Planned Parenthood is fighting for its very existence.
Since 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to defund Planned Parenthood in every budget authorization measure.
At least five states have stripped funding for PP, a move that affects hundreds of thousands of women who don't have resources to afford basic health care like annual mammograms, PAP smears and wellness checkups.
Still other states - Arizona, Mississippi and Wisconsin - have enacted harsh new restrictions on clinics, including those requiring doctors to carry expensive insurance policies in order to provide health care and abortions, and new standards for the size of medical exam and operating rooms.
So it was shocking to read a recent op-ed in The New York Times by Campbell Brown, the "No Bias, No Bull" former CNN anchor, criticizing Planned Parenthood for being too partisan in its candidate endorsements.
In the first place, its author is an unlikely choice to write such an opinion. What, after all, has she done or said in the past on the issue of abortion? Or defuding of Planned Parenthood and its clinics? Or reproductive choice? Or, for that matter, the flap over Komen's move earlier this year to deauthorize grants to Planned Parenthood?
It's not that people like Brown can't weigh-in on important social policy issues. But why now? Out of the blue? Why is her opinion on this any more significant than, say, writers who actually report from the front lines of the culture war? And why The New York Times? Did I miss the part where Brown actually gained street cred on women's reproductive rights? Really! Where has she been - in her role as journalist - on the raging debate over abortion and reproductive choice in this country?
There is also - and maybe more importantly - the wide range of options for criticism she had available for her article: the GOP, nationally and in state legislatures, specific GOP leaders in states like Arizona, or Texas, or Michigan, or Mississippi; the Catholic Church. But this was absent in her article.
Honestly, when I read this article, my first thought was, "Nothing like hitting an organization when it's down and fighting like hell for its survival."
Too bad, really, that she punted on a grand opportunity - with her name recognition - to chastise the Catholic Church for its unwillingness to compromise on women's health care, or its unwillingness to compromise on the Affordable Care Act, generally. Or, its pit-bull efforts to muzzle Nuns who publicly disagree with the all-knowing Catholic brotherhood.
Instead of doing the hard, unpopular-but-more-honest-thing by taking on an institution that is so blinded by its anti-abortion and anti-women sentiment and beliefs that it is now willing to bring down health care reform via its Fortnight for Freedom and by its refusal to accept the Obama Administration compromise on contraceptive coverage for religious institutions, Brown took the easy route: swinging at Planned Parenthood for not supporting so-called pro-choice Republicans - one of whom, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine - has called their decision "infuriating".
Brown's article is what's infuriating, particularly because of its one-sidedness.
I'd also call "infuriating" Collins' 'no' vote on Paycheck Fairness (along with every other female GOP senator). Or, GOP women senators' vote to cut SNAP funding. Let's remember that SNAP benefits many of the same women that utilize Planned Parenthood clinics.
And while Collins is generally pro-choice, she hardly stands with women on other important policy matters: she voted against the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act, for example, and the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act of 2011.
And she voted for the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, which would have cut some $60 billion from federal government spending, and for the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which would have devastated funding for safety net programs that many women and children depend on, especially during the harsh economic time we currently face.
So, what's really behind Brown's attack on Planned Parenthood?
Might it have something to do with her own political connections? She's married to Dan Senor, a Mitt Romney senior campaign advisor. The same Mitt Romney who has vowed to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood.
But this fact wasn't disclosed anywhere in the article. Tsk, tsk. Brown could use a refresher in journalistic ethics.
This fact alone makes her concern for Planned Parenthood's "self destructive behavior" suspect.
It's useful in discussions about partisanship to disclose one's own partisan affiliation before throwing stones.
It's also useful to remember that Planned Parenthood did not start the war on women. That distinction belongs to the GOP and the Catholic Church, frequently working hand-in-glove to keep women in our place, belittle, humiliate, shame and silence us in every way possible - using religious freedom as a cudgel to do so. Talk about partisanship!
Where, exactly, is their compromise? Where's their nonpartisanship? Where's their willingness to bend and do the right thing for a majority of this country's citizens? To be less "calcified"?
Perhaps more to the point: Planned Parenthood isn't kneeling in submission. They're fighting back - using perfectly legitimate tools at their disposal - exactly like the Catholic Church is doing.