Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Conservatives Should Embrace Indiana Abortion Bill

On Friday, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana indicated he would sign a law defunding Planned Parenthood in Indiana. Many are speculating that Daniels only agreed to sign this law to rebuild his relationship with the religious right after the damage done by his comment that it was time for a “truce” on social issues. That could well be. But this is a law all conservatives should support and seek to duplicate.

The law in question provides that the state may not give money to any organization that provides abortions. This will cut off funding to seven entities in Indiana including Planned Parenthood (“PP”), which is not happy about this.

There are three aspects of this law that I find particular interesting. First, this is a direct assault on yet another Democratic funding source. Just like the unions and ACORN, PP uses taxpayer funding to support Democratic candidates and lobby for leftist causes. This law, which is now being copied in other states, will cripple PP’s ability to continue doing that. Nice work state-Republicans!

Secondly, this issue has exposed that PP’s primary concern is abortion, not the other services they hide behind like a facade. Indeed, as usual, PP’s defense is not that this law will restrict abortion, but that this law will affect other services. Says Betty Cockrum (seriously) of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, this law is “unconscionable and unspeakable” and will “leave as many as 22,000 patients without access to pap tests, birth control and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.”

Gee, that sounds horrible. But it’s not true. First, let’s think about this logically. How in the world do you get 22,000 people? The state of Indiana has 6.5 million residents. So if those other 6.48 million people still have access to these services, what has gone wrong for the other 22,000? Why can’t the 22,000 go to the same places as the other 6.48 million? Do they live in a bubble? Or is Cockrum really talking about “less convenient” and just trying to spin that into “without access”?

And let’s not forget that birth control is available at every 7/11, most high schools, most truck stops and within your own mind’s ability to avoid stupid decisions. Pap tests and treatments for VD are available almost anywhere there’s a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. So how is it that 22,000 people suddenly can’t find these services?

Perhaps the issue is one of economics rather than distance travelled? Well, no. These services would be covered by Medicaid for the poor and Mitch Daniels has specifically ordered his health department to “take any actions necessary to ensure that vital medical care is, if anything, more widely available than before.” Why would PP consider that as anything less than a step up. . . unless they only care about abortion?

But here’s the real kicker, i.e. the ingenious exposing part of this law. For while Cockrum pretends that her real concerns are these other services and not abortion, there is no reason PP can’t continue to get government funds to provide those services. . . all they have to do is spin off their abortion operations. Indeed, as Daniels points out:

“Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.”
So what’s the problem? PP claims they don’t use taxpayer funding to support abortions, so there’s no reason for them to insist on keeping the abortion function grouped together with the other services, is there? And certainly not if that happens at the expense of losing all of these other “vital” services. So what gives?

Well, there are two problems. The first is that PP is lying; they do use taxpayer funding to support abortion. Here’s how. When money is given to PP to cover their non-abortion costs, that frees up money for use on their abortion operations. Think of it this way. Assume a drug addict spends $200 a month on food and $200 a month on drugs. You want to help them buy food, but you don’t want your money used on drugs. They agree and spend your specific $200 on food. . . receipts and everything. You feel good about yourself. But money is fungible and the reality is that all you did was free up the $200 they had been using on food to now be used to buy drugs. Thus, while you kid yourself that you only bought their food, every dollar you gave them actually supported their drug habit. It’s the same thing here. All that money paid for birth control and pap tests went to cover overhead, rent, salaries, etc., and freed up money to be used to subsidize abortions. And without that taxpayer support, the abortion business could not survive on its own.

Secondly, right now it’s very easy for PP to lobby and to get celebrity support by hiding behind the myth that their primary function is healthcare, with abortion being only a minor, minor side-offering. But if PP broke into two companies, how many celebrities would want to be seen donating their time, money or name to the abortion portion of PP? Not many. Thus, separating out the abortions deprives PP of the cover of being able to claim that abortions are something they “kind of sort of also sometimes do” in addition to the meaningful services.

Finally, I find this law interesting, because this is an issue that all conservatives should be able to agree upon, i.e. both religious conservatives and libertarians. Why? Because it doesn’t matter what your stance is on abortion or government involvement in people’s lives, there is no justification for using taxpayer funding to support the practice.

That’s why this is an interesting law and Republicans everywhere should be emulating it.

