I recently heard an NPR "On Point" report on the current republican plan to attack "abortions" by eliminating federal funding for the Planned Parenthood company. You can listen to this show here. The basic argument made by Kellie Fiedorek, who is part of Americans United for Life (a conservative party whose interest is in abolishing abortions) is that:
- 70% of Americans are against abortions (no source given, which makes it a suspect figure).
- Planned Parenthood gives abortions to everyone that requests them.
- Planned Parenthood is partially government funded.
- We are in a recession.
Their reasoning then is that because we don't have the money and because the majority of Americans are against abortions we should eliminate Planned Parenthood from the budget.
First off, I think that we need to get some facts straight:
- According to this Gallup poll, only about 51% of Americans are pro-life, compared to 42% pro-choice, which is for the most part statistically insignificant. 70% of all Republican-leaning self-identified Americans are pro-life, so according to Ms. Fiedorek the rest of us aren't real Americans (more on that later).
- Yes, Planned Parenthood does provide abortions, but abortions are still legal. Actually, about 76% of Americans feel that abortions should be legal in all or some cases. Only about 22% feel that they should be illegal in all cases.
- Planned Parenthood isn't just about abortions. They also provide sex education, rape counseling, family planning, and contraceptives in an environment that teens don't have to be ashamed or afraid of, and at a subsidized cost for families that couldn't afford these services normally.
- We are in this recession because of government deregulation compounded by corporate greed, which is the only thing that has "trickled down" to the consumer in recent years.
Have you noticed yet that all of the recent Republican rhetoric has focused on eliminating programs and aid to the lower and lower-middle class? There is no talk of cutting or overhauling the biggest drains on our budget (Defense spending, Medicare, and Medicaid) on the Republican side, even though these programs have proven time and again to be bloated, inefficient, and unsustainable. This got me looking a bit closer at Kellie Fiedorek too. She is a svelte, attractive 20-something graduate of the University of Dallas and The Ave Maria School of Law. Her impressive and sudden rise to the spotlight indicates a few things to me:
- Kellie was not raised in a single-parent household (or that single parent happened to be independently wealthy, but I'm speculating).
- Kellie's parents are not wanting in funds (that perfect smile indicates a rather expensive dental plan) or at least made collectively more than $40K a year.
- Kellie was raised in a very religious household, or at least practices religion whenever she can (The Ave Maria School of Law is a Catholic school).
- Kellie has probably (again, speculation) never been the victim of a violent sexual assault.
Now, if any of those things are true (and they very probably are, but let's face it -- Kellie isn't going to lend me her memoirs any time soon) my point is this: WHERE THE HELL DOES KELLIE FIEDOREK GET OFF TELLING OTHER PEOPLE HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES?!
I mean, she's had no first-hand experience (that I can see in her profile) with any of the situations that underprivileged and hard-working families have to face, and is therefore NOT qualified to comment on any of these situations. Since we're on rote generalization, her hands-over-her-ears interrupting of other speakers during the "On Point" session makes her seem like the spoiled, entitled, snobbish rich girl that was hot enough in high school that all the boys would be nice to her, even though she had the personality of a prickly pear.
That got me thinking, "Why isn't there a system in place where only people with first hand knowledge of the effects of this get to vote on it?" I mean, rich old white men obviously shouldn't be able to write, maintain, or even determine these abortion laws and funding issues unless they have a relative (a close one, like a wife, mother, sister or daughter) who was in this sort of compromised position. I'm not saying that we should flood the country with federally-subsidized rapists, just that people with privilege and no first or even second-hand experience in these matters should not be able to vote against the experts, the people, and common sense on these issues. After all, think about what the world would be like if Kellie's axioms were applied to other things:
- People are hit with baseball bats every day.
- Baseball bats are made of wood.
- Wood is found in trees.
- Therefore, we must burn down all trees.
- 70% of Americans don't like hybrid cars.
- Hybrid cars run on gas and electricity.
- Gasoline engines are still more efficient.
- Therefore, I will pour gasoline in my toaster and get efficient toast.
You can basically use this reasoning to get rid of anything by ignoring everything outside of your argument.
And that, my friends, is why Sarah Palin will be our next president.