Friday, January 15, 2010

Competition For Limbaugh In The Disinformation Business

There is seemingly no limit to the right's enthusiasm for making political hay out of the extraordinary natural disaster in Haiti.

Pat Robertson blames it on "a pact with the devil" he believes Haitian slaves made 200 years ago. Rush Limbaugh, unable to connect the earthquake with Nancy Pelosi, naturally blamed Barack Obama on Wednesday, claiming “Everything this president sees is a political opportunity, including Haiti, and he will use it to burnish his credentials with minorities in this country and around the world, and to accuse Republicans of having no compassion.” The next day he was at it again, stating "If I said it, I meant to say it."

But Rush did not stop with Obama. On Friday, he blustered:

Get this. "Following the earthquake in Haiti, millions of people are dealing with death, a lack of food and water, shelter, and basic medical care. Planned Parenthood, sending a good time for a fundraising opportunity, is asking for donations for its local affiliate to promote birth control and condoms." Planned Parenthood is asking for money to help it pass out condoms and birth control to children who are simply looking for a bite to eat and medical care for injuries that they and their families sustained in the earthquake. I wonder, ladies and gentlemen, if Martha Coakley would tell Catholics to not be part of the triage units down in Haiti. And yes, I meant to say it.

Barack Obama, Martha Coakley, Planned Parenthood, they're all to blame. Limbaugh continually attacks Obama; Coakley is in a tight race with Republican Scott Brown in the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts; but what about "Planned Parenthood?"

Apparently he got it from the an article on the website of lifenews.com, which, referring to Planned Parenthood's Facebook page, in which Steven Ertelt claims

The international Planned Parenthood arm is accepting donations for PROFAMIL, a locally based Haitian organization," the abortion business says. "Fully 100% of donations will go directly to PROFAMIL’s operations."

At the International Planned Parenthood secure giving web page, the abortion giant says PROFAMIL has been operating in Haiti since 1984 to provide "sexual and reproductive healthcare."

The group "educates the public about prevention and ensures widespread access to condoms" to "young people aged 10-25" with "regular condom demonstrations."

In other words, Planned Parenthood is asking for money to help it pass out condoms and birth control to children who are looking for their next meal and medical care for injuries they and their family sustained in the earthquake.


Well, not really. The page from the website of Planned Parenthood International which pertains to Haiti explains:

100% of donations collected will go directly to PROFAMIL's operations, so they can get their clinics and mobile health units up and working as soon as possible.

Since 1984 PROFAMIL has provided low-cost, quality sexual and reproductive healthcare. As a leader in the field, PROFAMIL meets regularly with the Minister of Health to develop strategies for increasing access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Programs that Profamil offers include:

* Sexual & Reproductive Health Services: PROFAMIL clinics provide family planning, early detection of breast and cervical cancers, high-quality sexual and reproductive health clinical services for men and women, and pre-and-post natal services.

* Mobile Health Clinics: PROFAMIL brings health providers directly to the rural communities where the people are totally isolated. Approximately 200 men, women and children are provided with basic health care services at each visit.

* HIV/AIDS Prevention: PROFAMIL conducts voluntary testing and counseling for HIV/AIDS, educates the public about prevention and ensures widespread access to condoms.

* PROFAMIL Youth Program: PROFAMIL provides youth-friendly clinical and educational services to young people aged 10-25.

* Health Education: PROFAMIL covers issues such as promoting family planning and presenting various methods; cervical cancer and the need for routine pap smears; relationships; gender issues; domestic violence; HIV/AIDS prevention with regular condom demonstrations. In 2006, PROFAMIL educated over 225,000 people.


In its operations in Haiti, PROFAMIL apparently promotes education in family planning, domestic violence, and the need for preventive health care and is asking for donations for clinics and mobile health units. But the euphemistically-titled "Life News" sees none of that; instead, it quotes the phrases referring to condoms and disingenously- no, dishonestly- concludes

In other words, Planned Parenthood is asking for money to help it pass out condoms and birth control to children who are looking for their next meal and medical care for injuries they and their family sustained in the earthquake.

Well, no. The IPPF is looking for money to provide basic health services, generally unavailable in a natural disaster such as this one. It could, of course, appeal to the emotions of individuals and collect money for unspecified purposes like many other organizations, but apparently it's not their style. Meanwhile, it is the target of invective by a publication obsessed with its political agenda and anxious to distort the motives of its ideological foe. And to do so, conveniently, by reverting from use of International Planned Parenthood Federation to "Planned Parenthood," a devil in the eyes of extreme anti-choice advocates.

It's fine to be obsessed with one particular issue, as Life News apparently is. It is not fine, however, then to condemn another organization which is raising funds in its particular field of interest, reproductive health. (And, to a lesser extent, to promote other healthful behavior.)

It is telling that Ertelt provides only one link, to another article he wrote, which itself provides no links. Opinion is splendid; but cheap manipulation ought at least to be accompanied by a modicum of truth. Otherwise it is mere fodder for propagandists like Rush Limbaugh.

1 comment:

Greg said...

It looks like Planned Parenthood took any reference to Haiti off of it's facebook page. I'm hoping it's not in response to Rush's attacks.

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