Planned Parenthood's Punchline

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As part of its p.r. campaign to beef up attendance at its April 25 "March for Women's Lives" in Washington, D.C.–news accounts are projecting that as many as a million people could show up–Planned Parenthood has produced a pretty good satire bit, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy parody.

Dubbed Right-Wing Eye, it features a "Fab Five" made up of Jerry Falwell, piety pusher; Ralph Reed, sexual savant; Pat Robertson, morality maven; Pat Buchanan, cultural coordinator; and Rush Limbaugh, grooming guru." I would have thought that PP would have come out in favor of adoptions over abortions before it would have evinced any sense of humor, but we live in a world of wonders.

[Tip o' hat to Swamp City].

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  1. Sir Real,
    I thought I recalled PP literature helping to fan the flames of paranoia about the “population explosion.”
    That was my point. Not semantics.

  2. Jennifer,

    It is not logically inconsistent to be against murder and also against killing murderers. The silly conclusion that pro-lifers have to kill abortionists to earn your respect should have led you to rethink your “logic”.

    Anyhow, since that’s the problem you’ve had with pro-lifers, do you want me to email you the directions to our next anti-PP rally? I’ll lend you a sign. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Jennifer,

    It is not logically inconsistent to be against murder and also against killing murderers. The silly conclusion that pro-lifers have to kill abortionists to earn your respect should have led you to rethink your “logic”.

    Anyhow, since that’s the problem you’ve had with pro-lifers, do you want me to email you the directions to our next anti-PP rally? I’ll lend you a sign. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Crimethink-
    You’re right; instead of “inconsistent” I should have said “impractical.” I’m just trying to imagine some guy in the French Resistance, furious because his countrymen have been murdered by the Germans: “It is wrong to kill ze Nazis. Better to let them murder ze innocent, than to let MY Hands be stained with ze icky sticky blood.” (My apologies to Jean Bart, should he be reading this.)

    I wonder if that would be considered a sin in Heaven: “Yes, I could have saved the lives of hundreds of Jews, but I had moral objections to killing their Nazi murderer. Yes, I could have saved the lives of hundreds of babies, but I was too squeamish to kill their butcher.”

  5. Methinks Jennifer has been hanging out with Ruthless this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Right on, Jennifer. It’s so hard to find people these days who are opposed to abortion, while at the same time being opposed to murdering abortion doctors. Why just the other day I was in church and the priest was urging us to go out and murder abortionists, because, you know, murdering abortionists is just such a mainstream and normal thing for anti-abortion activists to advocate…

    whoops, what am I thinking… that was in your dreams, not mine.

  7. Stevie baby-
    Insult me all you want; the core inconsistency is still there. All I’m saying is that there’s a contradiction here, if you think abortion murders babies but don’t feel the need to take action to stop it. Imagine the Resistance: “Zis murder of ze Jews must stop! I will sign ze petition and attend ze candlelight vigil! ZAT should save ze lives of ze innocents!”

  8. Jennifer,

    The French resistance wouldn’t have saved a single Jew by randomly killing Nazis. All they would have accomplished would be making targets of themselves; there would be plenty of Nazis left to kill Jews.

    Similarly, will a single unborn child be saved by killing an abortionist? Probably not — the abortions will just be performed by someone else. Not to mention the fact that the pro-choice side and their allies in the media will have a field day beating up on the pro-life movement; they’ve made us out to be dangerous criminals, despite the fact there have been like 10 pro-lifers in over 30 years who’ve actually killed or bombed “for the cause”.

    Indeed, killing an abortionist may even result in more unborn children dying.

  9. I think Jennifer’s basically right, except as regards complete pacifists. If you think it’s permissible (even praiseworthy) to kill a murderer to prevent him from committing future murders (I do; I suspect the overwhelming majority of people on both sides of the abortion debate do), and you think that abortion is murder (I don’t), then I think you’re pretty much committed to the position that the murder of abortionists is permissible at the very least. The only consistent reason I can think of not to take that position if you accept the two premises is that you also believe the backlash from such killings is strong enough to make the ultimate outlawing of abortion less likely (or push it far into the future). But that’s a highly contingent, pragmatic reason to refrain from killing abortionists, not a principled one.

  10. Indeed, killing an abortionist may even result in more unborn children dying.

    Yes, because women will deliberately get themselves knocked up just so they can abort and piss people off.

    I’m not talking about how effective such behavior would be; I am talking about the morality of it. A Resistance member may have refrained from killing Nazis because, as you pointed out, that would only increade civilian casualties. That is VERY different from saying “It is immoral to kill Nazis.”

    I have no problems with anti-abortionists who take your attitude (killing the doctors would be self-defeating); what I do not understand is the idea “Killing the doctors is IMMORAL.”

    (I notice the same contradiction in religion, by the way. As an atheist I support religious freedom, but if you are a Christian who HONESTLY believes non-Xians will go to Hell, don’t you have a moral duty to force your religion on others? Just as you’d have a moral duty to vaccinate your child despite her fear of needles)

  11. Sir Real: I’ve heard that phrasing many times regarding abortion, that it should be “Safe, Legal, and Rare”. If there’s nothing wrong with abortion, why do we want it to be rare? Not to put words in the mouth of anyone on this board, but I’ve also heard pro-Choice folks object to the idea of “abortion as birth control” saying both that it’s bad, and that hardly anyone does that, and that an abortion is a serious and carefully and reluctantly made decision by the women who choose to have them. If there’s nothing wrong with abortion, what makes the decision to have one any more weighty than the decision to get a birth control hormone implant?

