Funding Abortionists: A Divisive Side Issue?

by Jay Johansen
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Right-wing extremists continually bring up divisive battles over abortion. These fights just distract us from important national issues. Why can't they let the issue drop?

For example, during budget negotiations in 2011, anti-choice extremists in Congress were willing to bring negotiations to a standstill rather than let any money go to Planned Parenthood. They have a vendetta against Planned Parenthood just because PP performs abortions, and so they demanded that funding for PP be yanked, and were ready to shut down the government over this.

At least, that's the story we regularly hear from the pro-aborts.

Now let's think about this for a minute. Congress was fighting over a budget. The Republicans said that among the budget cuts they wanted to make was chopping funds for Planned Parenthood. The Democrats insisted on continuing funding of PP. This became a hot issue in the negotiations. It's no secret that this was controversial beyond the number of dollars involved because PP is the nation's largest provider of abortions. It's also no secret that this became a major sticking point in negotiations. Neither side wanted to budge.

So how does this make the pro-lifers the "divisive" ones? If the pro-choicers really believed that this was a trivial side issue and we should get back to the important questions, their negotiators could simply have said, "Okay, fine, we'll concede on this trivial side issue. Now let's get back to the important questions." Yes, the Republicans were willing to derail negotiations rather than give in on this issue. But the Democrats were just as willing to derail negotiations rather than give in on this issue. If they really thought that this was a divisive issue being blown far out of proportion, they could have ended the argument in a second by just giving in. Instead, they dug in their heels.

The position of the pro-choicers is apparently, "We shouldn't be fighting over this. This issue just isn't worth making a big fight over. So why don't you just give in and end the fight?"

Indeed, in the 2011 budget negotions, in the end it was the pro-choicers who stuck to their guns and the pro-lifers who gave in. Planned Parenthood kept its funding. It was the Democrats who stuck to their guns and who were willing to scuttle the negotiations rather than give in.

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Posted 3 May 2011.

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