The Planned Parenthood Video Scam Will Backfire – Again

It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

A short time ago a shell organization associated with Operation Rescue hatched a brilliant plan. These geniuses would use hidden camera footage to prove that Planned Parenthood was in the business of selling fetal tissue for profit.

Their plan failed because it was delusional from start to finish. No worries, in the world of right-wing media, failure is the foundation on which “Mission Accomplished” is built. They declared victory, released their videos, and assumed no one would notice that the videos didn’t support their case.

It is nearly impossible for reasonable people to engage in a debate over abortion. Under the best of circumstances abortion is a challenging subject because it represents two fully legitimate civil rights in conflict with one another.

Worse, the pivot point for that conflict – the moment when “life” begins – is an inherently philosophical matter, beyond any empirical resolution. On the question of abortion we are forced to wrestle with competing rights of the utmost sanctity which can only be mediated through an entirely subjective process. Every realistic policy option in this debate entails a compromise of rights deeply felt by someone with good justification.

Into this realm of ambiguity floats an army of malignant fundamentalists, unburdened by the uncertainties that accompany humility. Determined to demolish any space that may have existed for reasoned debate, they are intent on imposing their will through fraud, distortion, or even violence. Yet again, by ignoring a complex reality in pursuit of a comfortingly simple narrative, the right wing deception machine has stirred up all the usual sound and fury among all the usual people. Their efforts will further isolate the Republican Party from the national mainstream while placing any reasonable policy debate on abortion even farther out of reach.

Informed by their delusions about abortions and the people who conduct them, those who filmed these dull lunch sequences were braced for breathtaking revelations. They did their best, with selective editing, to create something remotely interesting. In the end, the videos contain the following insights which you are meant to find shocking:

1) Women sometimes have abortions.

2) Those women have the option to donate fetal tissue for medical research.

3) Donor organizations have the legal right to accept payment from researchers to cover their costs.

4) Some people who work for Planned Parenthood are willing to have detailed conversations about abortion over lunch.

That’s it. Watch the videos over and over again. Play them backwards. There’s nothing else in them.

The activities the Planned Parenthood representatives discussed are not merely legal in the sense that “there’s no law against that.” Their activities have been formally standardized and regulated by a specific federal law passed in 1993, supported by major figures on the Republican right. Nothing anywhere in the videos runs afoul of that law or any other. The only crimes featured in those videos were committed by the people who illegally filmed them.

Why did prominent, hyper-conservative Republicans support the legal framework Planned Parenthood is using for these donations? Because it’s an outstanding idea.

Tactics of abortion extremists highlight a particular problem for Republicans. By further encasing the GOP base inside a delusional bubble removed from any of the complexity, nuance, or ambiguity that bedevils life in the real world, these tactics make constructive, intelligent debate on complex issues simply impossible. They chain Republicans to unpopular positions from which we are unable to achieve either a victory or a compromise.

In the absence of any framework on which to build constructive engagement on abortion rights, we get stalemate. That stalemate could be broken with efforts toward some sensible policy solution, but that’s not the goal of the GOP’s abortion fetishists. Their genius plan is to break the stalemate with increased polarization. Needless to say, it isn’t working and it isn’t going to.

After forty years of increasingly desperate and even violent anti-abortion activism, public opinion on abortion remains right where it was when the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Roe v. Wade. More than 80% of the American public opposes the absolutist abortion position being forced onto Republican candidates by abortion activists. That’s an enormous majority. You can’t assemble an 80% consensus in favor of chocolate ice cream.

It gets worse. A solid majority of Americans under-55 identify themselves as “pro-choice,” roughly the same percentage that has held that position for decades. That includes a third of Republicans. Picking a fight on ground you are bound to lose is a suboptimal strategy.

These Breitbart tactics are fantastically self-destructive. It’s one thing to be unpopular. It’s another thing altogether to be an unpopular asshole. Now, the same idiots who interrupt town hall meetings to rant about Benghazi or Jade Helm or death panels can spice up their gibberish with half-baked references to fetal body parts. Another win for sound and fury.

