Abortion advocates are terribly sensitive to perceived threats of violence. That doesn’t translate, of course, to their side. A recent headline for ThinkProgress
, an independent website of progressive political news and analysis, cries that “As It Prepares for War, Planned Parenthood Is Training a Political Army.”[i]
The article explains that for “Planned Parenthood
, this election season means war. And you can’t win a war without an army. So Planned Parenthood is building one: An army of pro-choice advocates trained in how to win political campaigns.”
Undoubtedly, abortions opponents are supposed to understand that this is just rhetoric but the fact is that Planned Parenthood has committed “at least $20 million to help win key Senate races and the presidency this November. While some of that money will go toward paid media like radio and television ads, a large portion is going toward building a grassroots army that can help elect Hillary Clinton to the White House.”[ii]
Now, since the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a nonprofit (501c-3), gets about half a billion dollars from the federal government,[iii] $20 million to elect anyone, regardless of party or position seems…incomprehensible. While its political spending will doubtless be funneled through its subsidiary 501c-4 war chest, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (or one of its affiliates such as Planned Parenthood Votes) and while the 2010 Citizens United SCOTUS case, concerning regulation of campaign expenditure, protects nonprofits, labor unions, corporations and other groups from almost any limit in political spending, it is still raises the ironic questions about fungibility and fiscal corruption.
Of course, Planned Parenthood is pretty desperate. Reeling from defunding campaigns in the wake of videos exposing its illegal sale of human body parts – as of February 2016, ten states had passed legislation to redirect federal taxpayer dollars into women’s health services that are not involved in the abortion industry – Planned Parenthood seeks a strategy to rebuild its empire. Its “political army” of 1000 trained volunteers, “people on the ground, spreading the word about the importance of reproductive healthcare,” is right up there with Clinton winning the presidency, putting the U.S. Senate into more sympathetic hands, and influencing statewide legislative and governor campaigns.
Beleaguered, the language of embattlement and reconquest makes sense.[iv] What is interesting is that it isn’t only Planned Parenthood that feels threatened but Democrats across the board: “It should not surprise us that in a campaign in which the Democrats are expected to select Hillary Clinton as their nominee, government funding of Planned Parenthood’s health-care services is again a big issue.”[v]
Bring in the Alinskyians
To train the troops in its door-to-door campaigns, Planned Parenthood has used the expertise of Dave Fleischer, a political activist who cut his teeth in Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. From the IAF, Fleischer went on to explore strategies for unsettling deeply held attitudes about marriage and was so successful that he proposed conducting conversations in which women talked about their abortions, shifting the focus from morality to their “real lived experience” in order to develop “empathy and support.” [vi]
Pals: Hillary Clinton, and Cecil Richards of Planned Parenthood
As a progressive political organization, the Industrial Areas Foundation is also involved in forwarding Planned Parenthood’s agenda. A statewide advocacy network, the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry
, is a coalition of “like-minded allies” – including Industrial Areas Foundation chapters across Texas – that advocate for progressive public policies. Planned Parenthood of Texas is one of the coalition’s “community partners.”[vii] North Texas Unitarian Universalist “Reproductive Justice Activism & Lobbying” materials list the Justice Ministry as an organization to contact for getting “reproductive justice on the roadmap.”[viii]
Other Alinskyian networks are just as culpable. The Courage Campaign
, which “fights for a more progressive California and country,” includes both PICO California and Planned Parenthood. One Courage Campaign petition challenges Crisis Pregnancy Centers as “anti-choice bullies” and says that “California has a responsibility to ensure that all women, regardless of income or location, get the timely pregnancy-related information they need to make the best choices for themselves and their families, free from coercion and shame.” It then encourages public officials to enforce the Reproductive FACT Act, a piece of state legislation that mandated crisis pregnancy centers post or distribute a notice saying that: “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”[ix]
So, while conservatives struggle to keep their representatives on task, progressives are secure that the Democrat Party has abortion rights as its lynchpin. Any challenge to Planned Parenthood is war! Remove abortion from the progressive machinery and its entire enterprise, political and cultural, will spin out of control.
It’s a war, people.
[i] Emily Atkin, “As It Prepares For War, Planned Parenthood Is Training A Political Army,” ThinkProgress, 5-17-16.
[ii] This $20m campaign was announced several months ago. See: Matt Vespa, “Planned Parenthood Plans $20 Million War With Republicans,” Townhall, 11-19-15.
[iii] About 41% of Planned Parenthood’s revenue is from the taxpayer. About 75% of that is from Medicaid reimbursements and much of the rest from federal Title X grants, according to the website of Center for Responsive Politics: www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/nonprof_elec.php
[iv] Mother Jones: “The War on Women Is Over—and Women Lost” (September/October 2015); Rolling Stone: “A War on Planned Parenthood” (4-26-16). MSNBC, Newsweek, the Washington Post, and a host of other publications have carried similar headlines.
[v] The American Prospect: “The Clinton Candidacy: What the Republican War on Planned Parenthood Is Really About” (8-19-15).
[vi] Sasha Issenberg,“How Do You Change Someone’s Mind About Abortion? Tell Them You Had One,” Bloomberg Politics, 10-6-14.
[vii] Texas UU Justice Ministry, “Bending Texas Towards Justice!”(9-14-15)
[ix] Courage Campaign: act.couragecampaign.org/sign/ReproductiveFACTact; Catholic World News: “’Reproductive Fact Act’ becomes law in California,” 10-14-15.