  12. Incidentally, I’ve long shared your concern that pro-lifers say it’s murder, but don’t act like it’s murder. I got in no small trouble in my church for saying that killing abortionists, while a bad idea for the reasons I gave above, would not in itself be morally wrong.

  13. WHoops, I didn’t realize that Mr. Sanchez would beat me to the posting.

  14. Julian Sanchez,

    I feel special. A Reason writer has responded to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But my point was, this isn’t like killing a serial killer. If you kill a serial killer, he won’t kill any more people, and there’s no reason to believe someone else will continue his work.

    However, with abortion, chances are that the abortions that would have been performed by the dead abortionist will simply be performed by another abortionist. Therefore, killing the abortionist probably saves not a single unborn child.

    And the backlash generated by abortionist-killings is hardly hypothetical. It’s already in play. The courts’ justification for denying pro-life groups their 1st Ammendment right to freedom of assembly near abortion clinics *is* the supposition that they are potentially violent.

  15. I’m pro-people and pro-family.
    Sometimes families want to kill their offspring. I’m jiggy with that.

    Am I consistent or Ruthless?

  16. Jennifer,

    Surprise, once again you resort to making a strawman. No, I don’t think women will have abortions to piss pro-life people off. I was thinking more along the lines of Mr. Sanchez, that it may slow down progress to affording legal protection to the unborn. Also, pro-lifers’ violent reputation makes some pregnant women considering abortion not listen to what we have to say, making them more likely to choose to have an abortion.

    As for the second half of your post, a Christian would say that you can’t force a person to really become a Christian. You can force them to show up at church on Sundays; you can force them to outwardly practice Christian morality; but you can’t force them to have the faith necessary to be saved.

  17. Jennifer,
    “I have no problems with anti-abortionists who take your attitude (killing the doctors would be self-defeating); what I do not understand is the idea “Killing the doctors is IMMORAL.”

    You’re really making this more difficult than it is. Virtually all pro-lifers believe murder is wrong and immoral, and therefore don’t believe that immoral means should be used to justify a moral end.

    I won’t respond to your supposed religious contradiction unless you really, REALLY want me to.

  18. BTW, the Catholic Church has always supported the morality of killing “unjust aggressors” in very specific circumstances. Each of the criteria has to be met for the killing to be moral; otherwise, it is a serious sin. One of them is that there has to be a legitimate chance that the killing will succeed in stopping the injustice perpetrated by the aggressor. Another is that the killing will not lead to greater evils.

    It is these criteria that killing abortionists fails to meet, in our current situation at least. Therefore — again, in our current situation — I would consider it immoral.

  19. tsiroth wrote: “I’ve heard that phrasing many times regarding abortion, that it should be “Safe, Legal, and Rare”. If there’s nothing wrong with abortion, why do we want it to be rare?”

    Having something be safe and legal is not the same thing as there being nothing wrong with it. I don’t think anyone on this board is saying there’s nothing wrong with abortion. Abortion is at minimum painful and traumatic to the woman. Count in the emotional damage of knowing that you’re pregnant because of sexual abuse, or because your religion forbids birth control… or the guilt that comes with “I was careless and now I have this problem I can’t deal with,” or “It’s not possible for me to be a mom right now,” or “my baby is congenitally damaged; what should I have done different?”

    No woman, ideally, should ever have to be in a position to even have to consider abortion, but when circumstances are less than ideal–often far less–we need this option to remain accessible and for it not to be dangerous. Abortion should be safe and legal… and someday obsolete.

    Full disclosure: I chose to bring a pregnancy to term and give my daughter up for adoption, when I was pregnant in college and not able to start a family. The money was offered to me to have an abortion, and I turned it down. But I have no right and no wish to impose my choice on other free women.

  20. Eric-
    In all sincerity, I really, really want to know the answer to the Christian conundrum–when the immortal soul is at stake, surely endangering the body is a justifiable means to an end.

    Like the old witch burnings, for instance–the idea was that by burning the women alive their soul would be ‘cleansed’ and eligible for Heaven. Thus we see that burning women alive is really a sweet, kind thing to do, in the long run. Likewise, Jesus o’Nazareth said “The only way unto the Father is through Me,” and “He who is not with me is against me,” and other things which translate into “Worship me or go to Hell. Literally.”

    But I don’t wish to hijack this thread onto another topic. Mr. Sanchez explained the abortion conundrum far better than I did. I understand the angry sputtering of many on this posting, but your anger and observations of my various personal and intellectual flaws does not change the fact that the phrase “Abortion is murder, but so is killing abortion doctors” is at its core nonsensical.

  21. speedwell,

    Good for you. And yes, I really mean that; my cousin was offered $10,000 by her boyfriend’s parents to have an abortion, and turned it down. You both demonstrated greater courage than I ever have.

    And yes, just because something should be legal doesn’t mean it’s not a bad thing; I support legalizing drug use, prostitution, paying workers $1/hour, etc, despite the fact that I have never, and would never, consider doing such things a good idea. If this were merely another victimless crime, I would totally agree with you. However, protecting a person’s right to life is hardly a case of imposing your choice on someone else.

  22. the phrase “Abortion is murder, but so is killing abortion doctors” is at its core nonsensical.