There is good reason to be repulsed by abortion, just as there is good reason to be repulsed by cancer surgery. Like abortion, cancer surgery is gruesome and bloody and miserable to look at. No one’s vision for their life includes the hope of experiencing either procedure. Only an idiot would respond to the misery of cancer surgery by banning it because it’s icky. It makes much more sense to make cancer surgery less necessary by fighting cigarette smoking and encouraging people to eat vegetables and so on.

While abortion fetishists wander around under giant banners of mangled fetal tissue, other people are slowly making progress toward ending abortion. We know how to reduce the incidence of abortion – educate young people on how their bodies work and how to make choices about reproduction. Thanks to these efforts, championed let’s remember by Planned Parenthood, rates of teen pregnancy and teen birth, the twin harbingers of lifetime poverty, are approaching historic lows. Abortion rates are tumbling right along with them.

Technology is also pitching in with cheaper, more effective methods of birth control and pharmaceutical options for safely ending a pregnancy when the fetus is little more than a few dozen cells. If we embraced a basket of strategies that gave women more knowledge and power over reproduction, abortion would gradually shrink to the margins of our society. So why does the so-called “pro-life” movement oppose all of these measures?

This is the most important statistic in the abortion debate: Abortion comprises about 3% of Planned Parenthood’s activities.

Almost everything else Planned Parenthood does reduces the need for abortion. Through its heavy emphasis on women’s health, contraception, and education, Planned Parenthood has probably prevented more abortions that any other organization in the United States. That 3% figure is very important for understanding why abortion opponents hate Planned Parenthood so very much.

Planned Parenthood is not a target because of the small fraction of their energy devoted to abortion. For the mullahs guiding the “pro-life” movement, nothing inspires more horror than a woman making her own sexual choices. They will not accept any political measure that would limit the frequency of abortion unless it would also limit the range of life options available to women. Anti-abortion activists would hate Planned Parenthood just as deeply if it stopped performing abortions this afternoon.

Planned Parenthood is not a target because of 3% of their activities. Anti-abortion activists hate Planned Parenthood because of everything it does and stands for.

That’s what makes the anti-abortion lobby a dead weight around Republicans’ necks. That’s why abortion opponents have failed to gain an inch of ground in public opinion in forty years of effort. That’s why this video stunt, along with whatever stupid tactics these people adopt next, will only make it harder to elect Republicans.

Someone will have to bend on the question of abortion rights. Anyone who actually believes that the GOP is going to breach the Blue Wall through abortion extremism should not be trusted with a position of authority. Hell, you probably shouldn’t leave them to watch your kids or take care of your dog.

These videos ‘signify nothing.’ They are merely one more force separating the Republican base from political reality. We have to find an alternative to the politics of ‘sound and fury.’ There simply is no public consensus to support an absolute position on abortion. This issue needs to recede from the center of Republican policy before the party can once again achieve national relevance.

Let me endure your wrath, if ’t be not so.”


Protecting All Unborn Life in Texas

How Texas Disciplines Unchaste Women

Trapped in an Abortion Stalemate

Breaking the Abortion Stalemate

Texas is not Pro-Life

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016, Reproductive Rights
46 comments on “The Planned Parenthood Video Scam Will Backfire – Again
  1. ️Deb Adams says:

    CHRIS, I will keep this short, I will be praying for you to come to know the truth on this subject and for you to come to know the real truth for you to find GOD

  2. Anyone who brings politics into this subject is lost……I wouldn;t care if BIGFOOT took the video.. Seeing and hearing is believing…I bet most of you don’t even look at the entire video……..The audasity of people who think they have the right to decide who lives and who dies is stunning….Women’s rights …This has nothing to do with womens rights and everything to do with life itself which superseed’s women’s rights…..they will eventually be prosecuted no matter how you try and spin this….As far as lost services there’s plenty of hospitals that offer the same…If planned Parenthood where abolished today ,everyone would just go somewhere else for these services….Its going to be hardest for liberals who think this way when the ship sinks and they finally realize that they have all been manipulated in the name of women’s rights….All of you are headed for a painful reality check within the next 2 years…..How can such intelligent people such as yourselves be so blind and ignorant…You thought Hillary was credible …SHES GOING DOWN IN FLAMES…AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD WILL FOLLOW WITH ALL THE REST OF THE CORRUPTION..YOU HAVE ALL BEEN DUPED,AND THE HARDEST THING FOR SOME LIBERALS IS TO ADMIT THAT THEY GOT IT WRONG…THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU FIGHT AGAINST IT….HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS, LIKE MOST OF YOU BELIEVE AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HUMANITY…IF I WAS FROM ANOTHER PLANET LOOKING DOWN AND SAW THAT THE PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET WHERE ABORTING THERE YOUNG, WHAT WOULD I THINK?????WHAT WOULD YOU THINK???????THE NAME PLANNED PARENTHOOD ITSELF IS THE BIGGEST FRAUD OF ALL…..WHERE’S THE THE PLANNING FOR PARENT HOOD?????I DON’T SEE ANY PLANNING GOING ON…ALL I SEE IS TERMINATION OF PARENTING……

