Defend Family Planning, Again

The Sunday Star Times (see 1 Feb update at the end of this post) has a piece today on Right to Life’s attack on Family Planning’s charitable status, something I blogged about a couple of weeks ago over at The Hand Mirror in a post titled  Defend Family Planning. It’s good to see some serious reporting of the constant attacks being lobbed at organisations like Family Planning LogoFamily Planning, doctors, screening programmes, etc. etc. by Ken Orr et al., and the SST’s Marika Hill has been doing some great work on that score. Which of course means that Ken has probably already written and posted a complaint to the newspaper with a Press Council follow-up waiting in the wings. Orr is one of the most prolific letter-to-the-ed writers, OIA requesters, complaint writers in the country. Nary a news report touching on reproductive health care goes by without it sparking a bit of outrage. And some of the outbursts would be mostly entertaining, as I wrote in the “Defend FP” post were it not for the chilling effect this has on orgs like FP. Which is just what Family Planning’s Chief Executive Jackie Edmond said in that SST article:

“The biggest concern for me is it makes people nervous to address the real issues because a small number of people are very vocal,” Edmond said. “It makes government officials nervous about moving positively forward on things like abortion law reform.”

Exactly!

The campaign to defund Family Planning, which started here in around 2010, never really took off like its Defund Planned Parenthood counterpart in the U.S., but FP’s recent tentative  yet welcome comments about the need for abortion law reform  have renewed at least Right to Life’s enthusiasm for another go.

I doubt it will fly for lots of reasons including that FP doesn’t perform any abortions (unlike Planned Parenthood), though does act as a point of contact and referral organisation. The antis are funny about funding abortion. On one hand, they are outraged that taxpayers money is spent on abortion (here, of course, abortion is largely taxpayer funded, unlike in the U.S.) and on the other, they are horrified if the private sector gets involved, because then that’s profiting from abortion.

The charitable status attack won’t fly either because, let’s face it, FP has hardly been indulging in scads of advocacy around law reform. And no doubt for precisely the reason that it attracts this kind of spluttering from the anti-abortion people. As Red Queen pointed out, if they go after FP, we should go after all Family First, Family  Life International NZ, etc., also charities, who are campaigning like mad against actual proposed legislation (as opposed to a not actual bill to decriminalise abortion). As ALRANZ’s Morgan Healey pointed out, this just gets tiresome.

**UPDATE 1 Feb 2012. The tut-tutting and faux outrage that came piling down on SST journalist Marika Hill’s head after her story appeared begged for another wee bit of blogging, which I did over at THM under the heading “‘Truth’ In the Abortion Debate” — as in, there really isn’t much when it comes to how anti-abortionists are covered in the media, but they scream like mad if anyone, like Hill, gets close.

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