Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Open Thread - Planned Parenthood

Sorry for the inconvenience of a quasi-Open Thread, but I have been a little preoccupied with a huge work-related project and haven't had time to even think about anything to write about. But I am sure that you have been paying attention, so the floor is open.

But if you can't think of anything either, there's always the big kerfluffle at Planned Parenthood. If you missed it, the issue surrounds an "undercover" video shot during a meeting between Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and representatives of “Biomax,” the fake tissue procurement company set up by anti-abortion activists. Dr. Nucatola waxes poetic how PP abortionists manipulate the soon-to-be aborted fetus', to maximize retrieving intact vital organs that can be turned over for bio-research.

None of this surprises me, but I am sure it does surprise others. What else did people think that they were doing with the aborted fetuses, burying them? But what is most disturbing to me is the casualness in which Dr. Nucatola explains the procedures between bites of her salad and sips of red wine. It reminds me of the movie "Conspiracy" with Kenneth Branagh based on the Wansee Conference. In the movie, a group of Nazi officials sit around a lovely dining table in a beautiful country estate discussing the practical application of Zyclon-B as the most efficient method to implement the "Final Solution" as casually as Dr. Nucatola discusses her technique in protecting the vital body parts during an abortion.

Anyway, here is a clip posted on the Daily Beast Link and a link to the video and an op/ed piece posted on CNN - LINK. I must say that I agree with CNN's Timothy Stanley in how it "appears to reveal about the reality behind America's sanitized image of abortion; the reality of what an abortion is and how it morally compromises us all."

Of course, Planned Parenthood's response was to try and shoot the messenger - LINK

Anyway, the floor is open. Since I understand most here are not pro-choice, feel free to change the subject.


Kit said...
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Kit said...

Conspiracy is one of the creepiest movies ever made and Kenneth Brannagh's portrayal of Heydrich is probably his best performance.

This very casual exchange is but one of many creepy moments:
Heydrich: "The policy that will take the place of emigration, and we have collected enough practical experience to do it well, is evacuation."
Hoffman: "Which differs from emigration in what way? Evacuation to where?"
Heydrich: "Let us postpone that question for a while."
Klopfer: "To hell, one hopes."
Lange: "Many already have."
Luther: "Do they even have a hell?"
Heydrich: "They do now, we provide it."

Note: Heydrich wears a charming smile on his face throughout that entire exchange.

Kit said...

Also, Stanley Tucci is a perfect Eichmann.

Kit said...

My review of Inside Out is up!

Make sure you see the movie while it is still in theaters!

Anthony said...

Unsurprisingly, so far everyone taking a side on the baby parts video is taking their usual side. Even the shortened form of the video is longer than ordinary people will watch. What might impact the public consensus is the Republican tv commercials based on the video that will spring up once the Republicans and Democrats have gotten past their primaries and are focused on each other.

Early on the impact of the video seems to be like that of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, getting a response, but not the one hoped for.


A recently released video showing a Planned Parenthood official discussing the harvesting and sale of body organs from aborted babies to medical laboratories has kicked up a political storm. Most voters still approve of the pro-choice group but don’t care much for its sales practices.

No matter, the war will go on. Republicans will continue their policy of strangling abortion clinics with red tape and chopping funding and whatever else the Supreme Court lets them get away with (another Republican or two there could change things quite a bit), Dems will continue their policy of unconditional support.

I am pro-life but don't have much faith in the ability of governments to meaningfully impact 'popular' activities (nods towards guns and drugs). As I often point out, Latin America has much tougher anti-abortion laws than the US but also a much higher rate of abortion. I'm not saying government action doesn't impact markets (it certainly does) wiping out a market by changing tastes is more effective.

On that note, it should be kept in mind that abortion in absolute terms and as a percentage of pregnancies in the US has been declining for the past two decades regardless of the position of local governments. The different sides offer different explanations for the decline. Pro-abortionists tend to cite birth control and sex ed, pro-lifers cite clinic closings and a growing culture of life.


Five of the six states with the biggest declines — Hawaii at 30 percent, New Mexico at 24 percent, Nevada and Rhode Island at 22 percent, Connecticut at 21 percent — have passed no recent laws to restrict abortion clinics or providers.

Nancy Northup, who as CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights has overseen some lawsuits against state restrictions on abortion, said, "All of this effort is being spent on passing legislation and on litigation, when in fact what those states should do is take a look at the blue states and what they're doing right in decreasing abortions."

Judy Tabar, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said the declines in Connecticut and Rhode Island were due in part to expanded access to long-lasting contraception methods that are now fully covered by health insurers under the federal Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion and other initiatives. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood — the largest abortion provider in the U.S. — says its health centers report a 91 percent increase since 2009 in the use of IUDs and contraceptive implants.



Now, the most persuasive explanation for the long-term decline in the American abortion rate is that a lower percentage of women facing unintended pregnancies are choosing abortion. According to data from Guttmacher, in 1994, 54 percent of unintended pregnancies ended in abortion. By 2008, that number had fallen to 40 percent. Pro-life educational and service efforts, such as pregnancy-resource centers, have likely played a role in the decline. Interestingly, abortion numbers are falling the fastest among younger women — and many surveys show that the current generation of young adults is far more skeptical about abortion than previous generations.