  3. K.Victor says:

    2 quick comments.
    1. why are your articles not on the Chron editorial page ? seriously.? I will ask Sweany this myself.

    2. . this video has about the same chance of taking a woman’s right to choose ( what this actually is) as Dylan Roof did shooting 9 people in bible study to start a race war.. Fundamentalist right wingers who swear allegiance to Jesus Christ, seemed to have forgotten the part where he was born in a live stock pen to poor people. Poor children in Texas don’t seem to be benefiting from a government lead by Christians..

  4. Chris, I think you misunderstand the purpose of all this. Nothing will come of it from a legal standpoint, but that doesn’t mean it is without effect. This is the age of optics, and the optics on this are *gruesome*. The videos aren’t intended to spark legal action (they can’t), but they are intended to fire up the base. To that end, they excel.

    • 1mime says:

      Tracy, just as you suggested, LA Gov. Jindal is working the PP issue for all it’s worth. It seems he doesn’t oppose the use of Executive Orders for himself, only for Pres. Obama. What he’s really trying to accomplish, of course, is to work the issue so he will be “on” the stage, not watching from the wings. What a loser.

      Do those who are jumping on the “abolish PP bandwagon” have any plans for replacement services for the men and women that utilize them for things like breast exams, pap tests, STD treatment and prevention, family planning including, of course, contraception? Of course not. They’ll simply have to go to the nearest taxpayer funded ER, put an aspirin between their legs, and pray that they will not become a cancer statistic. If they do become pregnant (because the aspirin didn’t work), they better not claim welfare either, and they better move to a state which has expanded Medicaid….which will, of course, take them far, far away from the deep south.

  5. lomamonster says:

    Malignant fundamentalists will insist upon keeping women as the last slaves in America. That is more than just infuriating, it is totally anti-American activity and should be dealt with immediately by the voting citizenry.

  6. antimule says:

    I am not sure that it was a failure if the goal was to fire up their own base. Sure they alienate almost everyone else, but firing up the base works for the House and in midterm elections.

  7. vikinghou says:

    Republicans have always believed (during my lifetime, anyway) that the only family planning anyone needs is abstinence. That’s because it doesn’t cost Republicans anything. I can’t fathom how Americans can call Islam a ninth-century religion that prevents its people from joining the 21st century when we embrace the most backward aspects of Christianity and actually try to make them law in 2015.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I think it is certainly worth noting, that it is not all Republicans that believe abstinence is the only family planning that is needed.

      There are many Republicans that really, really like sex, have plenty of sex before marriage or otherwise have sex outside the boundaries of heterosexual marriage, practice safe sex and provide and endorse sex education for their kids.

      The difficulty seems to be that they tend to vote for GOP candidates that do not have the fortitude to say those things out loud and who work to implement policies contrary to those things due to their fear of a relatively small minority of zealots.

      It is not that they are backwards thinking. They are cowards.

  8. This is the most honest explanation on the anti-abortion movement I have ever read from a Republican. Thank you so very much. I hope that someday there could be an honest conservative party that would work with liberals where both sides compromise, and give and take as honest brokers working to shape American policy on this, and every other important issue we face–but that isn’t possible with the current Republican Party of today. Thank you for speaking out so plainly and honestly.

  9. Well said Chris.

    To Stephen… “So why has the party pursued destroying the safety net and policies that impoverish working people?”

