1977:  Women taking part in a demonstration in New York demanding safe legal abortions for all women.  (Photo by Peter Keegan/Keystone/Getty Images)

Stop arguing percentages, and start supporting abortion

We're doing abortion rights a disservice when we bring the other services that Planned Parenthood offers into discussions about why domestic terrorism against Planned Parenthood is wrong. 

In the past few days, I've heard it over and over again. "Only 3% of the services that Planned Parenthood provides are abortions." This is true. Most of what Planned Parenthood does deals with other types of healthcare. Well Woman exams, birth control, STD testing, general checkups for men, women and children, cancer screenings, you name it. Planned Parenthood is one of the most important health resources in this county, especially for families of little economic means. It is important that we acknowledge them for that, and give them the credit that is due them for providing those services in areas where, often, no one else is. 

But it's not relevant right now, and I wish that people would stop discussing this statistic in relation to the shooting that happened on Friday.

I've written in the past on various platforms about 'reframing the language' around the abortion debate. This is one of the instances where the way we speak about anti-abortion terrorism leaves room for anti-abortion terrorists to think they're in the right. 

I want to be totally clear: It does not matter what percentage of services provided by Planned Parenthood, or any reproductive health clinic, are abortions. It could be 103%. That does not make it okay to commit terrorism against these clinics. When we bring the 3% statistic to the table, in the eyes of anti-choice activists, it's as if we're acknowledging that these terrorists would have a legitimate grievance against the clinic if only they'd gotten their statistics right. They would not. There is literally no situation in which it is okay to murder people, destroy property or even threaten to do these things as a method of ending abortion in America. 

I recognize that it's satisfying... that it makes us feel smarter and somehow more rational when we point out the other services that Planned Parenthood provides. It gives us comfort to assume that people who attack Planned Parenthood clinics don't really know the full story about what goes on in there. This is especially true when we point out that many Planned Parenthood clinics don't even provide abortions. The problem is that when we make these arguments, we're making false assumptions. Anti-choice terrorists know full well what goes on in Planned Parenthood clinics. They just don't care. In their minds, any amount of abortion is wrong. 

I once had a discussion with an anti-choice family member about my support for Planned Parenthood. I explained to him that I used Planned Parenthood in the past as source of birth control to manage my PCOS when I had no insurance. I explained that most of what Planned Parenthood does is general healthcare. His response was to ask me, "If the Nazis had cured cancer, would you support the holocaust?" 

And that's what it comes down to. In the minds of anti-choice activists abortion is a moral wrong. We give into that assumption when we suggest that the reason attacking Planned Parenthood is wrong has to do with the other services they provide. No. Attacking a Planned Parenthood clinic is just wrong. Full stop. If pro-choice activists genuinely want to start making it safer to seek abortion services in this country, we need to stop equivocating and singing the praises of Planned Parenthood's other services. We need to start singing the praises of abortion itself. We need to push back on the assumption that abortion is somehow an immoral act. We need to push back on the idea that anyone has the right to be upset about abortions happening in this country. We need to reclaim the moral ground, and say that providing abortions is a good thing to do. It is. Not only is the process legal, but it allows millions of women each year to continue their lives on the path that those women have chosen for themselves. This is a good thing. It is a healthy thing. It is a moral thing, and I will not back down from that. 

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Emily Chance

Emily Chance

Don't mind me, I'm just over here reveling in big city life.

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