By: Griff Bludworth
Republicans hate when people take them seriously. On a national level, we as an electorate propel Donald Trump to the front and center and the candidates running to represent us in the Presidential race cannot even comport themselves with enough grace to walk one after the other onto a debate stage. Surely the GOP could not possibly be this laughably, satirically incompetent, unless they had set out a detailed program in order to assure they rank somewhere in between party clowns and resumes written in comic sans on the spectrum of things not to be taken seriously.
At the state level, the Ohio Republican Party decided to beat one of the party’s favorite proverbial, deceased equestrian animals and attempted to remove funding from Planned Parenthood.
Do not get me wrong, I understand the Ohio Republican Party’s concerns on some level: Planned Parenthood is, philosophically, a strange thing for the government to be funding. The argument between the ideological role of government and the practical need to aid in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and ensure the health of the children that are conceived is a complex one which cannot be easily pushed aside from either perspective. Unwanted or unhealthy children are a fiscal drag on the state, probably more than Planned Parenthood itself, but reproductive responsibility is, in my mind, a personal and not a state matter.
The Republican Party’s solution to this moral dilemma, however, is to ignore it and complain that abortion is against their collective, undefinable, nondenominational Christian faith. And then they confuse Planned Parenthood with Jason Voorhees or Sweeney Todd, babbling about how they sell baby bits for a bit of side funding.
At the end of January, the Ohio State Senate passed a bill to strip crucial funds for women’s health services from any abortion-providing institution, which includes Planned Parenthood. Much of the public support for this bill was fostered by pro-life advocates arguing from the now debunked video which seemed to show a Planned Parenthood clinic selling harvested fetal tissue.
A grand jury in Texas just recently rejected a case based on this charge, and Attorney General Mike Dewine had previously concluded specifically that no Ohio clinics sold fetal tissue. But now Dewine, hot on the heels of the Texas Grand Jury ruling and at a convenient time for proponents of the defunding of Ohio’s Planned Parenthood clinics, claims that Planned Parenthood gives their fetal remains to a waste provider who disposes of such waste in landfills, an admittedly disturbing picture.
However, that this should come up now is queer. The state prison system, in addition to Planned Parenthood, goes through the same waste disposal company, so it is odd that they had not discovered this outside of Planned Parenthood. Further, given the timing of Dewine’s statement (about eight days after the bill discussed above cleared the senate) smells like a grab for public support.
I am a registered Republican because I think political structures must acknowledge the hard reality of what it takes to maintain a system of efficiency and autonomy within a society. I think that, when it is explained properly, this mindset is not a foreign one for even many young voters. Yet such an explanation would only come from a party which wished to present itself as a party of rational adults rather than as children or half-wit cave-people still babbling about what happened when we struck flint on tinder.
The GOP can’t make such forced, vilifying arguments for its agenda if they hope to affect real change. Drop the “abortion is evil; Planned Parenthood performs abortions; ergo Planned Parenthood is a dastardly villain,” syllogism and discuss real issues, raise support based on real facts and make a real difference.
The relative insignificance of the cost of Planned Parenthood in Ohio makes me inclined to advocate on its behalf. Whether or not I believe that the state should be funding such programs is of no consequence, really, when such a small amount of money stands to be regained for the state by the current Ohio Senate Bill and such a large amount of public ridicule comes from the Republican Party’s further insistence on any Planned Parenthood issue.
Drop it, GOP, and come back to whether or not you want to fund it (based on real, fiscal and philosophical arguments) in a few years. Maybe you will have grown up by then.