Now, About Planned Parenthood and the Bishops …

February 3, 2012

by Ellen Shaffer and Judy Norsigian

This week, we all learned a lot about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Planned Parenthood, and breast cancer. Now that Komen has caved (sort of; Planned Parenthood’s response), we might start to learn what it will take to mobilize an outcry to really stop the attacks on women’s health.

As Komen was committing a huge PR failure, it became clear via Facebook, Twitter and a new Tumblr site, Planned Parenthood Saved Me, that many women value and rely on Planned Parenthood for breast cancer exams and other preventive health services. A slam-dunk week for Planned Parenthood.

We need to make it a slam-dunk month. What Komen, and the evangelicals, and Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns, who launched the pointless political inquiry, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are really mad at Planned Parenthood about is this:

Part of what they do is help people plan. Parenthood. You know. They support birth control. In some cases, they provide it. Like your corner drugstore, but better.

And this week, the bishops are howling about it because the Obama administration refused to grant a broad religious exemption to contraception coverage.

Never mind that virtually all Catholics use birth control, that the Church itself only began to oppose it in 1968, that the Pope recently conceded that condoms are useful, and approved condom use for stopping the transmission of AIDS.

Never mind that most Catholic-affiliated hospitals, schools and charities cover birth control in their health plans — health plans that come out of the wages employees earn themselves.

Never mind that undergraduate and graduate students are fighting for coverage — and are still being denied, even for medical reasons.

Close to every cent the Church has not spent settling lawsuits against priests who sexually molested children has gone into this week’s media campaign to rile up opposition to covering birth control.

So far they’re doing a pretty effective job of it. The Obama administration is standing firm, but Congress is still on the warpath.

You can send a message that you stand against attacks on birth control and with Planned Parenthood. The organization just launched a TV ad campaign in support of contraception coverage (watch below).

And learn more about the men behind the war on women. They’re not going away anytime soon.

Ellen Shaffer is co-director of the Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, a project of the Center for Policy Analysis. Judy Norsigian is co-founder and executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves.

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