    How is it nonsensical “at its core”? I can see how someone could say that any premeditated killing of a person — innocent or guilty — is murder. I wouldn’t agree with them, but it isn’t necessarily a logically inconsistent, or “at its core nonsensical” statement.

  23. I think it can be proven biologically that, if you are anti-sunflower seed, you are ipso facto, anti-sunflower.

    On a related note, gerbils are cannibalistic. Being pro-gerbil means, ipso facto, that you are anti-gerbil. But of course, being anti-gerbil means that you are preventing gerbils from being eaten by other gerbils, which makes you pro-gerbil. Oh, the humanity!

  24. Crimethink-again, that statements excludes extremist pacifists who believe any and all killing is wrong. But I don’t think that applies to anyone here.

  25. However, protecting a person’s right to life is hardly a case of imposing your choice on someone else.

    Let’s say I own an apartment. I have a deadbeat tenant; he never pays rent, he makes the place unpleasant, and I don’t want him there. I evict him. He then, unable to find a new place to stay, freezes to death on the city streets one night. Have I murdered him? Or is his inability to survive his problem, and not mine? I would argue that it’s the latter — I have zero responsibility for him.

    It may well be the case that everyone has a right to live. However, nobody has a right to live inside a woman’s body without her explicit permission. She, like all property owners, has the right to evict unwanted tenants.

    So a case could be made that doctors don’t have the right to kill a fetus while it is still in the womb. They do, however, have the right to remove it, if the mother — the owner of the body — wants it removed. Whether it then lives or dies is its problem, not the mother’s or the doctor’s.

  26. Back to the real world.

    We know have the sanctimonious right working their way into a woman’s uterus to “save lives” while they actively promote draconian sentences, and even death, for real, living humans. THAT is the inconsistency although, it is tempting to take a few shots at the gauntlets they make the girls run to the clinic, too.

  27. Jennifer,

    I was merely using a pacifist as an example — as I stated before, I would consider that killing someone to be murder, unless (among other things) there’s some chance of saving a life by doing so. That condition is not met if a pro-life person kills an abortionist.

    I don’t see how that’s inconsistent.

  28. Crimethink-
    But by your same logic, it’s then wrong to kill any murderer EXCEPT a lone psychopath. Why kill one Gestapo agent? Why should a black man take out one lynching Klansman? For that matter, why fight evil at all? After all, there will always be more where THAT came from–more thieves to replace the ones locked in jail, more serial killers to replace the one we just fried.

    Just because you can’t eliminate ALL evil is no reason not to eliminate ANY Of it. That’s just plain laziness, regardless of where you stand on abortion.

  29. New joke:

    I like my steaks like I like my abortions:
    Safe, legal and rare.

    Thank you.
    I’ll go now.

  30. If there’s nothing wrong with abortion, why do we want it to be rare?

    The “and rare” part refers to the desire to see a minimum of unwanted pregnancies.

    As a parallel — I believe that there is nothing wrong with having a skin tumor removed. Does that mean that it is logically inconsistent for me to believe that skin tumor removal operations should be safe, legal, and rare? Of course not. The same reasoning applies to abortions. It’s better to prevent unwanted pregnancies (or skin tumors) in the first place, but when that fails, abortion (or surgery) should be a safe and legal option.

  31. Jennifer,
    “In all sincerity, I really, really want to know the answer to the Christian conundrum–when the immortal soul is at stake, surely endangering the body is a justifiable means to an end.”

    All right, briefly (since I don’t want to hijack the current topic, either, but I’d be glad to discuss more over e-mail): God gave us free will. His gift of grace is also that: a gift. Because of free will, it is not an ultimatum, but something we can accept or reject. Because God doesn’t mess with our free will (which you should consider a good thing, btw) he honors the choice we make. And if God doesn’t mess with free will, then we Christians should also do the same.

  32. We know have the sanctimonious right working their way into a woman’s uterus to “save lives” while they actively promote draconian sentences, and even death, for real, living humans

    Your complaint doesn’t make any sense, Gadfly. The stereotypical member of the “sanctimonious right” believes that both fetuses and, for example, murderers, are human beings. The difference is that, in their eyes, the former are innocent, helpless children, whereas the latter are evil and (by definition) murderous. That is why it’s ok, in the eyes of the “sanctimonious right”, to execute murderers, but not to perform abortions.

    Granted, instead of calling themselves “pro-life” they should call themselves “pro-life-for-everyone-except-really-evil-people-like-murderers-and-rapists”, but just try sqeezing THAT into a newspaper headline. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. >>>I support religious freedom, but if you are a Christian who HONESTLY believes non-Xians will go to Hell, don’t you have a moral duty to force your religion on others?

    I think this may be the stupidest comment I’ve ever seen posted here. Either that, or you are an atheist by default, rather than choice – since it’s pretty clear from that comment that you couldn’t have given *informed* consent to the belief system you follow – you haven’t a clue what the opposition is all about.

    I also find your manner of lumping everybody who is even slightly queasy about abortion into the category of abortionist murderers to be a somewhat totalitarian method of argument.

  34. Eric-
    But is it truly free will when you’re being threatened? If I hold a gun to your head (or the head of your child) and tell you to say “Jennifer is God” or else I’ll kill you, well, technically you have the choice to refuse but really, that’s a choice in name only. Basically, your God is saying “You don’t HAVE to worship me, but if you refuse you’ll be tortured for all the rest of eternity. Enjoy your free will!”

