You know, Planned Parenthood, around whose rippling banner enlightened opinion rallied last week when news broke that Susan G. Komen for the Cure would, in the near future, cease granting it money. PP -- just a big-hearted service organization for women, fighting breast cancer and other female afflictions with might and main. One could buy into that sales pitch on the basis of the Category 5 hurricane that PP caused to sweep across the landscape.
Check out their website. Click on "abortion." "(A) safe and legal way to end pregnancy," PP calls it. Where to get one? Why, at one of "many Planned Parenthood health centers." Or learn how you may "Take medicines to end an early pregnancy" -- medicines both "safe and effective."
Birth control? It "allows us to prevent pregnancy and plan the timing of pregnancy." Abstinence-only programs for pregnancy prevention? They "often provide inaccurate and alarmist misinformation about the effectiveness of condoms, contraceptives and safer sex."
Speaking of safer sex, suppose a theoretical teenager decides to undertake sexual coupling. "Are there any guidelines?" Oh, yes. "Both people should want to have sex." "Use birth control ... " and "Be clear with each other about what you do and don't want to do" -- among other things.
"Am I ready for sex?" asks Theoretical Teenager. It depends on things such as "your personal values and goals" and the "kind of emotional and physical risks you are willing to take." (Certainly not on the moral prescriptions that held sway among us up to half a century ago, e.g., sex-within-marriage as the ideal as well as safest state!)
Oh, then there's the matter of same-sex relationships. Let us remember, counsels PP, that "Sexual orientation and gender are fundamental parts of who we are." Alas, "In our society there is a lot of homophobia ... It's caused by ignorance or other kinds of misinformation and lack of understanding about what LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people are really like."
Mmm-hmm -- just your mainstream mouthpiece for sexual liberation in all its varied forms. Would that not be a fair description of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America -- a self-styled, innocent victim of a drive-by bashing by "the far right," to borrow the coinage of the PP-supporting Lee and Amy Fikes Foundation of Dallas?
In the cultural shoot-'em-up that ended -- sort of -- when Komen decided not to defund after all, the shoe has conspicuously gotten on the wrong foot. The Komen foundation didn't show much public relations sense in the way it handled its PP relationship. But of all organizations to hide behind its own injured feelings -- PP! If it has in fact become so mainstream as to arouse all the defensive instincts of the liberal establishment (New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, California Sen. Barbara Boxer, The New York Times, etc.) America's worst problems may not be economic. In fact, I'm pretty sure they're not.
I confess to having snored through past conservative jeremiads concerning PP. No more. Clearly PP enjoys First Amendment rights to preach any gospel of moral decomposition it cares to preach. Only not -- please! -- from the pinnacle of sanctity it sees itself as perched upon.
As a promoter of women's health, PP doubtless deserves some credit -- in some cases, one is sure, a lot. What it doesn't deserve is exemption from moral norms -- norms that, truth be told, conduce as strongly to good health as do whole clinics full of pills, needles and sweet-faced nurses.
PPs delusion -- that's what it is, you know -- appears to be that whatever you want to do these days (apart from impose outdated moral norms) is OK, provided you get your shots, tests and advice from them. Fie! Women deserve infinitely better than tacit encouragement to believe that if it feels good -- right, timely or convenient -- they ought to go ahead; because that's what multitudes are doing now, and if it were working as advertised would we really, truly need PP?