In 1967, Pierre Trudeau famously said “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”
Today I would like to borrow from this piece of rhetorical genius when I say “There’s no place for the state in the vaginas of the nation.” Not this nation, or any other nation for that matter.
I say this in response to the upsetting news outlined in this post, and here. So the Tories are planning on defunding Planned Parenthood. And while Saskatoon incumbent Brad Trost seems to be taking some heat from his party for his comments, what is upsetting about Harper’s comments is that he simultaneously distances himself from Trost’s comments, while still managing to leave the door open for the assertions to be true. This is also the case with the comments made by Dimitri Soudas, the CPC’s chief spokesperson who, in an impromptu scrum late last night, railed off the party’s talking points on maternal health from the G8 summit and then refused to comment on whether Planned Parenthood would receive their funding. Great.
What is so infuriating about this and what continues to be infuriating about the debate over PP funding south of the border is the complete failure of the Right to acknowledge what it is that Planned Parenthood actually does. If you listened to people on the Right in Canada and in the U.S. you would be led to believe that PP is just a cover for a roving band of menacing abortionists who spend all their time inflicting said procedure on poor unsuspecting southern belles.
Stephen Colbert recently took Republican Senator John Kyl to hilarious, hilarious task for asserting that abortions accounted for 90% of PP’s services when in reality they only account for 3%. Kyl then tried to backtrack by saying that the comment was “not intended to be a factual statement.”
You can imagine the field day Colbert had with this. Just google it.
Anyway, this is the issue. Planned Parenthood provides a myriad of other essential services to women including cancer prevention and screening, contraception and STI treatment and testing. For a full breakdown check out Ezra Klein’s piece in the Washington Post.
The fact that the Right seems to think it justifiable to attack this essential organization over 3% of its services is reprehensible. By using Planned Parenthood funding (or the denial of such) as a means to assert their superior morality they are endangering the actual lives of millions of women. And they don’t seem to care. And this is because, on some fundamental level, they hate women. Or at least have no regard for their health and safety.
Why else would Harper refuse to include access to safe abortion in his G8 “Muskoka Initiative” on child and maternal health when 70,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year worldwide? Why else would American politicians make this a major obstacle to a budget deal? Why else would they use the 3% of PP that provides abortions as a justification to defund the entire organization?
Abortion is a divisive issue, and it likely always will be. But these (predominantly male) politicians are using their supposed moral objections to abortions as justification for the erosion of reproductive rights for women the world over. And this is a terrifying thing indeed.
We can’t let this go. It’s too important.