Is Planned Parenthood the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider OR a gang of savages stampeding through the country with baby heads on spikes? This week, anti-abortion advocates are eager to convince us of the latter by claiming that the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates supports infanticide. Talk about a straw fetus argument! (It's like a straw man argument, but even less viable. HEYO.)
Last week, the Florida House of Representatives held a hearing on HB 1129, also known as the "Infants Born Alive" bill, which would provide legal protection for infants who "survive" an abortion procedure. Given that Florida doesn't allow abortions to be performed after 24 weeks, which is when most doctors define the age of viability, the proposed act is based on a ridiculous hypothetical — and one that's extremely hurtful to the pro-choice cause, since it perpetuates the concept that abortion providers are butcher-like murderers instead of medical practitioners. We don't need it.
But when Rep. Jim Boyd asked Alisa LaPolt Snow, a lobbyist for the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, what Planned Parenthood would "want to have happen to [a] child that is struggling for life" after being born alive in a "botched abortion" situation, she was caught in a catch-22 where she was basically forced to choose between effectively "admitting" that abortion is dangerous for babies or driving home the point that it should always be up to a woman to choose what's best for her. She went with the latter:
"So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I'm almost in disbelief," said Rep. Jim Boyd. "If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?"
"We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician," said Planned Parenthood lobbyist Snow.
Rep. Daniel Davis then asked Snow, "What happens in a situation where a baby is alive, breathing on a table, moving. What do your physicians do at that point?"
"I do not have that information," Snow replied. "I am not a physician, I am not an abortion provider. So I do not have that information."
Conservative outlets subsequently shit all over themselves in excitement scrambling to write op-eds about how Planned Parenthood wants to kill babies for sport. Choice example from The Christian Post: "If a child can be killed in the womb, there are no convincing arguments, either logical or a moral, as to why a child cannot be killed on the table, abandoned in the trash, burned alive in an incinerator or poisoned in the nursery." Logic!
Planned Parenthood released a clarifying statement this week:
Last week, a panel of Florida state legislators demanded speculation about a vague set of extremely unlikely and highly unusual medical circumstances. Medical guidelines and ethics already compel physicians facing life-threatening circumstances to respond, and Planned Parenthood physicians provide high-quality medical care and adhere to the most rigorous professional standards, including providing emergency care. In the extremely unlikely event that the scenario presented by the panel of legislators should happen, of course Planned Parenthood would provide appropriate care to both the woman and the infant.
The type of "botched abortions" anti-abortion advocates casually refer to as if they happen on the regular are extremely few and far between — and they usually only happen when women don't have access to the exact sort of reproductive health services Planned Parenthood offers. But why talk facts if you can write headlines that employ the phrase "abortion mill murder"?