    That’s semantic free will, not the real thing.

  35. Who says fetuses are innocent? Square that with original sin.

  36. And you freaks wonder why Libertarians get a bad rap.

  37. “I also find your manner of lumping everybody who is even slightly queasy about abortion into the category of abortionist murderers to be a somewhat totalitarian method of argument.”

    If you go back and read again, Stephen, you’ll see that I wasn’t lumping them all together; I said they should lump themselves together. A subtle difference, but an important one.

  38. Jeez, I keep forgetting which side I’m on in this thread. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Jennifer,

    I’m not saying that there’s no point to fighting evil because more will come along anyway. I’m saying that when there is practically no good that can come from killing an evildoer and potentially a lot of problems that can arise from doing so, it’s not justifiable homicide, but murder.

    If you can save someone’s life, and not create an even bigger problem than you started out with, I would fully support killing an aggressor. This would not be the case, however, with an individual, or even the pro-life movement as a whole, killing abortionists. Not a single child would be saved and things would get much worse. Like I used to tell some of the wild-eyed screamers at our marches, our goal is to save babies — don’t let anything get in the way of that.

    I think a big problem with our national ethos, and not just in the pro-life movement, at this point is that we don’t step back and think about what we’re doing, we just react. The prevailing thought process seems to be, ‘You hit me, I hit you,’ without regard for the fact that there may be more effective ways to respond.

  39. Well, one way to do that is to mind your own business.

    If men got pregnant there would be no abortion discussion at all. Think about that.

  40. Crimethink-
    Again, I understand where you’re coming from, but it seems that you are rejecting violence for pragmatic reasons rather than principled ones. To revisit an earlier mataphor, you’re like the French Resistance member who says “Don’t kill Germans because it will only result in more French deaths.” That’s very true, and a good, practical tactical decision. BUT, it would STILL be morally acceptable to kill Nazis, if you could do it in a way that wouldn’t hurt more innocents.

  41. Gadfly-
    In keeping with your comment on original sin, here’s something to think about: back during the Kosovo war, a lot of Kosovar women were being raped by Serbs. The Vatican, continuing the tradition of humanitarianism for which it is well-known, opposed giving the morning-after pill to Kosovar rape victims, on anti-abortion grounds. (Better to make the rape victims suffer through pregnancy and childbirth, plus the social stigma of being unwed mothers.)

    But consider: those rape-child babies would all be born to Muslim mamas, which means they’d be raised Muslim, which means they’d go to Hell when they died! As a good Catholic who doesn’t want to see people going to Hell, wouldn’t it be more virtuous to encourage pregnant non-Catholics to abort? That way, at least their babies can go to Limbo rather than out-and-out Hell.

    Too many moral inconsistencies with religions, when you think them through all the way.

  42. Gadfly,

    Funny, men can’t be victims of heterosexual rape, but it’s been illegal since long before women’s rights.

    Jennifer,

    Whatever.

  43. Who says fetuses are innocent? Square that with original sin.

    Original sin is a Catholic doctrine. The “sanctimonious right”, in the United States at least, are overwhelmingly Protestant, and do not follow the “original sin” doctrine.

  44. Thanks for the responses. Regarding ‘rare’ referring to a desire to reduce unwanted pregnancies, that’s certainly fair. And certainly just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s okay. I support legalization of crack, but I certainly wouldn’t marry a crack addict. I guess one of the stumbling blocks I run into is that whether to have an abortion seems to be a decision that people who are pro-Choice still agonize over in a way that they wouldn’t for other potentially dangerous but minor surgeries (such as having a wisdom tooth removed). The difficulty of the decision leads me to wonder if their own moral intuition isn’t telling them something.
    I was staunchly pro-Choice right up until I got pregnant at 18. The baby’s father was only 20, we were not dating, and neither of us were fit parents. I had always thought that if I got pregnant I would just have an abortion, but when it actually happened, I couldn’t even consider it. My daughter was adopted by a wonderful couple in Ohio who had been trying to adopt for 8 years. They send me pictures and letters twice a year. She’ll be 10 in October. Watching two strangers walk out of the hospital with my child was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. And at the time I had more than one young woman tell me that she would have an abortion because it would be “too hard” to put a baby up for adoption. Frankly, I don’t think -that- is a very good reason.

  45. Either that, or you are an atheist by default, rather than choice

    Everyone is an atheist by default. Belief in gods is learned; lack of belief in gods, like lack of belief in countless other things real and unreal (planets, leprechauns, etc), is natural.

    since it’s pretty clear from that comment that you couldn’t have given *informed* consent to the belief system you follow – you haven’t a clue what the opposition is all about.

    That’s a silly line of reasoning. There are thousands of religions in the world, and nobody’s familiar with all of them. Ergo nobody can possibly, according to your argument, give informed consent to be Christian, Muslim, Shinto, or anything else — they aren’t familiar enough with “the opposition” to do so.

    Like the saying goes, atheists just believe in one fewer gods than Christians do. No matter what religious belief you feel is correct, you must necessarily believe the overwhelming majority of humanity’s religious beliefs are wrong.

