I’m sick to death of big names in American culture trying to have me believe that, as a woman, I should be a pro-abortion liberal who screams for forced coverage for contraceptives. Scarlett Johansson is a beautiful and talented young woman. So is Eva Longoria. But the fact that they are lined up with other starlets to push their "vote with your ladyparts" campaign is disgusting and extremely off-putting.
In the newest ad, Hollywood is climbing all over Romney and Ryan for promising to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Their choice of words comes across as being dishonest, though – the Obama campaign is accusing Ryan of backing laws that would "allow employers to deny women access to cancer screenings and contraceptives." In the Hollywood ad, Johansson makes an absolutely deplorable statement: she claims that "we have the GOP trying to re-define rape!"
Oh, yes…she did. She, like Cameron Diaz before her, is trying to accuse conservatives of wanting to undo laws that make rape – particularly marital rape – a crime. There is no evidence of this at all. No meetings or hearings, no drafts of bills being considered in committee, not even the slightest hint that Republicans are actually trying to do such a thing. She is accusing me, my family and most of my friends of trying to decriminalize one of the most outrageous personal crimes that can be committed. As a fire/rescue/EMS worker who has helped rape victims, I am furiously insulted.
As for the meat of the argument, I’m always the kind of person who wants both sides of a story, so I went looking. Michelle Malkin recently quoted a report by Live Action that showed 30 Planned Parenthood offices in 27 states had no direct programs for mammograms. One staffer openly admitted that they don’t provide those services at all. The Alliance Defense Fund asked the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for information on how many PP centers are certified to perform mammograms. HHS said they had no such documentation for PP.
When I wanted to read investigative pieces from the other side of the argument, I couldn’t find any. I found plenty of op-eds, for sure, but none of them offered any tangible evidence to back their argument. Stephanie Todd, writing for The Examiner, quoted PP president Cecile Richards in claiming that 97% of all services provided by PP are "preventive care" medical services. What she didn’t do was ask for proof to back up Richards’ claim – and since she got the quote from a Joy Behar interview, we all know why no probing questions were asked. A Huffington Post article claimed in its headline that "women rely on PP for critical breast health care – period." That article turned out to be written by Rachel B. Fleischer, who happens to be the Managing Director of Communications for the PP Action Fund. She comes out and admits that PP’s staff OB-GYNs and nurses do not perform mammograms, though she never addresses cervical cancer screenings. She says that PP gives referrals, which she says you need to get a mammogram (this is untrue, as family history can dictate that a mammogram before age 40 is important, as it is in my case). She, like President Obama, claims that PP is vital to women who are underinsured or uninsured.
What none of the PP cheerleaders have mentioned is the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). This program "provides access to breast and cervical cancer screening services to underserved women in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 U.S. territories, and 12 tribes" (that’s straight from the website). There’s no information immediately available for how much money is spent on the program, but the website boasts that in 2011, 333,302 women were screened for breast cancer, with 5,655 diagnosed. 253,312 women were screened for cervical cancer, with 4,695 diagnosed. With those numbers it’s not hard to believe that between the tests themselves (which run anywhere from $75-$120 apiece) and funding for staff, equipment and facilities, funding likely runs into the $300M range.
With PP, the numbers have to be read carefully. If you’re looking directly at their numbers, they they don’t add up. Cecile Richards claims that only 3% of PP’s business comes from abortions. Here’s how their pie chart breaks it down: 35% of services were for testing and treatment of STD’s, 35% for contraception, 16% for "cancer screening and prevention" (which, we’ll talk about shortly, takes place largely through referrals outside the organization), 10% "other" women’s health (which is undefined by the report), 3% for abortions and 1% for "other" (also undefined). Even those figures are doctored, as other notes in the same report show that out of three million people who walked through their doors in 2009 (the latest year I could find expense reports for), 332,278 went for abortions. That would, in reality, be one out of every nine people, or 11%. Also, their revenue shows that 37% comes from actual income from their "health centers" (read: abortions). They recorded a total revenue of $737M (aside from government funding) and recorded net assets of $994.7M.
We the taxpayers gave them $363.2M that year.
Everything that I found showed that PP doctors and nurses give referrals when someone comes in for a mammogram. Who do they refer these women to? Well, bless me – they refer them right back to NBCCEDP! That’s the government program that funds cancer screenings, pelvic exams, biopsies and referrals for treatment. Rachel Fleischer also says that PP works in conjunction with other organizations to provide mobile mammography sites. Considering what’s likely spent on the CDC’s current program, the government could transfer all of the money they’re giving PP to the CDC and expand it so those poor women who are going to PP right now can go to another participating doctor.
And we’re supposed to believe that electing Mitt Romney to the presidency is going to put PP out of business and deprive women of affordable cancer screenings?
It frightens me that those who stand on society’s pedestals are so willing to lie just to support their chosen political candidate. I would never have lied for Bush, nor would I lie for Romney or Governor Palin. I would hope that none of them would ever ask me to – and if they found me doing it, would insist that I stop. I would hope that Obama would have some shred of honesty, at least enough to ask his high-powered followers not to go so far as to claim that the opposition is attempting to de-criminalize rape. That is reprehensible.
If you’re not willing to actually research all of the facts, don’t throw your hat in the ring. Just because you have an emotional reaction to something you’ve heard or read does not mean you’re right.
Next up: whose morality?