    I would recommend “Democracy Incorporated” by Sheldon S. Wolin for a working theory on why this is the case.

  10. pbasch says:

    Wow. Thanks for this post.
    Here’s my modest proposal which will Fix Everything. Treat every abortion as a premature birth, and do everything possible to save the “child”. Sure, call it a “child”, no matter if it even has a neural tube or not. Naturally, they can almost never be saved, in which case the Baby Saver™ (no longer an icky ol’ abortionist or even suspect ob/gyn) is a tragic hero for having tried, not a villain for evilly having served women of suspect morals.
    In the case of a last-trimester procedure, in the case where the “child” is actually able to survive, however damaged, religious institutions should be charged with the placement of this child in a home with one of their parishioners. And yes, they should be charged, as well, via some kind of levy to pay for the vastly increased cost of the procedures. But since it’s now Baby Saving™, I’m sure no cost is too high… Right?
    So, the positive outcomes are these:
    Abortionists become Baby Savers™ and are thus heroes of the community and no longer under threat of death from heavily-armed religious extremists; rather, the armed extremists will protect the Baby Savers™ against imagined armies of lefty baby-killers
    Women keep the right to end their pregnancies at any time (up to a month post-partum, if it were up to me… because that, traditionally, is when ensoulment is said to occur) with no stigma, since we’re Doing All We Can to Save the Babies™
    Payment for these procedures will be taken on by religious institutions, who will do so cheerfully and generously
    Foster families can be given the gift of taking care of ill, sick, damaged, even acephalic “babies” (since, apparently, cell division is far more important than mere sentience; after all cell division = Life™!), knowing that they’re doing God’s work.

    Wow. That was exhausting. Next, Middle East Peace.

    • 1mime says:

      Ah, semantics! Well done, Pbasch. I’m looking forward to your treatise on Middle East peace.

    • Name says:

      placental translants, available at catholic and other surgically qualified hospitals, hospital admittance included.

      • pbasch says:

        There ya go! Now we’re thinking! In fact, I’ve been thinking further. Since cell division = Life, isn’t my malignant tumor even MORE alive than a mere blastocyst? After all, its cells are multiplying at a very rapid rate! When I get it removed, perhaps there would be a good evangelical family who will take it in and love it. It has unique (because mutated) DNA, and how knows what kind of potential! (I think I saw an X Files about this…)
        The whole Live Begins at Conception trope is empty of meaning. The only purpose for it, since it is so transparently untrue, is to oppress Loose Women. If Pro-Lifers all turned to Pro-Minders, and changed their slogan to Minds Begin in the 3rd Trimester, we could have an interesting debate about how limited women’s freedom should be. The Pro-Minders would say that women have full freedom until they start gestating a real mind. The Pro-Choicers would say that it’s nobody’s business what’s inside her, that it’s an invasion even to check, that it’s between her and her medical provider. And she would be able to go to a Baby-Saving™ clinic to have her gestating mind gently removed. The clinic would then attempt to save that mind and find a home for it, if any are left after they’re all taking in the tumors.

  11. 1mime says:

    “U.S. wages and benefits grew in the spring at the slowest pace in 33 years, stark evidence that stronger hiring isn’t lifting paychecks much for most Americans. The slowdown also likely reflects a sharp drop-off in bonus and incentive pay for some workers.
    The employment cost index rose just 0.2 percent in the April-June quarter after a 0.7 increase in the first quarter, the Labor Department said Friday. The index tracks wages, salaries and benefits. Wages and salaries alone also rose 0.2 percent.
    Both measures recorded the smallest quarterly gains since the second quarter of 1982.
    Salaries and benefits for private sector workers were unchanged, the weakest showing since the government began tracking the data in 1980.”

    The reason? There are still sufficient unemployed that employers can hire new people rather than reward existing employees! The income divide in America is alive and unwell. When is business going to realize that employees are human capital? That workers who are paid livable wages can buy things….from them! That workers who don’t earn a livable wages COST all taxpayers through health and child care issues and inability to contribute to our economy!

    Do these numbers not concern you – both as a human being and as an American?

  12. BigWilly says:

    Rape, incest, or the “health” of the mother are the only reasons I can see for abortion. Abortion is not another method of birth control, albeit one which extracts the living embryo quite violently.