    However, your larger point, that atheists shouldn’t criticize Christian doctrine without first learning what it is, is certainly fair. Of course, I’ve spoken to a few too many Christians who think that “atheist” equates to “thinks theft and murder are fine and dandy” to exactly weep with sympathy for the poor, misunderstood Christian faith. ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Funny, men can’t be victims of heterosexual rape

    Um, yes, they can. Unless you’re arguing that the presence of an erection proves that the man wanted to have sex? That’s dangerous reasoning. I can picture a male rapist using that kind of argument at his trial — “she was wet, so I knew she wanted it”.

    but it’s been illegal since long before women’s rights.

    Could you provide a reference for that claim? For most of history, rape was a property crime; the rapist was damaging the property of another man, usually either the husband or father of the female victim. The notion of women taking MEN against their will strikes me as completely foreign to pre-women’s-rights law. Women weren’t conceived of as independent, responsible actors for most of western history.

  47. Dan,

    A woman who’s not “wet” can still be raped; a man without an erection can’t (heterosexually, at least). All right, I suppose it’s a very unlikely possibility that a weakling with an spontaneous erection, which does not respond to his unwillingness to have sex, could be raped by a woman. Still, in 99.999% of heterosexual rapes a woman is the victim.

    True, I suppose the woman’s rights were not the main concern with older rape laws. In fact, abortion was legal in the early US, as I recall, which sort of shoots holes in the argument that anti-abortion laws were the tool of patriarchy.

  48. Original sin is a Catholic doctrine. The “sanctimonious right”, in the United States at least, are overwhelmingly Protestant, and do not follow the “original sin” doctrine.

    Um . . . no. The Lutherans, Methodists, Assemblies of God and the Episcopals, I’m certain, all believe in original sin.

  49. BTW, Gadfly,

    Legal abortion is also mighty convenient for men who don’t want to have to support an unwanted child for 18 years. So you see, both sexes can have reasons to fight for “the right to choose”.

  50. crimethink,
    If men could simply have their erections go down, puberty would’ve been a lot less embarassing for a whole lot of guys. I think it’s quite possible for a guy to be “forced” to have an erection. Granted, it takes quite a bit more effort on the part of the rapist, but it is possible. However, heterosexual rape of a man is a lot less invasive and humiliating, I imagine, than heterosexual rape of a woman and homosexual rape of men. Something about the actual act of being penetrated against your will seems worse to me.

  51. Quote: “Right on, Jennifer. It’s so hard to find people these days who are opposed to abortion, while at the same time being opposed to murdering abortion doctors. Why just the other day I was in church and the priest was urging us to go out and murder abortionists, because, you know, murdering abortionists is just such a mainstream and normal thing for anti-abortion activists to advocate…”

    Well, depending on how one parses these things, I am opposed to abortion but also opposed to snipers murdering abortionists. I struggle with whether and under what circumstances it should be legal to abort unborn human offspring, but do not believe the practice of doing so is worth a general decline of civil order– that is what one has when vigilantes shoot abortionists. (Abortion, btw, cannot literally be murder, because it is legal.)

    Pro-choice analogies are often glib and stupid. Unborn human offspring are not akin to sunflower seeds; when I was 8 weeks pregnant with my first I heard his heartbeat via an ultrasound stethoscope. Human reproduction is not that of plants. Show me the sunflower seed with its own heart and blood type, DNA, and gender.

    As to Planned Parenthood, I had resisted my Roman Catholic mother’s demonization of it (because I ardently believe that contraception is the sine qua non of female liberty). However, I did agree to read a book she gave me purporting to document that its founder, Margaret Sanger, held racist and pro-eugenic beliefs. Having checked some of the footnotes in that book, I have been compelled to concede the point. It is entirely valid to say that, at least in its early years, when PP was known as the Birth Control League, PP and Ms. Sanger advocated anti-people ideology and embraced pro-Nazi views, unto publishing and lauding them. This is a matter of historical fact that I can and will document, if anyone challenges me. (I still possess the book my mother gave me.)

    BTW. PP apologists have defended against these accusation by not outright denying them, but rather by claiming such comments require “context.” There is no defensible context however, for abetting the author of Hitler’s Racial Purity Laws, and Sanger herself openly fretting about the “moron” status of Eastern Europeans immigrants. One of Sanger’s favorite slogans captures her views: “More children from the fit, less from the unfit.” All of this can be googled.

    –Mona–

  52. I wonder if they’re using Farakhan math, i.e., 0.5 = 1. That seems to be the usual equation groups use for predicting D.C. demonstration attendance.

  53. Mona: yes, Sanger was a racist eugenitics-advocating product of the early 20th Century. So everything she made was evil? Planned Parenthood advocates reproductive health, the availability of birth control, counseling, and abortion services. That’s what it does. Pap smears aren’t exactly joyous events, but they are far from evil.

    Gee, I hope you think the USA is evil, too. It was founded by racist landgrabbers who wanted to institute a monarchy. But somehow, we became something better than our forebearers intended.

    I think abortion kills a child. But I don’t want to live in a country where women are forced to have a child, which is the fundamental problem the anti-abortion crowd has. Yeah, I know most unplanned pregnancies can be avoided. But I also know that unplanned pregnancies come from a lack of planning, bad planners make bad parents, and adoption isn’t easy. I’m willing to be inconsistent, because it leads to more freedom at the cost of unwanted children. It’s not good to see it as a mathematical equation, but I generally side for more freedom for those with the choices.

  54. Humor on the left (sorta).

    Wonders never cease.

