Mexico City At a distance I had crossed my fingers and hoped that the latest scheming right-wing video-scam on the pimp-prostitute theme that had brought down ACORN in the end, would only scuff up Planned Parenthood, be a one-day wonder in the press cycle, and go its way into the dustbin of history. Writing about this when it first broke, I was afraid it was stage managing for a Congressional defunding assault, given the hardcore opposition by some of the anti-abortion anti-women caucus in Congress, but I was still shocked to read Erik Eckholm, a good reporter on the Times on-line and see how far this assault has managed to move.
Not surprisingly, Cecile Richards, a talented organizer with huge political skills, as head of Planned Parenthood has mounted what seems to be an aggressive counterattack to hold their support in the U.S. Senate, and that’s the job that needs to be done to weather this storm, but it’s not enough, because they should not be left to wage the fight to defend themselves alone. That’s one of the indisputable lessons of the ACORN take down. If the right is allowed to isolate the target of the attack or ghettoize it within its own network and support system, the death knell is already sounding. We need to all be Planned Parenthood and all stand up and stand together in support.
This should not be hard to figure out at this point. If you attack the largest organization of low income families and cripple its service arms, like the ACORN Housing Corporation and the other independent affiliates and corporations within its family on funding denials, then maybe you are able to push them into the abyss. Arguably, Planned Parenthood with a $1.1 Billion budget and $75 M in federal funds to protect low-income women is the legacy of the power of the women’s movement and its largest and deepest service delivery arm for women nationally and in the states. The right is counting on the fact that poor people didn’t have enough political power – or allies – to protect ACORN and they are betting that the women’s movement is also dissipated, diluted, and divided and doesn’t have enough political and grassroots strength to protect Planned Parenthood, especially for services to lower income women.
Given the success of maintaining an unconstitutional bill of attainder against ACORN in the courts thus far, the right is talking with impunity of amending any funding bills to specifically deny federal monies to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. Friends and foes liked to blame ACORN for bringing its own problems on itself in a classic “blaming the victim” maneuver. No organization is perfect, especially not a large organization. Perfection cannot be allowed to be the standard for political life and resource support. Planned Parenthood is not perfect either. Who cares? No one should. If there are mistakes, they will be corrected. We have bad police, but we don’t eliminate police forces. We have bad soldiers, but we don’t disband our armies. We have bad politicians but we don’t abandon democracy, we reform the process, debate in the open, and vote.
There are a million issues desperately grabbing at our attention these days, so Planned Parenthood will have trouble competing for the attention that it deserves, but we have to finally draw the line here and all stand together, men and women with whatever we have and in anyway possible to support Planned Parenthood. This strategy and its tactics have to be stopped!