24 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

I am in favor of cutting off federal funding of most private organizations and planned parenthood is one of them. Certainly, the notion that tax payer funds are used to support "issues" candidates knocks them right out of the box from the "get go."

While the hiding of abortion as an issue is typical, I do not target abortion more specifically than the myriad of other things the feds have no business funding.

In other words, I don't want them funded just because they spin off abortion, but I sure don't wanted abortion funded either.

T-Rav said...

So Andrew, does this mean you will be revising your skeptical opinion of Daniels?

Patti said...

PP is lying?! WHAT?! lol. and i'm with tennessee jed, in that most private organizations should not be funded with taxpayer monies.

great post, andrew.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I've made my view of abortion very clear, so anything that de-funds the procedure, in whatever manner it accomplishes that, is excellent in my book. I wish Daniels every success in his efforts. I'd rather see the procedure outlawed entirely (with the exceptions of rape, incest and the physical survival of the mother, and only at a stage earlier than Roe v Wade), but I'll take what I can get. Abortion as an easy alternate form of birth-control has sapped much of America's moral strength, and Planned Parenthood is at the forefront of that travesty.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't want to see any issues groups funded either. What I particularly like about this bill is that it targets a group that has been getting federal and state funds to lobby for Democrats. That's why I think this is a great whatever the issue of abortion.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, No, not really. One bill does not a conservative make. Also, it's not like he came up with this idea or even ran with it, he's just signing it.

All in all, as I said before, I think Daniels is a good man and would make an effective president and is easily preferable to Obama, but he's not the guy who is going to remake the relationship between the government and the people, which is the real change we need right now.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti, I agree with you and Jed, I don't care if the issue is abortions, housing for the poor, subsidies for corporations, etc. -- no one should be allowed to use taxpayer money to push a political agenda.

And I don't buy the fake arguments about "we put money into pool A, not pool B, so we don't really fund pool B things." That's bull. Money is money and people who get money from the feds should not be engaged in political activities.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I think the defunding is "the great compromise" that is available among conservatives, i.e. there is not reason that every brand of conservative (and even many moderates) can't agree that whatever you think of abortion personally, the government should not be using taxpayer money to fund it or promote it.

DUQ said...

Abortion is not my issue, but I could agree with this and I see how it would help conservatives by taking out yet another liberal group. I'm feeling pretty happy that the new Republicans are going after these government-welfare pro-democat groups. Who's next?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Abortion is a difficult issue. Some people care deeply about it, others don't, and whether the public responds (and in which direction) is really another issue entirely. But I think the defunding idea works across the board because it doesn't matter what your views are on abortion, it's fairly easy to see that the taxpayers should not be paying for it.

What comes next? Good question. I'd like to see them take out the quasi-official status of groups like the AMA and ABA. But where they head next. . . I don't know.

AndrewPrice said...

As an interesting aside, Rasmussen is reporting NO bounce for Obama on the bin Laden death. . . as expected.

rlaWTX said...

Andrew, it's a good point that defunding could become the new social <-> economic conservative compromise. The economic conservatives who are not that interested can get on board with this idea. Unity of purpose if not of reason!
Back in college (early 90s) I was part of a campus pro-life group. I argued then that the movement was NOT going to be able to reverse time and outlaw, that it needed to take little (compromise) steps to limit the 95%. I nearly got tarred and feathered! But within a couple years that is what the national groups seemed to be doing - not trumpeting illegalization but emphasizing the baby-ness of the "fetus" and at least theoretically accepting that the exceptions had merit for consideration. I was in a conversation recently with a couple of female mid-20-somethings and they preferred limitation but worried about "proof" - going and telling a judge that you are pregnant because of incest, etc. It seemed to be progress - they both accepted that the 95% was a stupid, selfish thing to do.
Point being, we have some of a younger generation seeing this issue "our" way. Getting laws that limit abortion is hard because the other side has SO much money. Now, defunding can be the next step.

rlaWTX said...

and since you brought up OBL, on that thread there was a quote from the ever lucid and intelligent Sheehan... last week there was a funeral in Andrews for a KIA soldier. The Westboro Nuts had promised to show up. The Patriot Guard had a HUGE turn out just in case. Guess what, no Westboro Nuts. I figured it'd be too ballsy for even them to show up in the heart of small-town, WTX. I had a couple of cousins make the 45 mile trip to show support - I was awfully proud!
Anyway, I was telling my dear 82yo grandmother about the threat that afternoon. And she asked, "Is that that woman who protested outside W's ranch?" I then explained the weirdo scorecard to her. It was kinda funny though...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Politics is about finding common ground and getting what you can. So I see this as an excellent compromise for economic and social conservatives because both should be able to agree to it.

