Pious Fundamentalists: Far-Right Faction Fights against "Baby-Killers"

Opponents of abortion in the United States want to eliminate the family counseling service Planned Parenthood. For them it is less a matter of law; they believe they have God on their side.

Ralph Lang had envisioned what it would be like to go into an abortion clinic and shoot the doctor in the head. He dreamed of doing God’s work even more thoroughly by lining up everyone in the clinic who is “killing babies” in a row and “mowing them all down.”

The 63-year-old man was arrested on May 26 in a motel, after he accidentally shot through the door. A Planned Parenthood clinic was located only a few kilometers away.

Lang, who had attracted attention again and again on his crusade against the largest chain of clinics for women’s and family counseling for four years, indicated that he only wanted to do what the police were too cowardly to do. Lang is a martyr for many.

To Put a Stop to Planned Parenthood Purposefully with Laws

Others fight with different weapons in the cultural war over the right to terminate pregnancy in the United States, guaranteed nationwide since 1973. Since the election victory of the Republicans in 2010 and driven by the fundamentalist tea party, 18 states have adopted legislation to purposefully put a stop to Planned Parenthood.

It doesn’t matter that the chain of women’s clinics, at more than 800 mostly rural locations, is often the only provider of gynecological care and pregnancy counseling and by no means propagates abortions. Only 3 percent of their services are pregnancy terminations; Planned Parenthood offers 97 percent gynecological care, cancer checkups, counseling in the case of artificial insemination. All that doesn’t count.

For pious Americans and almost all Republicans this is a mission of the devil, and one must — if not kill — starve out, disarm and conquer the devil by subterfuge.

States Cut Reimbursement for Poor Patients

The legislatures of five states — Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin and Texas — have resorted to the ploy of cutting government allowances (for non-profit status) and reimbursement for poor Medicaid patients. The reason: In some of the clinics, abortions were performed, albeit financed privately, not by the state.

Planned Parenthood filed suit in three of these states and was judged in the right: It is not permissible for a state to withdraw funds from a health organization offering a legal service.

Naturally, the three states are going to appeal and are trying in the meantime to make every effort to protract the court ordered payment of funds during the appeal. In the fight against Planned Parenthood, it is more a matter of belief than of law. The opponents of abortion know God is on their side; the “baby killers” are only protected by a few evil human laws. To change these, also at the federal level, is the goal of the coalition Expose Planned Parenthood.

Militant Arm of the Activists

One sees oneself there as (at least verbally) the militant arm of the activists, who should link arms with their representatives in Congress. The group recently produced a covertly filmed video, was supposed to convict Planned Parenthood of “sexual exploitation of minors.” The video showed what were apparently counseling proposals, which advised teenagers against pregnancy.

In Indiana, the state legislature passed a bill that prohibited the state government from having any dealings with organizations that offer abortions. Planned Parenthood has filed a suit; the U.S. Department of Health sees a violation of Medicaid guidelines.

However, such an alliance spurs the shock troop of Expose Planned Parenthood on all the more. Money plays no role. The Republican contenders for the presidency scramble to show the radical basis their hand-to-hand combat medal with Planned Parenthood. Michele Bachmann called the group “corrupt” and an “accessory to the trafficking of underage girls.” Bachmann reaps enthusiastic approval when she announces cuts to Planned Parenthood’s supply of money.

No one in good will deems abortion to be venial, banal, routine. It is always a tragedy; the question is whether the tragedy should solely be suffered by raped, seduced very young, deformity-fearing women.

“Pro-life” and “pro-choice” are in equal measure fighting words: Just as women believe they have no choice other than to abort, so their contemnors have no sole claim to the defense of life. However, precisely these debates are no longer being conducted in the mainstream of the U.S.

The fronts have dug themselves in; the war of attrition costs many millions of dollars, even tax money. Again and again mortal assassination attempts on doctors are perpetrated: Anti-abortion killers kill for life. Planned Parenthood has its supporters and friends among the usual suspects. Liberals, artists, Hollywood stars like Scarlett Johansson and Julianne More lead the list of sympathizers on StandWithPlannedParenthood.org.

Opposite them stand men like Michael Doherty, state senator in New Jersey. At a rally at the end of May, the politician declared loudly and clearly why he was against a $7.5 million subsidy for family planning clinics. “Nobody has any problem trying to have no affiliation with nefarious organizations such as the Nazis or apartheid regimes,” Doherty said. “But somehow, we’re asked to use our tax dollars to support these type of (abortion) organizations.”

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