    Jeff

  55. I’m conflicted about what Planned Parenthood promotes.
    On the one hand, it’s pro-freedom.
    On the other, it’s anti-people.

  56. A woman who’s not “wet” can still be raped; a man without an erection can’t (heterosexually, at least)

    So you *do* think that a woman who is sexually aroused has consented to sex, and therefore cannot be raped? Or are you dodging the point, here?

    Yes, non-physically-sexually-aroused women can be raped. But so can ones who are physically sexually aroused — and, indeed, physical sexual arousal is not uncommon during rape, since it is partly an automatic reaction to stimulation of that area, in women as in men.

    Men can be heterosexually raped; we just have to be in a state of sexual arousal for it to happen. Given that (as all post-pubescent men know) sexual arousal is NOT something the conscious mind fully controls, it is certainly possible for a woman to arouse, and force herself upon, an unwilling man. So you’re completely wrong when you say heterosexual men can’t be raped.

    Still, in 99.999% of heterosexual rapes a woman is the victim

    Your estimation that 0.001% of heterosexual rape victims are male underestimates the frequency of female-on-male sexual assault by three or four orders of magnitude.

    Ironically, your dismissal of all men who claim to be rape victims as, by definition, either liars or “weaklings with spontaneous erections” provides an excellent illustration of just why male rape gets underreported.

  57. Um . . . no. The Lutherans, Methodists, Assemblies of God and the Episcopals, I’m certain, all believe in original sin.

    Perhaps I phrased it badly. Episcopalians, Methodists, et. al, believe in “original sin” in the sense that they believe that humans are inherently prone to be sinful. They do not believe in the Catholic doctrine of original sin. Actually, I’m not positive about Lutherans in this regard (my personal experience is with Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians, especially the latter), but that’s certainly how I’ve always read their doctrine.

    The Catholic doctrine of original sin, which is what’s relevant to this discussion, holds that babies are actually *guilty* of sin from the moment of conception. No major Protestant sect believes this, so far as I’m aware.

    I do, however, confess that I’ve always found the entire idea to be mind-numbingly stupid, so I may have missed or forgotten some of the, um, “finer points”.

  58. “On the other, it’s anti-people.”

    I think it’s anti-calling fetuses people.

  59. Jon writes: “Sanger was a racist eugenitics-advocating product of the early 20th Century. So everything she made was evil? Planned Parenthood advocates reproductive health, the availability of birth control, counseling, and abortion services. That’s what it does. Pap smears aren’t exactly joyous events, but they are far from evil.

    Gee, I hope you think the USA is evil, too. It was founded by racist landgrabbers who wanted to institute a monarchy. But somehow, we became something better than our forebearers intended.”

    Well, as to the last, no, slavery was bitterly argued by our founders, many of whom wished to abolish it. The contradiction in our declared values and slavery was seen by many, from the outset.

    In any event, I did not say PP today is “evil.” But knowing what I know now, when viewing motion pictures about Sanger I nearly barf — such sanitized versions of her life and motives are an affront to intellectual honesty. Too many feminists also excuse her views and policies. Not everyone then in the first half of the 20th century, not nearly everyone, advocated what she did. PP was largely born in vicious beliefs, and that is a fact. Sanger was not primarily about liberating women, at least not in the full flush of her most productive years. On the cover of her “Birth Control Review” was the slogan, “Birth control: to create a race of thoroughbreds.” Her emphasis was *not* women’s health and emancipation.

    Moreover, some of her contemporaneous opponents — including some of the Catholic ones — had sound reasons for opposing her, and this is not usually set forth in the simplistic, binary, Manichean presentations of Sanger and the founding of PP. Population “control” is an area fraught with danger; telling the truth about Sanger and the founding of PP would be an important and cautionary lesson.

    –Mona–

  60. “I think it’s anti-calling fetuses people”

    I think it’s pro-calling people fetuses.

  61. Dan writes: “I do, however, confess that I’ve always found the entire idea [Original Sin] to be mind-numbingly stupid, so I may have missed or forgotten some of the, um, ‘finer points’.”

    Dan, this Augustinian notion has pretty much passed into the entire Xian world. Luther, for example, liked nearly all that Augustine wrought; he simply hated the papacy and the excesses of indulgences and such. But he didn’t throw out Original Sin. Neither have most other Xians, even if they do not speak of the concept in that way.

    A few weeks back the works of Elaine Pgels came up in another thread, and I therein referenced Pagels’ “Adam, Eve and the Serpent.” She shows how Augusitne largely changed the course of Western history with his notions of “The Fall” and “Original Sin.” These were disputed by many of his contemporaries, but he prevailed.

    –Mona–

  62. It was pretty f—ing lame, actually. Both my wife and are pretty vehemently pro-abortion but this was yet another example of why anti-abortion forces are gradually prevailing in this country. They have a better feel for the culture — I suppose your average Nation reader might have found this knee slapping funny but to this Reason reader it appeared pretty pedantic and lame.

  63. I think it can be proven biologically that, if you are anti-sunflower seed, you are ipso facto, anti-sunflower.

  64. Calvinism, especially American Puritanism, also had Original Sin, only they called in Total Depravity, as in “mankind is born into a state of total depravity.” All Christian sects have some version of O.S. or T.D. This is why you MUST worship Jesus to go to Heaven; because of Original Sin, or Total Depravity, or whatever, any person is guaranteed to be too sinful to qualify for Heaven, but God’ll give you a waiver if you worship Jesus.