    Life begins at conception, I’m surprised there’s any confusion about this. You should be asking yourselves “When does consciousness begin?” I think that is legitimately debatable.

    Whether of not pro-life positions are popular at the moment is really more about who’s got the most effective ad campaign, rather than some deeply held conviction regarding infanticide.

    You do know about the base of the democrat party, don’t you? Built on Luciferian dreams.

    • goplifer says:

      If life begins at conception than how does an exception for rape or incest make any sense?

      • 1mime says:

        For “personhood” proponents, it doesn’t, Lifer.

      • BigWilly says:

        I suppose it doesn’t, at least not as far as I can tell. It’s a contradiction I’m willing to live with to keep the peace. See above.

        “Given that sperm and eggs are living cells, there technically is no beginning, unless you go back to that first ever cell.”

        I’m gonna have to smoke on that one a bit.

        Can’t you just buy contraceptives at Walgreens? I didn’t think this was a real issue. Unless you can’t buy spermicidal jell in Mississippi. Can you buy spermicidal jell in Tupelo? All of the dead potential Elvises.

      • 1mime says:

        No, BW, female contraceptives are prescriptive. Condoms are available over the counter at a drugstore but they are not as safe or effective as prescriptive contraception. The issue is cost and availability of contraceptives for women. Average cost is approximately $50/month, or, $600/year. Average. That may not sound like a lot of money, but if it’s a choice between food or a critical bill, it can be, then there’s the doctor visit to get the RX. The relatively recent “religious rights” claim, per the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision, (broadly speaking,) allows religious rights to qualify certain businesses to not offer contraceptives in their group health insurance, or dispense the(m at a drugstore) by a pharmacist with same views.

        There are lots of ways to make it tough for women to make their own choices to plan pregnancy and thereby greatly reduce abortion. Why wouldn’t we all support this means?

    • flypusher says:

      “Life begins at conception, I’m surprised there’s any confusion about this. ”

      Given that sperm and eggs are living cells, there technically is no beginning, unless you go back to that first ever cell.

      • pbasch says:

        The focus on cell division as a marker of Life™ (and no, I’m not tired of using the trademark symbol as a marker of snark… may be soon, though) is nothing short of idiotic. Sentience or consciousness or something of that ilk is the only interesting marker. Otherwise, acephalic babies are people and AIs are not! In fact, if cell division is the marker, than my melanoma is a person, which is an absurd outcome. After all, it has “unique” DNA.
        sidenote – if “unique” DNA is the marker of a “person”, then can we abort one of a pair of identical twins? After all, their DNA is not unique…
        I know, there are no AIs (AFAIK) yet. But when they happen – hoo boy.

      • EJ says:

        Remember that some two-thirds of fertilised eggs miscarry almost immediately and are lost with the next menstruation. If life began at conception then two-thirds of all human beings died inside their mothers. It’s a position which can only be taken in total ignorance of biology.

        As a society we must keep our ethical standards up to date with our understanding of medical science. To allow bronze age superstition to contend with modern thought is unworthy of a civilisation capable of space travel and internet communication.

      • 1mime says:

        EJ, what you are saying is absolute truth; however, when one considers that there are many who do not believe in evolution or global warming, it’s not a stretch to assume they’d add mis-information about conception. How does one deal with people who demonstrate such lack of scientific understanding/acceptance? We share the same planet, after all.

    • 1mime says:

      I also support the right to abortion for rape, incest or the health of a woman….but I go futher. I believe the ultimate right should be up to the woman (and her partner). It should not be frivolous and it should be rare.

      Big Willy, you said nothing about contraception, yet, in many states, contraception access has also come under attack. Instead, women are denied contraception through family planning clinics (PP etc) and by some who profess “religious rights”. Why not let women decide for themselves? After all, if all women have choice, those who prefer not to use contraception are not denied their right to have as many pups as they want.

    • 1mime says:

      BW, as a Democrat, I have to confess that I had no idea that the base of the Democrat Party was built on Luciferian dreams. However, I can’t dispute it even though I’ll admit it sounds like a whole lot more fun than what the fundamentalists believe!

