One of the most annoying aspects of politics and debate in general is when candidates, politicians, and citizens babble on and on about their position without honestly engaging their opposition. What’s more annoying is candid dishonesty and deception in order to further arguments or promote positions. Pro-lifers and pro-choicers can both do better.
It seems those who have camped on opposite sides of the fence on abortion and Planned Parenthood do nothing except talk past one another. What good does it do when each side tries to prove its point through deception? I understand there are unavoidable biases, that pro-lifers will overlook or casually dismiss deep issues for pro-choicers, and vice versa. But why is it so difficult to get to the heart of the issue?
For example, why does Planned Parenthood act as if abortion is a nothing more than a minuscule service they provide? Their 3% stat is not just deceptive, but also illogical. Why do they feel the need to justify themselves? Abortion is a terrible legality, but a legality nonetheless. Only if they viewed abortion as an undesirable, yet unavoidable necessity would they feel the need to be so defensive. Why can’t they just be honest? Why can’t they just admit they perform more abortions than anyone else in America? Why do they struggle with the stat that almost 94% of pregnant women who walk into Planned Parenthood have an abortion? Planned parenthood is an unborn baby butchery. Can both sides not just see and admit this reality? The only difference should be that the pro-choice camp sees nothing wrong with this, while the pro-life camp is appalled by it.
But with public perception aside, the realities of abortion and fetal tissue trafficking are consistent with Planned Parenthood’s philosophical assumptions and worldview. An abortionist worldview declares the right of a woman to choose to kill her unborn baby is greater than the right of an unborn baby to live. An abortionist worldview scientifically must admit unborn babies are humans, but they deny all unborn babies the right and status of personhood.
The revelations in the undercover videos only show Planned Parenthood acts consistently with their worldview. The ugly reality is that pro-choicers in support of abortion, particularly in the unlimited Roe v. Wade sense, should not be appalled by the dismembering and selling of unborn babies. So, why don’t they speak consistently? Do they fear public opinion that badly? The likely reality is they have been able to hide the atrocious practical workings of their Margaret Sanger inspired worldview for years. Now, more than ever, we all have a view of what choice really means and looks like.
On the other side of things, pro-lifers speak consistently with their worldview, yet seldom act consistently with it. Christians in particular oppose abortion because the Christian worldview propagates the dignity and worth of all human beings by virtue of their inherent status as image bearers of God (Gen. 1:27). Pro-choicers hear pro-life arguments ad nauseum. Blog posts like this one are just another example of this. We love to speak with worldview consistency. But are we acting with worldview consistency? Since we believe all people, including unborn babies are worth of life with dignity as divine image bearers, do we act in consistency with this worldview? Do we practically come alongside women in difficult unplanned pregnancies? Do we support adoption agencies or individuals who are raising funds to adopt? Are we adopting if we are financially able? Do we treat all children, especially those in foster care with the dignity and worth we acclaim them in our arguments? Are we volunteering in pregnancy help centers? Are our time, money, and actions used in service to women and unborn children?
Both pro-choices and pro-lifers must speak and act with worldview consistency. I fully believe when this happens, the curtain will be lifted and the atrocity of abortion will be clearly seen for what it is.
What bothers me in all of the discussions I have seen and taken part in is the false dichotomy created between women’s health and the elimination of legal abortion. Those on the Left claim defunding Planned Parenthood would be a severe blow to women’s health care. They see it as a tragic step back in women’s rights and health care. This is where I am by no means an expert, but must ask a serious question: How dependent are American women on Planned Parenthood’s services excluding abortion? Excluding abortion, does Planned Parenthood provide services that other women’s health care providers do not? But a more serious question I want to propose to proponents on both sides of the issue: Why is the Planned Parenthood debate either or and not both and? The Left cries that to support the defunding of Planned Parenthood is to oppose women’s health care. They equate pro-life to anti-women. It is such political and intellectual dishonesty that needs to be removed from our rhetoric.
Why is fighting abortion equivalent to opposing women’s health care? Why can’t we advance women’s health care and eradicate abortion? Why does women’s health care depend so heavily on an abortion agency like Planned Parenthood in particular?
If the issue was women’s health care and not abortion, then no one should have a problem defunding the leading abortion organization that kills unborn babies, dismembers them, and sells their parts for profit and funding other women’s health care organizations that do not provide abortion services. I have no problem with Planned Parenthood’s other services that have nothing to do with abortion. That is not the issue. I am in total support of all women of all races and ethnicities receiving optimal health care. I am just not in support of this at the expense of the total disregard for the health care of unborn babies. The fact is that Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million in taxpayer money and they kill over 900 unborn babies every day. This has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with abortion. The cost of women’s health care is not the intentional killing of “unwanted” babies.
The defunding of Planned Parenthood has everything to do with abortion. I just wish the rhetoric from the Left would honestly speak to this and the actions from the Right would consistently do something about it. But most of all, I hope for bipartisan support for not just the defunding of Planned Parenthood, but the eradication of legalized abortion in America.
For now, in order to further the discussion and debate, the least we can all do is be honest and consistent with our own worldviews. For pro-choicers, this means speaking more honestly and consistently. For pro-lifers, this means acting more honestly and consistently.
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.