Monday, April 11, 2011

Gywneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson Omit Abortion Mention in Campaign for Planned Parenthood

Is Planned Parenthood still on the chopping block? In passing a stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown, Congressional Republicans dropped their demand to defund the women's health services provider.

Critics attacked the eleventh hour agreement for prohibiting federally funded abortion in the District of Columbia. Many believe this signals a loss of government funding in the final budget. Others believe Planned Parenthood doesn't belong in a funding debate.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson want your help in assuring Planned Parenthood's continued funding. They've started a video campaign directing supporters to a page for donations.

Taking care not to mention abortion services as the preventive care Planned Parenthood provides, Paltrow and Johansson emphasize the possible loss of health care services for low-income women. Both focus on STD and cancer screening as services at risk of defunding. Johansson also mentions "access to birth control," but stops short of any reference to abortion.

Do Paltrow and Johansson give a fair account of the issue? Doesn't the public deserve to be reminded that Planned Parenthood provides abortions? Some have also lambasted the organization for lobbying and supporting political candidates. Of course there is no mention of political activity in either video.

I understand pro life sentiments with respect to federal funding of abortion services. Certainly, the issue is an explosive one to many Americans. Yet, maybe because abortion accounts for only 3% of Planned Parenthood services, Paltrow and Johansson didn't think it worth mentioning.

At only 3% of total services and in light of the life-saving care Planned Parenthood provides, I can overlook the partisan politics. Wouldn't total defunding be like throwing the baby out with the bath water?

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