Plenty of left-wing politicos and social activists have taken to the streets to denounce the House of Representatives' recent vote to defund Planned Parenthood in an effort to reduce the federal debt. Those who worry that Americans in underprivileged areas (hot spots for Planned Parenthood) will not receive the family-planning education they need should take heart: There should still be plenty of not-for-profit organizations (including churches and other community organizations) that promote the benefits of sex education without offering the abortion services that lead to crippling social, family and psychological aftermaths.
And those worried, despite the organization's shady anti-black history and its assorted controversies, about the ability of Planned Parenthood to sustain its abortion services without the infusion of federal tax dollars should also take note: As long as its offices are located in urban centers, there will be plenty of opportunities for Planned Parenthood to continue its practices, especially since black abortion rates in places such as New York City remain so high.
Planned Parenthood advocates such as Dr. Willie Parker, a medical director at Planned Parenthood Metropolitan in Washington, D.C., believe that " … a hit on Planned Parenthood really becomes a hit for African-American women … " Others view the Republican defunding of the organization via Title X as an attack on women who want the option of abortion as well as family planning. Of course, abortion providers or advocates in cities whose populations are more than 50 percent black — cities that have a strong presence of Planned Parenthood facilities — would feel this way.
Admittedly, the funding levels for Planned Parenthood and the Pell Grant program are hardly equal. But at a time when money for Pell Grants and other much needed educational resources are being curtailed or completely cut, those who argue for the resumption of federal funding for Planned Parenthood must ask themselves: In the face of severe budget cuts, should we be fighting to fund life-advancing opportunities for at-risk students or giving more support to an organization with a long and well-documented history of disseminating the propaganda of death to our communities? If the choice is about federal financial support — not whether or not Planned Parenthood continues to exist (as it will, even without federal funding) — then where should we direct the money coming into our communities?
President Obama set a bad precedent by choosing abortions over academics in 2009 by using one of his very first executive orders to fund abortion services in other countries before eliminating funding to educate poor black children in Washington, D.C., and funding to HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) later that year.
The cry for the restoration of Planned Parenthood's funding follows this harrowing path. Instead, however, black communities and those disadvantaged Americans who need support should celebrate Republican efforts in this area, both regarding the D.C. voucher program and particularly in the defunding debate.
At some point, the partisan banter in the abortion-rights debate should not blind African Americans to the ramifications when precious resources end up aiding dream-ending services instead of helping the best and brightest of our future. Federal funds don't support abortions directly at Planned Parenthood but do pay for preventive services like contraception and cervical and breast cancer screenings. Some conservatives feel strongly that these subsidies free other funds for abortions.
Our nation, amid an economic and social crisis, cannot afford to pour money into organizations that do not have the best interests of our families — and, notably, our women — in mind. Neither Planned Parenthood nor many others within the abortion-rights community provide an adequate picture of the psychological or physical damage done to black women as a result of abortion, not to mention the largely ignored feelings of the fathers, who have little or no input in the decisions at Planned Parenthood.
At a time when African Americans are struggling to overcome a crisis in education and high incarceration rates, abortion providers also fail to note how hate groups celebrate the high abortion rates within the black community. Anything that folks such as the Ku Klux Klan consider helpful to their stated historical mission should not be supported by minorities, much less be funded with American tax dollars — even indirectly.
Perhaps it is true that Republicans should stay out of the bedrooms of Americans and their decisions concerning sexuality. Yet it is also true that American tax dollars should stay out of that complicated debate as well, especially since those dollars can be used to help educate those walking among us today instead of leading to the deferral or end of dreams — because of poor prioritization of our values and what we will fight for as a community.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the host of the morning radio show Launching Chicago With Lenny McAllister, which airs daily on WVON, The Talk of Chicago 1690 AM. He is the author of an upcoming edition of the book The Obama Era, Part I (2008-2010): Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative). Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.