By Scott Tibbs, July 24, 2008
Stan Shapiro responded to my letter to the editor, defending Planned Parenthood and the City Council's decision to give corporate welfare to Bloomington's abortion clinic.
In response to my point about Planned Parenthood's profits, Shapiro claims that Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization. Officially, PP is a not-for-profit entity. But the fact remains that national office spent $37.7 million less than it received in revenue. As I pointed out in my letter to the City Council, Planned Parenthood and all of its affiliates brought in over one billion dollars in revenue in its most recent fiscal year, with an organization-wide profit of $114 million. This information is directly from Planned Parenthood's own annual report.
The point of bringing up the documented fact that Planned Parenthood spends far less than it receives in revenue is that the Bloomington branch simply does not need the money they were requesting from the City Council. If Bloomington's Planned Parenthood wants to provide colposcopies to low-income women, there is more than enough money floating around the Planned Parenthood organization for the Bloomington branch to accomplish that goal without a handout from local government.
Ideally, the social services fund should be eliminated. But if the City Council is going to give money to local not-for-profit agencies, the limited funds available each June should be allocated in the most fiscally responsible way possible. The first qualification for a grant from the Jack Hopkins fund should be whether the organization actually needs the money, and that should have automatically disqualified Planned Parenthood. Whether you want to play word games as to whether the $37.7 million Planned Parenthood had above what it spent is a "profit" or not, the plain and simple fact of the matter is that Planned Parenthood does not need this corporate welfare.
What Planned Parenthood wanted was a political endorsement from city government. Each and every year, the Bloomington City Council decides that giving a political endorsement to Planned Parenthood is a higher priority than a need-based distribution of limited funds for social service agencies. Every year, money that could go to social service agencies that actually need it is instead used as a political endorsement.
The money that went to Planned Parenthood could have been used by Middle Way House to help pay for solar panels in their new facility, a single investment that will reduce the organization's operating expenses over the long term and allow more of their funds to go toward helping battered women and rape survivors. The money that went to Planned Parenthood could have been used to provide a renewable, "green" energy source to protect our environment, as well as set an example for others. But a political endorsement for Bloomington's abortion clinic took precedence over responsible use of tax monies and a commitment to the environment.
The idea that Planned Parenthood is "dedicated to human welfare" is laughable, considering that the organization kills several people each Thursday. Killing people does not advance "human welfare".
Shapiro further writes:
- Many of us, on a religious basis, sincerely believe that a human life absolutely begins at conception.
It is both interesting and informative that Shapiro attempts to dismiss questions about where life begins as a "religious" issue, rather than a scientific issue. But the scientific facts are clear. When the sperm and egg join together, a new life is created. That new life has a completely unique DNA code separate from the mother. All that new life needs from that point forward is shelter and nourishment, and he/she will develop through the various stages of life. From a scientific standpoint, there is no question about when life begins.
- But in our democratic society, we can and should avoid a paralyzing societal argument on this question.
A democratic society should have at its core a respect for all human life, and a guarantee that all people will have the equal protection of the laws. The fact that there are 1.2 million abortions every single year makes it a moral imperative that we consider the question of whether the fetus is a human being with all of the rights that brings. If the fetus is a human being, then this country has committed an unspeakable evil in allowing 50 million unborn babies to be killed in our abortion clinics since 1973. The blood-guilt on our hands dwarfs even the Holocaust.
- If an omnipotent God forbids the death of (presumably innocent) fetuses, why does he cause some to fail to survive to full term?
God does not forbid the "death" of fetuses, any more than God forbids the death any human being at any age. Were that the case, there would be no miscarriages, no cancer, no heart disease, no fatal accidents and no death by old age. What God forbids is murder - the willful, intentional killing of an innocent human life. Using miscarriages as an argument for legalized abortion is like using cancer as an argument for decriminalizing drive-by shootings. Shapiro's argument is an intentional misrepresentation of anti-abortion arguments. This kind of dishonesty is, in Shapiro's own words, "an unworthy debater's ploy."
Shapiro would do well to look in the mirror before he writes his next letter to the editor. His willful ignorance of documented scientific fact as to when life begins, his determination to avoid the question altogether (presumably to avoid noticing the blood on his hands), his attempt to cloud the facts regarding Planned Parenthood's $37.7 million profit and his dishonest misrepresentation of prohibitions on murder are all evidence of that his mind is closed.