On Thursday I realized I had forgotten my lunch at work, so I set out into the wild streets of Philadelphia to find the nearest Five Guys and, thus, my salvation from hunger.
I passed a man less than a block from my office who asked me if I had a moment to help out Planned Parenthood. My initial response—largely caused by being harassed by ACLU canvassers for the last few months—was to say “No, thank you” and walk away.
I got a few paces more down the sidewalk and stopped, wondering why I had turned him down carte blanche. He wasn’t an obnoxious ACLU canvasser, and I had no idea what he was actually going to ask me for, so I had no real reason to turn him down. So I went back.
“What about Planned Parenthood?” I asked, not bothering to hide the reservations in my voice. I was ready to hear about a ballot initiative or a petition that would secure state funding for the women’s health organization. I was prepared to defend myself, like I have to do every time this question comes up.
You see, it’s not that I don’t care about Planned Parenthood. I do. Being a libertarian doesn’t make me think that Planned Parenthood is an “abortion factory” or that it is somehow immoral. These are not the grounds upon which I oppose funding to Planned Parenthood. I oppose state funding because I care about the organization, its services, and its future.
Part of the reason why Planned Parenthood is subject its the ups and downs that it is is because of state funding. Aside from the legality of abortion generally, Planned Parenthood would not be under as much scrutiny by Congress as it is now if it didn’t receive funding. They would have no hold on them! How hollow would the cries of social conservatives be to “defund Planned Parenthood” if in fact Planned Parenthood was independent and called its own shots? Hollow indeed, my friends.
And this does not necessarily mean that Planned Parenthood would go under or even have to scale back. True, about a third of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from the state, but that doesn’t mean that it could not make up those funds by other means. The canvasser on the street told me that they were stepping up their fundraising efforts in order to get off of state funding.
Imagine if you took all of the people who cared about women’s health, so much that they took time to protest or lobby Congress for funding, and all of those people gave at least $25 to Planned Parenthood. Or, for those who couldn’t pay, to volunteer for the organization. It would be better, too, if you got some kind of tax deduction for your time or money.
Actually, that’s how Planned Parenthood works. They’re a non-profit. That means if you care enough about women’s health, you could help Planned Parenthood out instead of asking other people to pay it for you. It is, all-in-all, a win-win. You get to care about women’s health and further that value because it’s important to you, and Planned Parenthood maintains its autonomy, kicking politics out of women’s health so that women who need health services can get them.
See how easy that was? It’s time that we cared enough about issues to put our money and time where our mouths are and not just ask other people to pay for it.