I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on the way to work and there was a guest hostess moderating a ridiculous discussion ostensibly about the recent attempt to cut Planned Parenthood off from federal funding. According to the hostess and the guests (all women*) there were two sides to this debate: A) people who support "women's health issues" and B) people who don't really understand what Planned Parenthood does.

The purpose of the show seemed to be to explain Planned Parenthood to Group B. To this end, the hostess and two of the three guests spent the first 15 minutes of the show repeating that abortion was only a tiny sliver of what Planned Parenthood is about; the third guest pointed out that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country, and that a substantial portion of their budget goes towards performing abortions (one-third, she said?). The other guests promptly ganged up on her and argued that if someone was really against abortions then she would support Planned Parenthood because of all the contraception etc. they distribute to prevent unintended pregnancies.

At this point, the hostess brought on the president of Planned Parenthood and threw softball questions at her for a while. I could only take this for so long before I had to get out of my car into the fresh air.

The group never approached the real motivations behind the group pushing for the defunding of Planned Parenthood. This group consists of two subsets: B1) thinks that abortion should be legal but that taxpayer money shouldn't be used to pay for it, and B2) thinks that abortion is basically murder and should be entirely illegal.

Neither B1 nor B2 cares that Planned Parenthood does lots of stuff besides abortions, and both groups would (mostly) get along just fine with Planned Parenthood if they kept doing everything else but performed zero abortions. Group B1 might prefer that none of Planned Parenthood's activities be federally funded, but they'd be a lot less vociferous if abortion weren't in the mix. Group B2 mostly doesn't care about the other activities or the funding, but they view people that perform any abortions as having dirty hands -- killing even a single baby is very bad, even if you do lots of other good things.

An actual discussion of these perspectives and how they affect modern politics would have been very interesting to hear. Too bad such a discussion is almost unthinkable on National Public Radio.

* Why does it matter that all the guests were women? Because it was certainly on purpose and due to the prevailing view that only women are allowed to have opinions about abortion. The idea that possessing ovaries gives anyone's opinions greater moral weight is offensive. Women aren't banished from discussions of e.g., war and finance just because these domains are dominated by men. Besides, it's a uterus, not a uteryou.

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