1. It’s Wednesday, September 30, 2015.

2. Joaquin is now a hurricane, and if you look at its path on the National Weather Service map, it looks as though it’s headed straight for Manhattan. That wouldn’t happen until the weekend, but it would be nice if it didn’t.

3. Since a woman’s right to choose was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1973, it’s been under attack. The campaign has been relentless. From sermons to protests to doctored videos, the effort against a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy has attempted to shame, to badger and to claim the moral high ground.

Here’s the thing: There was a reason that people of all political persuasions thought it was a good idea to lift the restrictions on abortion. They don’t work.

A woman who finds herself pregnant when she doesn’t want to be, whether it be from a consensual sexual encounter or something heinously against her will, will find a way to terminate that pregnancy. If it means risking her life, she’ll do it.

There were lots of abortions before Roe v. Wade, and there would lots of them – possibly even more of them – if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

So when clowns such as the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Committee hold hearings in an effort to shame Planned Parenthood, here are the questions people should ask: What is your alternative? What do you think happens if abortion becomes illegal? How attuned is that to reality? What is your real agenda?

I am highly skeptical that these Republicans have a clue.

4. One thing should be clear. The people ranting and raving about Planned Parenthood aren’t the least bit interested in ending abortion. Because if they did, they would trying to help Planned Parenthood instead of trying to cripple it.

No organization – not the Catholic Church, not any right-wing political group, not any maker of doctored videos – has done more to reduce the number of abortions than Planned Parenthood.

By educating women about their choices for tending to their bodies, they have helped reduce unwanted or dangerous pregnancies, particularly among teenagers.

5. One last thought about abortion. Defending the right to choose isn’t so simple. It isn’t like defending the idea that people should be able to love who they love or do what they want to do in life, because both of those concepts are affirmative.

Abortion is not aspirational; girls don’t grow up dreaming of having one. But it’s sometimes a necessity.

To keep it safe and to minimize its emotional cost has required a draining effort for the past 42 years. If Planned Parenthood and so-called abortion opponents put their heads together to give all women the choices and education they need to prevent unwanted pregnancy, everyone would be a lot happier.


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