Response to Planned Parenthood letter to the editor

By The Beacon | December 8, 2015 9:54am

Dear Beacon Editorial Board,

Thank you for addressing the recent controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood in both your editorial opinion section and Fr. Wasowski’s critique of that editorial.

As a professor of history for over 20 years at a public institution, I cherish the openness of academic and public dialogue on critical issues at the heart of American society. I was particularly impressed with your editorial’s thoroughness as I was with Fr. Wasowski’s civility in his response. Oftentimes these discussions can crumble into highly charged rhetoric and the spouting of misinformation. So, Fr. Wasowski’s calm and civil response is to be applauded.

Unfortunately, his criticisms of the “one fact’” about your editorial has errors of its own. Fr. Wasowski suggests that the editing of the videos was for length and not tone and that Planned Parenthood admitted such. This is, on the surface, true. But the editing of length has explicit implications on “tone” and understanding. By eliminating significant sections, the Center for Medical Progress altered the context, meaning, and tone of the videos. In doing so, it produced a story that was inaccurate and misleading. It should also be noted that the CMP conducted the videos, edited them and distributed them with an intention and desire that preceded the actual results. That’s not good evidence gathering.

Secondly, Fr. Wasowski noted the organization’s practice of “selling organs and body parts of aborted babies” without noting that this was and is peripheral to the process. Planned Parenthood does not and has not sought potential mothers for abortion for profit. Instead, it has been the unfortunate benefit accorded as part of that process. Much like the Cleveland Clinic benefits from the removal of my cancerous tumors but has never encouraged my tumor removal for those benefits.

Lastly, Fr. Wasowski alleges that a substantial portion of Planned Parenthood’s budget comes from abortion revenue. This is not true and to suggest otherwise is deliberately deceitful and only fosters extremism among certain individuals. The bulk of revenue comes from the other health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. It is for this reason that the recent assault upon women’s health programs is so egregious, misinformed and wrong.

As Fr. Wasowski suggests, “If you are considering abortion, please choose life for your child.” But also remember —  it is YOUR choice and pray that those who suggest otherwise are not only pro-birth, but pro-life, pro-growth, pro-education, pro-opportunity, pro-civility, pro-fairness and pro-humanity. If you are unsure what all that means or need help wrestling with these life decisions, ask a wide array of professionals before committing either way.

—Dr. Joseph Laythe, Professor of History, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.


Editor’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. Joseph Laythe is the father of Lydia Laythe, The Beacon Opinion Section editor.