In Arizona and Texas, A Planned Parenthood Free-for-All


“Family planning:” The wholly innocent term infuriates the pro-life community. To them, it connotes Big Government abortions, the movie Juno and everything that is “morally wrong” with women’s reproductive health (apparently, there is a lot). Since the female health service organization Planned Parenthood is the epitomization of this catchy phrase, it goes without saying that the pro-lifers would try anything they can to shut it down. And that’s exactly what has been been happening this weekend.

On Friday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, whose recent achievements include Bible lessons in public schools, a ban on abortions after twenty weeks and the controversial “ID please” immigration law, signed the “Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act.” Like any solid piece of legislation, the title runs completely opposite to its content.
The bill, in effect, will close all direct and indirect funding from any government entity to the family planning group. As a result, 4,000 Arizona women on Medicaid, or about 10 percent of the state’s Planned Parenthood population, will be tossed overboard.
But, for politicians like Brewer, that’s not what matters.

By instantaneously cutting the organization’s lifelines, Brewer and others have proven that their stance against Planned Parenthood does not exist in pragmatic reality. The fact that 4,000 women are left stranded is never part of the pro-life worldview – it’s the primary point that taxpayers are paying for these ladies in the first place.

This seems to be the main flaw with cultural wedge issues: the concentration on the Big Picture and the subsequent decisions that result from it overshadow the real-life human beings that are affected. In this unfortunate case, lower class women who cannot afford reproductive services.

At least this was what a Texas court argued yesterday when Governor Rick Perry tried to pull a Brewer in the Lone Star State. When the state passed a ban identical to the one in Arizona, the Planned Parenthoods across Texas saw $30 million in federal funding from the Obama administration vanish. So, all 49 operators took Perry to court on the grounds that denying abortion was dutifully unconstitutional. And they won. Why? Because, as mentioned before, the ban did not take into account the human consequence.
According to the Austin federal judge, the “potential for immediate loss of access to necessary health services by several thousand Texas women” was enough reason (and logic) to throw the ban out. It is a well-known argument in constitutional law: if a ban leads to the “immediate” widespread possibility of injury, its enactment is a danger to public safety. While the appeals court agreed to hold off on oral arguments until next month, a spokesperson for Perry said he still stands by its legality.
What’s interesting about the two cases in Arizona and Texas is what they both represent in the Planned Parenthood calamity all together. In Brewer land, the “Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act” is the idealistic ethos of the pro-life stance on the organization and the intersection between government and Roe v. Wade‘s legacy. The legal decision made by Texan judges is its alter ego or yang: realistic logos.
In other words, the cost of people.