Planned Parenthood and the Concept of Freedom

This is a short opinion piece I did, in light of recent affairs concerning Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood has been popping up in my e-mail and facebook accounts as of late.  Unfortunately, it’s because PP is facing an attack from the federal government, in the form of a proposed bill which would stop federal funding of the nationwide clinic, and possibly shut it down.  The bill was proposed by a group of extreme pro-lifers who dislike that PP offers the option of abortion to women.

I feel this specific group of pro-lifers (not all pro-lifers—this group gives the rest a bad name) must have shut off all cognitive ability for them to even propose this bill, and any members of congress even considering it must have followed in suit.

This article is to address something different than pro-choice and pro-life, so I don’t need to get into it, but I want to anyway.  PP provides communities with affordable health care options, specifically for sexual health.  One cannot even get an abortion at a typical Planned Parenthood clinic—there’s usually a specific location someone would have to go to if she wanted an abortion.  One of the reasons for this is to ensure that no federal money funds abortions, as PP is aware that many tax-payers morally oppose abortion.  Essentially, then, all this extreme pro-life group would accomplish is cutting money that funds sexual health care (not abortions), as well as services that include but are not limited to accessible birth control (which would help prevent abortion) and affordable help for pregnant women who want to carry their babies to term (so she wouldn’t be forced into an abortion for financial reasons).  As I said, there was little to no cognitive ability going into the planning of this bill.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg.  There are deeper reasons why this attack is stupid and unfounded, which have little to do with pro-life or pro-choice.  We live in a free country.  People tend to misunderstand the whole of what that means.  To live in a free country means, for the most part, you are free to do as you like.  People get that part.  They seem to not quite get, however, that living in a free country means other people are free to do as they like.  Meaning there’s going to be a lot of people doing things you don’t like.  But, as long as they’re within the law, they’re free to piss you off day and night.

Let’s look at some non-abortion examples.  I hate the Ku Klux Klan.  They do nothing but engender hatred and racism, and open up scars in this country that are still trying to heal.  I’m morally opposed to everything the KKK stands for.  But I recognize their right to free speech and the first amendment.  They’re United States citizens and that makes them free.  They’re free to spread their messages of hatred and bull-shit, so long as they operate within the parameters of the law.  They’re free to piss me off.

Here’s another example.  States decide whether or not it’s okay to execute someone.  I’m morally opposed to the death penalty.  It’s archaic as well as barbaric and it sickens me to know my tax dollars fund executions.  (Notice how states don’t care about my morality when spending?)  The other reason I hate sanctioned executions is because it is a violation of someone’s rights.  True, a person on death row will have been convicted of an extreme felony, but the eye-for-an-eye mentality should be reserved for the medieval era, and not practiced in an advanced society.  (Especially when you consider we are the only first world country that allows execution.)  What makes the death penalty more disturbing is that numerous individuals who’ve been murdered by their states have later been proved innocent.  The reason that some states allow this practice, however, is because that’s what the voters want.  They’re exercising their rights in our legal system, and all I can do in return is exercise mine.  I wouldn’t dream of taking away anyone’s choice in that; even when that choice flies in the face of my morality.

I can’t say whether abortion is right or wrong.  I don’t know what choice I would make in such a situation.  True, some people use it as a belated form of birth control (though, thanks to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, that’s not so much the case anymore).  But I can’t imagine looking a rape victim in the eye and telling her that she has to carry her assailant’s baby to term.  I can’t imagine forcing a cancer patient to go through with a pregnancy at the risk of both her and the unborn baby’s life.  I can’t imagine asking an abused wife to have a baby that will have an abusive father.  I can’t imagine telling anyone what to do with their children and their bodies.  The truth is, I’m not qualified to make those choices for individuals.  And neither is the government, or any other organization.

“Pro-choice” doesn’t mean people go around getting abortions willy-nilly—it means a woman has the freedom to chose what she thinks will ultimately be best for her and her baby.  (A lot of women, by the by, make the choice to keep their babies—they don’t have to be bullied or forced into it.)  Pro-choice means a woman decides what happens with her own body.  It means we may not agree with the choice she makes.  But really, it’s none of our business, is it?  She’s free to follow her own morals, and we can’t force our morals onto her.

Freedom is difficult.  It’s ugly sometimes—it leads to a lot of ugly things.  When people start forcing their beliefs, their ideas, and their morals—no matter how good, pure, and well-intentioned they are—those people begin laying the foundations for oppression.  This country was built on the foundation of freedom, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I sure as hell don’t want to see it knocked down by tyranny, hiding under the guise of “the greater good.”

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2 thoughts on “Planned Parenthood and the Concept of Freedom

  1. Very well put. Question: Do you have a relative who teaches political science in Cedar Rapids? If so, WordPress is a small world. If not, still enjoyed this piece.

    • Thank you for reading.
      In answer to your question, my father is a political science professor at Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids. WordPress is a small world indeed.
      (PS: I liked your blog; it’s thought provoking and well-informed. I’ll be sure to subscribe!)

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