by Reid Fitzsimons
Note: The following appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Times-Leader newspaper on Sep 17, 2015 with the title "Sen. Bob Casey Parrots Planned Parenthood's Dubious Statistics." Below that (“Follow-up”) reflects a discussion subsequent to when the letter was written (early August 2015) with one of Sen. Casey’s policy staffers in his Washington office on Sept. 10, 2015.
A majority in the US Senate recently voted to terminate Federal funding of Planned Parenthood (PP), but a “supermajority” was not obtained, hence the motion failed. Among those voting in support of the half billion dollar plus subsidy of PP was Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. Those who follow such things know that Sen. Casey frequently declares himself to be “pro-life,” but of course he is not- his obsequiousness when it comes to the severe progressive liberalism of Barak Obama disallows whatever independent thought he might possess. Perhaps claiming to be “pro-life” buys him few votes or, less cynically, it helps assuage a sense of inadequacy in his inability to live up to his father’s moral standard.
Nevertheless, on the day of the Senate vote I called up two of his state offices (the DC number offered only an affable recording of the Senator himself) to confirm his support of the organization that directly provides a plurality of abortions in the US. This was indeed confirmed. In going a little deeper I mentioned the inconsistency of someone stating himself to be “pro-life” supporting the definitive pro-abortion organization and was told PP provides women’s health and cancer screenings, the staff person repeating familiar claims as if they were reading from a script. In fact one young intern told me that’s exactly what she told to do. One of these claims is that PP provides mammograms. This is consistently refuted, i.e. PP doesn’t actually provide mammograms at any of its locations. I pointed this out to the constituent service person and office manger at the Harrisburg office and suggested the Senator probably shouldn’t base his vote on a misconception. I asked if they could name a single PP facility that provided mammograms and was told I was free to do a Google search. I asked the source of their information and was informed it was PP.
Otherwise I was assured that only 3% of PP’s activities are abortions. This is a statistic well familiar to anyone that follows this issue and is quite disingenuous to say the least. As with the mammogram claim it comes from PP as the wholesaler and, for Pennsylvania, Senator Casey as the retailer. Apparently the Senator is well mollified by the only 3% concept, and wonder if he would as readily support a bill that mandated only a 3% reduction in Social Security benefits, for example.
While shocked is too strong of a word, I was taken aback when directly told that the information our Senator used in determining the funding vote was obtained from the beneficiary of the funding. This is similar to some wayward 17 year-old begging $20 from his father. When asked for what the son replies to give a donation to the homeless shelter but in actuality it’s to buy dope. This exchange repeats itself and the father even suspects the reality, but is either too apathetic or too cowardly to force a confrontation. I wonder which is the case with Bob Casey.
Bob Casey is a senator from Pennsylvania, one of those Democrats who is a wink and a nod Pro-Lifer; he actually wrote an article entitled “Pro-Life, Pro-Planned Parenthood.” Regrettably we share the same state. Early last month when the Senate was once again toying with defunding Planned Parenthood (PP) I made several attempts to contact his offices, finally finding success in his Harrisburg and Scranton locations. I quickly ascertained he fully supported continued funding of PP and when I pointed out this might be viewed as inconsistent with his ostensible Pro-Life views, was told PP provides woman’s health care, which includes mammography. I asked the source of their information and was told without hesitation they received talking points from PP, which they were instructed to read to callers like me. I mentioned to each of the four people I talked with (two young interns, two professional staffers) that I believed PP did not provide mammography and this seemed to befuddle them, especially the interns. The highest person I was passed up to stated she was the office manager (this being the Harrisburg office) and, when I asked if she could specifically name PP locations that provided mammography, was told I could “Google it.” If I wanted further discussion I could contact a legislative staffer in the DC office.
This took several weeks of waiting for promised callbacks, but yesterday Doug H. contacted me. After a brief description of the reason for my concern he told me no one told me that PP provided mammograms. Upon insisting they in fact did, he told me, “They were not supposed to say that,” conceding that PP only performed clinical breast exams. Doug H. told me he was one of the staffers entrusted to keep the Senator apprised on this issue, so I was surprised when he said he had “no idea” when I asked if he knew how many abortions PP directly performed.
So often the choice comes down to this: is any given politician ignorant or dishonest, or perhaps both. For a fairly thoughtful article on the recent revelations of the rather barbaric practices of PP please visit http://conservativeproletariat.com/?p=262