      • pbasch says:

        Unless you’re a fundamentalist Luciferian… I’m going to see if that Baphomet statue from the Church of Satan is available for my City Hall. Since I live in LA, should be a slamdunk.

      • EJ says:

        Church of Satan delight me. They’re nothing but a bunch of internet trolls who’ve spilled over into the real world, and yet somehow their antics always come across as delightful rather than creepy and awful. Long may they remain so.

    • Name says:

      all living cells are alive.

  13. stephen says:

    I was pretty radical against abortion as a young man. But now my hair is grey and I have evolved. If you give government the power to stop people from making the choice of abortion then the government has the power to mandate them. Which is what has happen in China. Our own government in the early part of the twentieth century involuntary sterilize people.

    If someone is to make the choice to abort or not and someone will, I would rather leave it up to mom. What peeves me a lot about the GOP is doing nothing practical to reduce abortions but using it for a wedge issue. A Mormon friend thinks that we should leave the government out of it and let God and the woman settle the issue of the right or wrong of it. And he like me thinks that abortion is an abomination. People of faith can be practical.

    Most abortions are because of economic issues. No woman cheerfully ever submits to the procedure. So why has the party pursued destroying the safety net and policies that impoverish working people?

    I vote for Bill Clinton when he first ran for the presidency because he was for fiscal conservatism. He did a good job on that but he also said his policies would reduce abortion. His reform of welfare actually made that worst and was the main reason I did not vote for him in his second run. I am a true swing vote although registered Republican because my state is not an open primary state.

    I think we should push knowledge of birth control even have the state subsidize it. Help single and low income parents with subsidize daycare, and healthcare for them and their kids. We should help them get advance skills through college and trade schools. Yes dads can also be single parents or low income. No modern successful state is all capitalistic or socialistic but a combination of both.I have arrived awhile back pretty much where Lifer’s views are.

    My daughters dislike abortion but hate the idea of the government making that decision for them. This is going to be a deal breaker for their votes as well as million of other women. I wish the GOP would break up and the radicals would form their own party and quit infecting the Republican party. As Lifer has pointed out many times they have nothing in common with the Historical Republican Party. I liked and miss the old GOP but certainly not the current one.

    • Griffin says:

      The problem is that we have insane coalitions that occur due to our two-party system, so it’s impossible for old-styled Republicans to “kick out” the Dixiecrats without them becoming irrelevant as well. The only solution to this would be if the Democratic Party embrases them instead or if our electoral system changed to allow multiple parties to compete at the national level, much like most of Europe right now. But that would require a rehaul of Congress, since we’d be operating more like a Parliament at that point with people voting for parties.

      The only system I know of that would keep local representatives while allowing more parties to be represented is Mixed member proportional which is used in New Zealand right now. I’d be curious to hear Lifer’s take on electoral systems, I imagine he’s not a fan of rehauling the voting system (not least because it’s not a very practical goal at the moment) but it would be interesting to hear his take on it.

      As far as I can tell since the very early 20th century America has been fought over by 4 political groups that have come in and out of power and it’s difficult for them all to be heard right now:

      -Progressives (Basically social democrats, what Liberal Democrats and some older Progressive Republicans were)

      -Progressive conservatives (The older Republican party, Third Way Democrats today (albeit an arkward version of it), Liberal/Rockefeller Republicans)

      -Business conservatives (More libertarian on economics and hated the New Deal, “reactionary” northerners like Barry Goldwater or to a much less radical extent the Taft family)

      -Social conservatives (The Dixiecrats and some conservative Catholics if they were found North or West)

      Two of these groups have to be sidelined in a two-party system, you just kind of have to in order to have clear leadership and a clear agenda. Right now Progressives are getting inceasingly angry that centrist Democrats are running the Democratic Party and are trying to have a comeback with Warren in the Senate and Sanders increasing their appeal even if he loses the nomination. Social and business conservatives tried to morph into one due to fusionism but it’s clear that social conservativism is given much more emphasis than business or progressive conservatism in the modern republican party, leading to anger from libertarian leaning people.