Kit said...


Another part of it might be the loss of stigma associated with out-of-wedlock birth, a phenomenon that has come with its own set of problems.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, pro-abortioners also like to cite clinic closings as a cause for the decline, which bolsters the conception that they are unhappy about it.

Northrup and AP take a rather snapshot view of the matter. The data only looks at the latest 2-3 years of a decades long trend in both declining abortion rates and increased restrictions. All of the data on both subjects going back to Roe v. Wade is available for compilation and comparison. When anyone zeroes in on a small section of the data, I tend to suspect that it doesn't represent the larger picture.

It's worth noting that 4 of the 5 states with the largest declines are in the top 10 states by abortion rate--and well above the national average. Large decreases from a high number aren't as meaningful as the presentation suggests. Likewise, the states with the most restrictions have already low abortion rates, so they can't do much to bring them lower. New Mexico is the one state that something might be learned from.

However, I think such legislation tends to codify existing values rather than serving to enforce new ones. The states with the most restrictions are also those with historical trends of few abortions. And they're the states you'd expect. In other words, they've barred what hardly anyone is doing anyway--they're just keeping the newcomers and youngsters from changing things.

AndrewPrice said...

My thoughts are these...

The public has made up its mind on the abortion issue. Their choice (by about 80% to >10% to >10% to a few undecided) is "legal but rare and I don't want to hear about it." The other >10% are total ban and >10% unfettered.

That is what you get when you dig into the poll numbers which ask "are you prolife or prochoice?" Those tend to show around a 50/50 with one side or the other being up a couple percentage points in any particular year. What you find is that while half call themselves prolife, a huge majority of those actually favor legal abortion so long as it is regulated and doesn't become a method of birth control for reckless behavior. On the other side, the vast majority of those who call themselves prochoice favor regulation and want to ban things like partial birth abortion. So what this gets you is about 80% of the public effectively holding the compromise position of "legal, but limited."

What's more, the public seems to be done with the issue, and they tend to punish those who raise the issue. The reason I think they are done with the issue is that (1) this is a sideshow issue that doesn't affect hardly anyone personally and yet, when it comes up it crowds out all the real issues... so the public is leery of letting it get addressed, (2) it is an issue dominated by assholes on both sides and the public has shown repeatedly that they are turned off by "activists," (3) they believe a good compromise has been reached and they see no reason to break the deal, as evidenced by the lack of shift in the poll numbers for a long time now, and (4) they know that this is the state of the law and that it can't be changed given the public split, so why fight about something that can't change?

The end result is that he who raises the abortion issue loses.

And since the public will never see this video (because the MSM won't present it to them and the public doesn't trust the conservative news), and what they may see of it will be presented as "misleadingly edited" and "created by conservatives" this video will do nothing to sway the public to be interested in reopening the abortion issue.

Proceed with caution.

tryanmax said...

On IUDs -- I have something of a beef.

As far as I can tell, the impact of IUDs has been greatly overstated. According to Guttmacher, 19-22% of women discontinue IUD use within the first year, leaving about 3.5% of women who use IUDs long-term. There's no way this small cohort can be contributing significantly to the reported decline in abortions.

If all forms of long-term reversible contraception are considered together, then the claim by Planned Parenthood might hold. But the rhetorical emphasis on IUDs is deceptive.

Hormonal implants are about half as popular as IUDs despite being more effective, cheaper, less invasive (implanted in the arm), and having fewer side effects. Implants operate on the same principle as the Pill without having to remember to take it daily.

It causes me to wonder why IUDs receive media preference over a clearly superior alternative?

AndrewPrice said...

In terms of why abortion has been falling, I would say three things have changed.

1. Obviously an increase in knowledge about contraception has helped. Young people in particular are much more knowledgeable about how to avoid pregnancy. Hence, the need for abortion is way down.

2. There is an attitude change toward keeping the child. I would attribute this to two major factors.

(2a) First, the Baby Boomers are no longer getting knocked up. The Baby Boomers are a statistical anomaly passing through America. If there is something self-centered, immoral, or stupid, the Baby Boomers do it in numbers that no other other generation has. Divorce is the perfect example... the Baby Boomer divorce at several times the percentages of any other generation. Abortion is no different. So now that the Boomers aren't getting pregnant any more, the numbers are reverting to the norm.

(2b) Secondly, celebrity influence has shifted from promoting childless couples to having lots of their own kids today. This has resulted in a lot more young women having kids and in keeping the kids they get.

Related to this is the breaking of feminism, which has allowed women to again want to be mothers rather than athletes, butch soldiers, and corporate slaves. That means kids are wanted again, ergo they aren't aborted.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I suspect the reason that IUDs receive more attention is that they can be implanted in women who the pro-abortion left views as too stupid to take the pill consistently. Basically, it's contraception paternalism.

Kit said...

I've also heard that the rise of ultrasounds has made abortion less common. With millennials you have a generation raised seeing photos of their unborn siblings.

Kit said...

Oh, in case you missed it, my review of Pixar's recent movie Inside Out is at Commentarama Films.

Kit said...

Today would've been Robin Williams 64th Birthday.

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