Opinion » Letter From The Editor

Aborting the Truth

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I was outraged Monday morning when I read the Mallard Fillmore editorial cartoon in the Commercial Appeal. That's the "conservative" cartoon the CA runs next to "Doonesbury," the "liberal" cartoon. "Doonesbury" has been in 1970s rerun mode for months, so the liberal point of view, cartoon-wise, anyway, consists mostly of Zonker Harris stoner jokes. Hardly a match for Mallard's Tea Party "humor."

On Monday, Mallard Fillmore featured the spectre of death answering the phone for Planned Parenthood. The punchline: "How may I direct your call? Sales, Service, or Parts?"

It was a reference, of course, to a recent video which purported to show Indiana Planned Parenthood officials talking about "selling" fetal tissues for medical research. Within two days, the video was debunked as a misleadingly edited political hack job. The Indiana State Department of Health investigated the video's allegations and found "no evidence that Planned Parenthood is involved in any way in the buying or selling of tissue."

But that hasn't stopped GOP legislators from holding "investigations" in more than a dozen states, none of which have turned up any evidence of illegal activities by Planned Parenthood. And it hasn't stopped 8th District Representative Stephen Fincher from using the discredited video to raise money, as he pledges to "stop funding Planned Parenthood."

It's happening at the national level, as well. Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and most of the other GOP presidential wannabes are using the video to raise funds and stir up the far-right base.

And it hasn't stopped the Commercial Appeal from publishing the patent falsehoods of Mallard Fillmore and those of numerous letter-writers who make equally specious claims. Publishing differing opinions is one thing; allowing your pages to become a forum for blatant lies is another entirely. I don't know what they're thinking over there.

The truth is, if you really want to stop abortion, you should make contraception as easily and readily available as possible, which is what Planned Parenthood is trying to do. Stopping abortion begins with stopping unwanted pregnancies. It's that simple.

Here are few other facts: Only three percent of Planned Parenthood's services involve abortion. The other 97 percent of its services include treating and testing for sexually transmitted infection and disease, contraception, screening for breast, cervical, and uterine cancer, pregnancy tests, prenatal services, adoption referrals, and urinary tract infection treatment. In other words, they're providing much-needed medical care for those women who need it most — those most likely to incur unwanted pregnancies.

Painful as it may be to admit for abortion foes, Planned Parenthood probably prevents more abortions than it performs.

To reiterate: The Hyde Amendment already mandates that no federal funds can be used for abortion services. Planned Parenthood is not "crunching fetuses" and selling parts, as a recent CA letter to the editor claimed.

If you oppose abortion, I respect your right to do so, but it is still legal. It is not "murder" in the eyes of the law. I don't like abortions, but I believe such a personal decision should be left to a woman, her doctor, and her conscience. If we disagree, so be it, but we should at the least agree to debate using facts, not propaganda.

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