      While the occasional philosophy pops up to challange these groups (communism, anarchism, arguably neoconservatism) none seem to stick around for too long in the US. Arguably most “outside” philosophies are just extreme takes on the above or is a weird take on nationalism that tends to die out completely after a decade or two. The only question is who’s going to be sidelined in the next party system?

      • As a kiwi I like the Mixed member proportional – but I’m not convinced that it is the best system
        As used here we have a threshold – 5% if you get less than 5% no MP’s – UNLESS you have an electorate MP when you get the appropriate number of list MPs
        This has lead to a party with 4.5% getting no MP’s and a party with 3.5% getting three MP’s

        I also like STV (single transferable vote) – I think Australia and Ireland use that

        What about a “petition system” – country wide – if you can get 40,000 signatures you are an MP?
        We could use that with a simple filter so that you could only vote once because we have a good voter registration system

        There are lots of possibilities – FTP is one of the worst

  14. 1mime says:

    TX: Malignant AND stupid AND illegal. Thank you Lifer for this piece. Like the majority of women, I am pro-choice – even as I want the procedure to be rarely used, I firmly believe it should be a woman’s right. What is more malignant are those who video illegally and edit the video to represent their point of view. They belong in jail. Ironically, in TX this year, there was a huge outcry from Legislators against members of the TX TP video-taping those who were perceived as participating in “TP-detrimental” activities – seems Republicans don’t like it when their ox is being gored. Somehow, it’s different?! Conservatives in Congress are poised to defund PP at the federal level. Can’t have these pesky weemin making their own choices, can they?

    Conservative extremists abhor any form of welfare; they abhor contraception; they love the idea of sticking a probe into a woman’s vagina and they won’t expand Medicaid to help women who have health problems and babies they can’t care for. In Colorado, conservatives in this legislature refused to continue funding an extremely successful state program which makes contraception readily available to women in an effort to reduce both pregnancy and abortion. Despite a 50% reduction in the pregnancy rate and greatly reduced abortions, they cut the program! Which begs the question and leaves the only reason being they don’t want contraception at all!

    PP is fighting back. This is a good women’s organization, in fact, they provide services for men, as well….a little known fact. They help families with planning, women with paps & breast exams, etc. They save lives and help families. I proudly support PP. Republican extremists who think they will gain by de-funding this organization and savaging its reputation through illegal, reprehensible means will find out, as Lifer suggests, that the small number of their base who agree with them pales in comparison to the large majority who don’t. Will they ever learn?

    The scurrilous efforts of slimy conservative minions to savage programs that they want to destroy through sneaky, illegal video surveillance (ACORN, PP), is beyond the pale. Here’s background on the principals involved in the video-taping: “The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) announced the release of this second video on Monday in a post authored by Operation Rescue employee Cheryl Sullenger. CMP filmed the videos with Operation Rescue acting as an advisor. Both Sullenger and her husband were found guilty of attempting to bomb an abortion clinic in 1988 and served jail-time for their attempted attack.” This particular video effort was undertaken under the Center for Medical Progress (what a name for what they do), and it is a non-profit organization – headed by 26 year old David Daleiden.

    Nice people – who want to save an unborn life by taking the lives of the living. Why does this contradiction not scream hypocrisy and craziness? And, they are making a fine living out from tapping into this niche.

    Is the GOP so incredibly spineless that they cannot stand against this kind of activity? Can the Republican Party no longer run on a platform of constructive ideas? Are fear tactics and playing to a narrow electorate who is fixated on turning the clock back on womens’ rights all the GOP has left?

  15. flypusher says:

    As you said, the sticking point of this issue is when you believe personhood begins. That is entirely subjective and therefore you have no choice but to strike a compromise in a free society. Unless you have that rare extreme position of absolute no-strings-attached abortion on demand, or the even rarer extreme of no abortions ever for any reason, you have made a compromise/ exception somewhere.

    If you are a pro-life person claiming that all you care about is saving babies, but you’re also supporting any anti-birth control measures, you are a lying hypocrite and trying to engage you in any rational discussion is a massive waste of time. If you’re a pro-life person who is harassing women going into clinics when you don’t know squat about why they are there, you are an asshole, and you are not worth talking to either. Here’s an example:

  16. texan5142 says:

    Malignant fundamentalists, brilliant I say, brilliant.

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