I once swore to myself I’d never write about abortion because it is such a politically charged issue, but here I go, violating that rule. Please bear with me…this article isn’t really about abortion, but more about those political issues that divide us and how our elected representatives choose their sides on such issues.
Before I begin, though, let me be clear about something: National Underwriter Life & Health does not have an official position on abortion, nor is this editorial meant to be construed as such. It is, however, meant to be an official position on the state of our governance, which I am sad to say is in sorry shape indeed, regardless of party or policy. That this article touches on abortion is merely the result of there being a lot of political opportunism regarding abortion lately. Disclaimer over.
A few days ago, Representative John Fleming (R-La.), an outspoken critic of abortion, posted a link on his Facebook page to what he thought was a legitimate news story about how Planned Parenthood was planning to build an $8 billion “abortionplex” that would allow women to abort with unprecedented speed, luxury and convenience. Fleming added a little editorial on top of it: “More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale.”
The problem, of course, is that Fleming didn’t link to a legit news piece, it was a satirical article from the Onion, itself a satirical newspaper that has been around for a long time. (You can even get print copies for free in plenty of big cities.) Moreover, the article itself was more than a year old, which makes Fleming look like twice the rube for linking to it. Surely, had such a sprawling abortionplex been built, it would have been on the news more than once, right?
Fleming soon deleted the post once he (or more likely, his staff) realized he had goofed, but by then the horse had left the barn. The website Literally Impossible got a screen capture of it, and the image has since gone viral. But more than that, the story of the goof was picked up by sites such as the Huffington Post and Politico, and soon afterward, became grist for many other mainstream news outfits, including the Atlantic, the Hill, CBS News, and even local Fox affiliates.
Alas, we cannot really be all that surprised by Fleming’s comment. Lest we forget, at the time he posted the link, there was a fairly substantial public relations dust-up over the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to wthdraw its funding for free breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood performs abortions. This, amid Komen’s long-standing relationship with Planned Parenthood. The resulting social media furor was perhaps a lot more than the top leadership at Komen figured on, and in the end, Planned Parenthood raised well more than the $650,000 Komen normally would have provided in private donations. Meanwhile, the controversy has claimed the head of Karen Handel, a Komen VP who announced her resignation earlier today. Handel, who opposes abortion personally, was behind the decision for Komen to quit funding Planned Parenthood.