Consider alternatives to funding a false gospel

Professor Thaddeus Williams challenges the notion that Christians cannot care about both supporting women’s health and defunding Planned Parenthood.

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Thaddeus Williams, Writer

I must confess, the recent opinions article entitled “Consider alternatives to defunding Planned Parenthood” left my mind baffled and my heart broken. Intended to educate and help Christians “fully learn the whole issue before jumping on the anti-Planned Parenthood bandwagon,” the article presents America’s largest abortion provider as an “essential,” “mammogram-providing” “advocate for women’s health,” with abortion as “only 3 percent” of its services, which have been unjustly “discredited” by “heavily edited” “fraud videos.”

A FACT-CHECK

This article has done a superb job of rehearsing Planned Parenthood’s talking points for us. Yet in interests of moving the conversation forward, a fact-check is in order:

A third-party digital forensics firm corroborated the authenticity of the videos exposing PP’s abortion practices, unlike the firm PP itself hired that, predictably, ruled them fraudulent. Not only has Planned Parenthood’s 3 percent claim has been proven a fiction, Planned Parenthood — by its president’s own admission — does not provide mammograms. Moreover, women’s health clinics with full range services including mammograms outnumber PP centers by a ratio of 20:1, and could easily absorb PP’s clientele.

The article also pushes us into an ultimatum in which we must either defund PP or care about women’s health. But it is not a simple Either-Or. It can be a beautiful Both-And. As policy analyst Sarah Torre puts it, we could “put the funds to more effective use by redirecting them to the thousands of health centers across the country that provide women’s health care that is not entangled with abortion or questionable handling of baby body parts.”

But here is what I find most heart-breaking about this piece — an attempt to help us “fully learn the whole issue” makes no mention of millions of defenseless lives terminated by PP. Nor does it mention the many women who have courageously told their stories of being chewed up and spit out by an exploitative abortion industry. I am all for students voicing their opinions, particularly when they honestly question the status quo. But when an article claiming to help Christians see “the whole issue” completely leaves out the voice of PP’s many victims, without even a shrug much less sympathy for their plight, it causes readers to question who’s really doing the “heavy editing.”

WE ARE UNBLEMISHED

I close with this reflection: Ezekiel 16 tells a moving story of an unwanted baby left to die. God showed up and said, “When I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood “Live!” In his letter to Ephesus, Paul draws from this imagery when he says that God calls us “unblemished.”

Ephesus, like many Roman cities, had human dumps just outside the city, a place to throw away those deemed worthless and unwanted — most often, babies. Society had a name for those it judged unworthy of life — the “blemished.” But God calls them “unblemished!” Paul offers us a vivid picture of the Gospel in which we who were society’s unwanted, vulnerable, and left-to-die have become God’s wanted, protected, living treasures.

ENGAGING THE WHOLE ISSUE

The early church lived out this good news, subverting the bad news of a culture that said some lives were worth living and others were not. Our ancient brothers and sisters defended the rights of the exploited and vulnerable, and called them “unblemished,” because that’s exactly what God did for them. As Christians we have yet to engage “the whole issue” if we do not bring the Gospel of life to bear against the essential premise upon which Planned Parenthood’s billion-dollar empire has been built, the deception that some human lives are worth living and others are not.

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