  65. Ruthless-

    Calling Planned Parenthood “anti-people” by using your sunflower analogy has one central problem-

    Planned Parenthood is not “anti-fetus”, it is, as Critic noted, anti-calling-fetuses-people. In the terms of your analogy, PP is anti-calling-flowers-seeds.

    Most abortion providers fall into the difficult situation of believing that abortion should be SAFE, LEGAL, and RARE. Because PP believes that, they don’t advocate compulsory abortion per China.

    You are welcome to believe that Fetus’s are people, but to extrapolate that PP has some pathological hatred of humanity because it defends a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy OF HER OWN FREE WILL does not compute.

  66. Ruthless,

    No point in getting into a chicken and egg debate.
    Or sperm and egg if you’re a Catholic.
    Buh-bye.

  67. Mona: yes, Sanger was a scummy product of and producer of her time. But yes, there is legitimacy in the concept of looking at her with “context”. Look at the inventor of cornflakes: he was a dangerous loon who mutilated men and women in the interests of health. Henry Ford was a racist. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. These can be googled, too (as well as countless false things, so don’t consider “googleability” to equal “factual”). But what does that prove?

    But since Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually force anyone to get contraception, sterilization, or abortion today, what difference does it make whether or not the founder had racist goals? It’s historically interesting, but it really must be taken in its historical context. That’s not to excuse her, only to put her in her place (with all the other racist idiots in our past).

  68. To rephrase Ruthless, if you’re anti-protecting-sunflower seeds, you can hardly be pro-protecting-sunflowers.

  69. Actually, Ruthless, nobody here is against sunflower seeds; I just don’t mistake them for actual sunflowers.

  70. I’m all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    The pro-lifers have the life thing down, and that’s good because life is important.

    The pro-choicers have the liberty thing down, and that’s good because liberty is important.

    I’ve said for a long time that both sides get so angry and upset over this issue that they’ve let the pursuit of happiness fall by the wayside. So for a while my stance was to ignore both sides and refuse to take a stance.

    But if the pro-choice side gets a sense of humor and the pro-lifers don’t follow suit, well, 2 out of 3 issues means that the victory will go to the pro-choicers and I’ll become pro-choice.

    Come on, guys, you can do it! Tell those jokes! Win me over!

  71. There is some humor out their – google “abortion joke”.

    Q: Did ya hear what President Clinton had to say about the Abortion Bill?

    A: Ah thought ah paid it!

    I think they could mix in some dead baby jokes too:

    Q: Why do you put a baby in the blender feet-first?

    A: To watch its expression.

  72. The problem I’ve always had with the anti-abortion groups is that there is a core contradiction to their beliefs. I grew up around religious folk who always said “Abortion is murder,” but they were also opposed to bombing clinics and killing doctors.

    “Wait a minute,” I said. “You think abortion is murder, but you also say it’s morally wrong to kill an abortionist who murders hundreds of babies a year? Isn’t that like saying it’s morally wrong to kill the Nazis who work in concentration camps?”

    So of course the man fires back: “What, are you saying people should kill abortion doctors?”

    “Absolutely not, but I’m pro-choice, so I’m not contradicting myself.”

    Seriously, when it comes to anti-abortion people, I have more respect for the evil twisted fuckers who bomb the clinics. I hate them, and I favor the death penalty for them, but at least they are mentally consistent.

    I am curious, though, to know how an anti-abortionist can simultaneously believe that abortion is murder AND that abortion doctors should not be killed.

  73. Mona-
    I agree with you about Sanger but want to try arguing your point, mainly as an intellectual exercise but also because I need a break from auction-posting (smiley-face).

    First of all, a rhetorical question: with the possible exceptions of Frederick Douglass and Mark Twain (whom I plan to meet, seduce and marry as soon as time travel is invented, but please don’t tell my boyfriend), what influential, important person from a hundred or more years ago could still be considered moral by today’s standards? Hell, even my beloved Mr. Clemens fought for the Confederate Army, albeit briefly.

    Secondly: I haven’t read too deeply on Margaret Sanger so I don’t know how easy it would be to refute this, but could it be possible that she thought she was being logical and scientific and rational, given the ideas of her times? She lived back when fraudulent ideas like phrenelogy were considered by many to be cutting-edge scientific discoveries; could she be considered the nineteenth-century equivalent of a modern person who thinks that Down’s Syndrome people should not have children? (I confess I am one such person, yet I am by no means racist. I’m an equal-opportunity misanthrope, making no distinctions for skin color.)

    The whole idea of eugenics *sounds* sensible, after all, and bits of it are in use today–for example, two Hasidic Jews who carry the Tay-Sachs gene are encouraged to never have children together. In Sanger’s day there were no Hitlerian precedents to force people to admit the fundamental immorality of the argument (similar to the way one can respect a person who was a devout Communist in the 1920s but not one who is now, after Stalin and the Cultural Revolution and Cuba and the Khmer Rouge).

    Finally, I guess PP hasn’t refuted her because IF you ignore the racism and eugenics, she WAS nonetheless a woman brave enough to call attention to the taboo fact that constant childbearing was bad for women’s physical and financial health. Besides, if they refute her, who’s left for them to admire?

    Meanwhile: If anybody says that ALL advocates of government family planning must be noble and good, try these four words: “China’s one child policy.”