In terms of the issue of banning versus incremental changes, I think you're absolutely right. Humans don't like to take huge/significant leaps. But they will easily accept (and rarely oppose) small steps that eventually lead to the same place. It's Walter Williams' discussion of boiling a toad -- if you do it slowly enough, the toad doesn't notice.

Unfortunately, many people (especially activists) are blind to that fact. They tend to believe that they just need the right person to say "jump to the end" and everyone will happily jump with them. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, the abortion groups were still trying to defend bombing of abortion clinics and they were losing the public left and right. It wasn't until they changed approaches and went for small changes and trying to win the hearts and minds of people that things began to turn around for them.

Now the left is the one defending partial birth abortion and government funding and standing in the way of waiting periods -- losing positions.

This same incremental tactic has been used successfully by the gay lobby, the environmental lobby, and even Reaganism. The key is to take small steps and let the public see that the world didn't end. . . then it gets easier to take the next step.

And wiping out something like funding is the sort of thing the public will support because they may not want to make decisions about right and wrong, but they don't want to spend money these issues either. And ultimately, cutting off funding is one of the most effective tools because it tends to wipe out the power of a lobby to fight back.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I am thrilled that people turn out to show support and honor those who have sacrificed for the rest of us. Kudos to your cousins!

I can't tell you how disgusted I am by the Westboro people. . . subhuman bastards.

Sheehan is a lunatic. On the one hand, I'm glad she's out there to expose the left for the kinds of people it harbors. On the other hand, if the world had fewer people like her, it would be a better world. Sadly though, we've entered a period in human history where the flakes and the conspiracy-nuts are being allowed to roam free and twist around the weak-minded. Oh well, it's happened before and it will happen again, but the human race has always moved forward despite these people.

rlaWTX said...

my uncle is a paramedic / fireman in Eastern NM. he thinks that stupidity will always be with us, but that "Stupidity with Intent to Distribute" should be an arrestable offense...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That is brilliant! I'm going to use that a lot. :-)

StanH said...

Most leftist gobbledygook when exposed to light, vaporizes like a vampire on a bright sunny day.

Speaking of vaporized, if we can find the right candidate for 2012 that will be the condition of our liberal leftist…a stale fart in the wind.

Did you see in Canada, the first (Canadian) conservative parliament in decades, the left is exposing itself (PP defending abortion) etc. and like a cat with a fir ball the world is spitting up liberal policies, or fir ball as the case may be.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I saw that -- incredible. The whole world seems to be finally getting it that liberalism is bad for economies, bad for culture, and bad for society. Let's hope the trend keeps up!

And you're right, the left exposed themselves everywhere in the last election cycle and people are not happy with what they saw!

rlaWTX said...

go for it...

T-Rav said...

Stan and Andrew, it looks like Canada's Liberal Party has pretty much self-destructed this election (so have those Quebec separatists, which gives me immensely more pleasure). I've heard a little bit about Harper and the Conservatives' quiet triumph, and it seems to have been largely a matter of taking the time to convince people of a center-left nation that the center-right option was the better way to go. And it worked. The Liberals have been pretty much wiped out in some of their old strongholds. By the way, haven't heard many leftists talking much lately about Canada's superiority over the U.S....just saying.

Ed said...

Andrew, This sounds like a good idea. I have a sneaking suspicion that Daniels will eventually be our nominee. That doesn't bother me, but it doesn't excite me either.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, He did it right for a country like Canada -- do a little bit at a time and show them that the world won't end. That would normally be good advice for the US too, except right now I think we need something more radical budget-wise because we just made a jump so far left. So we need an equal jump back to the center plus a bit to the right. Then we should start pushing a little further all the time toward economic freedom.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Don't get me wrong, I think Daniels is a good man and would make an excellent president. I would prefer someone who is more of a radical conservative at the moment, i.e. someone willing to take the risk of restructuring our government to make it a servant of the people again and not it's master. Daniels can do that, there is now doubt -- I just don't know if he would want to.

Let me put it this way, if he were the nominee, I would be happy... but he's not my first choice.

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