This week the Planned Parenthood Federation of America held a nationwide "Day of Action" to push passage of local and federal laws giving poor women access to family planning services. Every moderate with a stake in the abortion debate agrees that pregnancy prevention is preferable to unwanted pregnancies. Only zealots oppose family planning. But by outdoing the zealots with their semipornographic language describing the virgin birth, the newsmaking John Edwards bloggers discounted their credibility on this and a host of other issues. The media gave Planned Parenthood's move scant coverage, because the fireworks caused by the Edwards campaign bloggers dominated the news cycle.
A second issue that deserves more attention is federal and state funding for so-called crisis pregnancy centers. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a report last summer showing that "federally funded pregnancy resource centers often mislead pregnant teens about the medical risks of abortion, telling investigators who posed as pregnant 17-year-olds that abortion leads to breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness. Eighty-seven percent of the centers reached by investigators provided false or misleading information about abortion. Under the Bush administration, pregnancy resource centers, which are also called 'crisis pregnancy centers,' have received over $30 million in federal funding."
Bloggers may call me a prude and accuse me of ostrich-like behavior for being offended by vulgarity. But "none are so blind as those who will not see" that if given more exposure, taxpayers might revolt against their money going to support so-called crisis pregnancy centers. And the Edwards bloggers did nothing but detract from the seriousness of grievances wrought by religious zealots.
Passion in political debate is good. Vulgarity and extremism are not. Let's hope someone took note.