Anti-choice organizer: Defunding Planned Parenthood is about sex, not abortion

Anti-choice activists are planning harassment rallies at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country this weekend, and Dr. Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, one of the event’s main organizers, took to the radio earlier today to explain why.

In a not-so-shocking twist, it didn’t have very much to do with abortion.

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As she said, quoted by RightWingWatch:

Planned Parenthood from the top to the bottom is a corrupt organization…corrupt in its view of the sanctity of human life and corrupt in its view of human sexuality. And I say even if Planned Parenthood didn’t perform one single abortion, just the mere fact that its sexual ethic is corrupted means right there, should be the reason right there, that they should not receive any federal money. The kind of sexual ethic that Planned Parenthood promotes is sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.

You hear that, ya sluts? The problem here isn’t that abortion is bad. The problem here is that women are having the wrong kind of sex. You know, the fun kind that doesn’t imply that they’re a man’s property, good for submissive on-demand sex within the confines of marriage and not much else. To get an idea of what that looks like, here’s some advice Michelle Duggar says she got at the beginning of her marriage, posted late last week on her blog:

And so be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘”Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’”no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big pregnant and you may not feel like he feels. “I’m still here for you and I’m going to meet that need because I know it’s a need for you.”

As has been clear throughout the ongoing conservative push to dismantle Planned Parenthood that those who take issue with the organization have their sights set far beyond this particular policy debate. These are the same folks who want to “take their country back,” remember? And that means taking the country back to a time in which the “availability” of Michelle Duggar was the “availability” expected of all women: not ’til marriage, and then always after that, with no choice in either case. As Vox’s Sarah Kliff asked after she watched twelve hours of the Planned Parenthood “sting” videos:

Planned Parenthood, via Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

Planned Parenthood, via Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

…imagine, for a second, that Planned Parenthood came out tomorrow morning and said that the Center for Medical Progress had caused them to reconsider their position, and henceforth, they would no longer participate in fetal tissue research. Does anyone think Republicans would stop trying to defund Planned Parenthood? Or that the Center for Medical Progress would believe it had won?

Of course not. Planned Parenthood workers are comfortable with fetal tissue research because they are comfortable with abortion — they don’t believe a first-trimester fetus to be a living, feeling human being, and so they see the donation of fetal tissue for medical research to be an obvious, unalloyed good. Their critics oppose abortion — they believe abortion to be murder and fetal tissue research to be a form of desecration. Where you fall on the Planned Parenthood videos really reflects where you fall on the fundamental questions of abortion.

Kliff is right, but the context in which she was writing didn’t lead her to go far enough. Where you fall on Planned Parenthood really reflects where you fall on the fundamental questions of sex. After all, from STD screenings to providing access to contraception, making sure that sex is safe accounts for far more of what the organization does than performing abortions. Social conservative activists may put abortion on the face of their campaign, but at its core is a far broader vision of cultural regulations.

It’s nice of them to at least hear them say so once in a while.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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