni… See More­versal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democra­cies — the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." Huxley, "Brave New World Revisited", 1958.

  13. >Southern Beale:Like I said, I have no problem with the churches that can do charitable work without making it an opportunity to win souls–as long as they can do that, they can keep their no tax status and whatever geld they can get from the gummint. I was just at a Literacy Project meeting this morning where the director said that they had four tutors from one of the local evangelical churches sign up to be tutors. That's okay, as long as they only use the reading materials that are provided by the program. The day I find out that they're sneaking a bible into some "client's" reading list or trying to entice them to come to Sunday School to get more "help", I will drop a dime on them.It's not that churches don't do lots of good work. It's that doing good work does not mean they get to put their religion into the equation.

  14. >"although I haven't seen any data on this"You should repeat this to yourself everytime you think about posting up some BS. Try to bring facts into the discussion….if you can.This goes for SoBeale as well, who will flat out lie in her posts if it pushes a particular agenda. (and then, when the lie is exposed will not amend her post to correct it)

  15. >mikey:You are such an asshole. You love sneaking back to a comment thread a week or two after it gets quiet and putting in your your turd sense worth.It is also worth noting that your comment is meaningless. You're taking no position except to be an idiot provocateur. Go play with your guns and let thinking people have a conversation.

  16. >Southern Beale, thanks so much for this post. I read the comments with interest. Jim asks why more clinics don't provide prenatal care for women in need…well, the answer is that most poor women can access prenatal care under the TennCare "presumptive eligibility" program. That allows uninsured women who might not otherwise qualify for TennCare to get on the program at least temporarily, to cover their prenatal care. The women can then go to any ob/gyn who accepts TennCare. So, prenatal care is available to women who know about this program. The bigger problem is reaching women who qualify but don't know about it, or who just don't understand the need for prenatal care at all.I do wonder why the crisis pregnancy centers like Birthright don't provide prenatal care. I guess they would rather just refer the women to TennCare, and that way the government pays for it and they don't have to. Anyway, keep up the good work, Southern Beale!