Never Let A Scandal Go To Waste

Like a page out of the Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority play book, and just in time for the Republican debates, the candidates were handed a gift from…well, Live Action.

The anti-abortion group Live Action has been targeting Planned Parenthood with elaborate media hoaxes for over nine years now.  The recent video “expose” reeks of the previous one; released in February 2011, right before the last Presidential Primaries.  As if on cue, the Republican Candidates jumped right in, willing to use this litmus test of true conservatism.  “Pick me! Pick me! No one is more ‘Pro-Life’ than me!”

Yes, the images conjured from the video are a little hard to swallow, but so was the conversation over dinner when my friend was in medical school and she would tell us about the cadaver she had just autopsied a few hours before.  I actually had to pass a no “shop talk” rule when eating with me because, although I knew something brilliant would come from her medical experience, the stories were hard to stomach.

I am pro-life.

Harvesting fetal tissue for studies have been going on since the early 1900s.  Research for Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, AIDS, Polio, Muscular Dystrophy, spinal cord injuries and macular degeneration have all used fetal tissue in their research.  Vaccines, such as chicken pox, rubella and shingles, have been produced in tissue derived from fetuses. The fact that this video from Live Action and the reaction it has caused among some of the public just shows how ignorant we really are when it comes to medical research.

The one thing we have to consider is that although this research has brought findings that have actually preserved life, it is highly regulated.  Only five states actually allow this process. What the video does not mention is that fetal tissue is from causes both natural (a miscarriage) and unnatural (an abortion).  And while the outrage is directed toward Planned Parenthood, you need to recognize the fallout will be huge.  The National Institutes of Health funds research using fetal tissue with grants to more than 50 universities, including Columbia, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, Yale and the University of California in Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

I am pro-choice.

While the Republican Congress stomps around with their investigations and Gov. Rick Scott jumps on the bandwagon threatening to fight the “evils” housed in Planned Parenthood, everyone should be brought back to reality.  Abortions are dropping in numbers, and not because of the fools who picket the clinics but because women have more options and more education than ever before. In addition, defunding Planned Parenthood won’t get the desired effect by those who wish it to happen. Abortions won’t end. But the lies and the fear fanned by the politicians will have an effect that is too early to predict on the development of new medical discoveries.

I wonder if Live Action understands that when they produce these videos, what they actually do is realign the pro-choice base.  All of those women well past their child-bearing years (but wealthy enough to write a check) are reminded what it is like to have decisions made for them. And for the young women (and men) who can’t access medical care and see an organization who is there for them be attacked, do you think they are really going to stand by and watch Planned Parenthood take the fall?

Planned Parenthood always had my support because they were there for me when I needed it. And I want them to be there for those that need it now.