  74. Uh. . .nineteenth- or early twentieth-century people, I mean. I was distracted.

  75. So, because of racist idiots of a century ago, governments shouldn’t have anything to do with family planning? I don’t get it. Family planning involves choices, not coersion. The incidences of sterilization of “imbeciles” have lagged quite a bit lately, if I’m not mistaken.

    Sanger was involved with eugenics, but that was a fad that swept the world at that time. It was a the result of Darwinian thought being misapplied, to the general detriment of those deemed lesser stock. Racism, nationalism, and imperialism all took the popular ideas of Darwinism and twisted them to their own purposes. Same sickness, new symptoms.

  76. jennifer asks: “First of all, a rhetorical question: with the possible exceptions of Frederick Douglass and Mark Twain (whom I plan to meet, seduce and marry as soon as time travel is invented, but please don’t tell my boyfriend), what influential, important person from a hundred or more years ago could still be considered moral by today’s standards? Hell, even my beloved Mr. Clemens fought for the Confederate Army, albeit briefly.”

    Good question and point. I do NOT accept judging yesteryear’s actors by today’s standards. If we did that, we would have to condemn nearly everyone not in our own era.

    Part of my point about Sanger is that I discovered she is not what I was told she was; as a good feminist in the late 70s and early 80s, I had been told she was all about women’s rights and the right to control her own body, and I championed her against my RC mother and others.

    The historical, record shows my naive notions were simply false. It came to pass that honesty required me to admit this. (I should clarify I have always been deeply conflicted about abortion, so in that aspect never made a 100% truly “good feminist.” But otherwise I was on board with them until the early 80s.)

    But my personal disillusionment is not the only issue. Sanger began her nursing career concerned for women. This is true. But that was brief. By the time she began PP and founded her journal, “The Birth Control Review,” her primary motivation was a terror that America was being overrun by “morons” and by the “spawning and swarming” racial pools like blacks and Eastern Europeans. She wrote vehemently against both welfare and charity, which she said prevented the death and diminution of those who were “unfit.” On her PP board was Lothrop Stoddard, who met Hitler and loved him; Stoddard wrote a lovely book called “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy.” She founded the Population Association of America, and appointed as its head a notorious racist, Henry Pratt Fairchild, who denigrated Jews as inferior to Americans of “Nordic stock.” Sanger was a fascist — through and through.

    I could go on. But really, she was a putrid human being, even if she did fight to make contraception legal. Hitler liked birth control, too, at least for non-Aryans.

    –Mona–

  77. And Hitler also insisted that good Aryan women have lots of babies. Funny, the man with the small moustache can prove both our points.

    Hitler didn’t invent racist evil. Neither did Sanger. Us versus Them takes on whatever disguise the era’s movers and shakers want to put it behind. That Hitler is now synomymous with evil is largely his doing, but there were plenty of others who did their best to get that crown. Sanger was very small fry in that pond.

  78. jon writes: “And Hitler also insisted that good Aryan women have lots of babies. Funny, the man with the small moustache can prove both our points.”

    No, he does not. Sanger advocated coercion in family planning, and was virulently racist. She liked the idea of the “fit” having lots of babies, but was alarmed by the Jews, blacks and Eastern Europeans procreating. So, she published and assoicated with many pro-Hitler folks.

    Coercion has been an ever-present threat in “population control.” Contraception access, like speech and religious belief, are great liberties, except when the govt gets involved. Sanger wanted the govt involved in family planning. Along the lines of Hitler’s policies.

    I advocate that family planning should be utterly legal, but thoroughly privatized. And I do not argue that all philanthropy is “dyseugenic.” The founder of PP advocated govt concentration camps for the unsterilized “morons” and the end to charity. So no, Hitler or other fascists cannot be placed in my corner.

    –Mona–

  79. jon writes: “Sanger was a scummy product of and producer of her time. But yes, there is legitimacy in the concept of looking at her with “context”. Look at the inventor of cornflakes: he was a dangerous loon who mutilated men and women in the interests of health. Henry Ford was a racist. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves.”

    No nexus exists between their injurious ideas and their contributions; Ford did not advocate automobiles as a path to solving the “Jewish problem.” Total disjunction. Jefferson failed to live up to the very ideals he so well articulated. Sanger articulated vicious ideals.

    Sanger and the first decade or two of PP were, as their raison d’etre, dedicated to advancing a racist and eugenic program via that which they lived to advocate, namely, birth control. Margaret Sanger, for Christ’s sake, advocated *concentration camps.* She felt that as much as 50% of the population should submit to sterilization or be segregated in them. PP grew and become powerful with that agenda appealing to its supporters. Sanger was not so much influenced by “her times,” as she was a major mover and shaker in them; one who created the filthy context. She promoted and had on her board men who advocated for Hitler and one of whom wrote the model eugenics law Hilter adopted, and for which Der Fuhrer bestowed on Sanger’s board member an award.

    In my strong opinion, this is information that should be factored into arguments that everyone who supports govt family planning programs is necessarily noble and good. Contraception per se is a great good, in my view, but a terrible tool in the hands of govt. And, it is important to know that even an icon like PP has solid roots in the worst thinking in that regard.

    Truth is its own justification. Just because some arguments against PP and contraception come from religionists we both regard as benighted, not all that they argue can be dismissed. PP was founded and grew in sickening ideology. Why does PP still give annual awards in Sanger’s name? Why does it not repudiate her?

    –Mona–

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