NRL News

Caricaturing the reasons why Planned Parenthood is so controversial

by | Nov 2, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

Lisa Rosenbaum, M.D., is described as “a national correspondent for the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a cardiologist and an instructor in the Department of Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.” Her latest contribution to the prestigious NEJM was published yesterday under the headline, “Understanding the Planned Parenthood Divide — Albert Lasker and Women’s Health.”

You can read Dr. Rosenbaum’s piece in its entirety here, so let me tack on just a couple of observations.

There’s a lot of preliminary filler but that is only to offer “proof” that opponents of Planned Parenthood are daft. Here are three of many points worth considering.

#1. Before he turned his focus to philanthropy, “Albert Lasker, considered the father of modern advertising,’ transformed product marketing from an endeavor based on the simple presentation of facts to one finely tuned to consumer psychology, particularly as it pertained to women.”

That’s the beginning. Let’s go to the middle and then the end.

Middle: Opposition to Planned Parenthood is by definition a battle of “belief versus science,” we’re told. Her essay is replete with snide remarks about us dummies and then

End: out of the blue (calling on Lasker’s advertising wisdom) she ignores everything that preceded this head-scratcher of a conclusion:

The Lasker Foundation honors and sustains outstanding contributions to human health, but to extend the benefits of these advances to as many people as possible, we may have to begin to approach the conflict between science and belief  with curiosity rather than disdain.  Perhaps a future Lasker award will be granted to those who teach us, as a society, to move beyond seeking confirmation of what we already believe toward better understanding what we don’t.

It is only to state the obvious that if you read the first 90% of her essay, using her own criteria, clearly Dr. Rosenbaum is not going to be the recipient of a future Lasker award. You wonder if these people have editors or the groupthink is so all-encompassing they can’t see how dismissive, how condescending her entire 1,364-word-long essay actually is.

#2. Dr. Rosenbaum tells us

Although religious and philosophical objections to abortion apparently inform the enduring animus toward Planned Parenthood, the organization does far more than provide safe and affordable abortions.

(I love the “apparently.”)

No one has ever said PPFA only provides abortion. What we have said–using PPFA’s own annual reports–is that abortion is a cash cow for this $1.3 billion “non-profit.” PPFA is consolidating like made, largely by vacuuming up affiliates that don’t perform abortions–or not enough abortions.

Moreover, while PPFA maintains its market share in a (thankfully) shrinking pool of abortions, it continues to cut back on the “women-helping” services it is forever touting. For example, take the total number of cancer screening and prevention services, manual breast exams (PPFA doesn’t do mammograms), and pap tests. Data from its latest annual report, show they all experienced a huge drop–nearly 50% from 2012!

And consider this sobering reminder: 2015-2016 appears to mark the first year at PPFA that the number of abortions – 328,348 – exceeded the number of breast exams it performed – 321,700. That is both substantively and symbolically of enormous importance. And then

#3. Which, on second thought, is an elaboration of #1. Dr. Rosenbaum writes

If no one opposes providing health care to women, why does Planned Parenthood remain such a polarizing force in American society? Religion? Misogyny? Fake news? Though the role of any one factor in shaping public perception is unclear, the bitter partisanship surrounding contraception seems to reflect, more broadly, the quintessential challenge of our time: the ascendance of belief over fact, outrage over thoughtful debate, and the accessibility of an endless supply of “information” that confirms our preexisting beliefs, whatever they may be.

On what planet does refusing to roll over and have your religious liberty curtailed by an edict from Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services the “ascendance of belief over fact”? Of “fake news”? Of “misogyny”?

I would argue much of Dr. Rosenbaum’s opinion piece, National Correspondent for NEJM or not, is classic “fake news.” And when people, like Dr. Rosenbaum, toss around allegations of hatred of women (misogyny), why couldn’t/shouldn’t people like me counter that her remarks are pitch perfect examples of misandry (hatred of men) and intolerance of (at best), loathing for (at worst) women and men of faith?

My conclusion? “Physician, heal thyself.”

Categories: PPFA