If only we treated women’s health like industrial agriculture. The latest attack on Planned Parenthood came in the form of an edited video, secretly taped, claiming to “expose” the practice of selling “baby parts.” But if Planned Parenthood had been a factory farm, that video wouldn't have happened, because that video would have been illegal to make!
Since that video, Iowa governor Terry Branstad, like the internet, has been shocked! Outraged! He joined the “Truth Exposed” rally and called for a review into Planned Parenthood. Though no federal or state money goes to abortions, Branstad wanted to look into all money going to Planned Parenthood because he wants “to protect the interest of the taxpayers.”
Ironically, Branstad applauds an undercover video from a state that was an early “Ag Gag” law adopter, a law that essentially prevents videotaping industrial agriculture facilities in America. Violators could be charged with a Class D Felony, “Animal Facility Interference.”
The bill makes sense to guys like Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill who said that, “I think it’s malicious when [activists] show up intent on putting you out of business.”
Oh the humanity! Individuals who don't like your organization maliciously maligning your organization? In America of all places?!? Something must be done!
And in Iowa, industrial agriculture is not to be fucked with, so we did something. In 2012, the Ag Gag law, HF-589, sailed through both houses in only a few hours (40-10 in the Senate, 69-28 in the House) before being signed by Governor Terry Branstad.
Planned Parenthood is a different story. They aren’t a job-creator with lobbying power. PP’s national budget is $1 billion. The pork industry in Iowa alone is worth over $5 billion. A cash-strapped organization that provides legal health-care that some people don't like, and provide it to, often, low income women is the perfect organization to fuck with!
Planned Parenthood has been under assault from individuals, organizations, and government for decades. This steady onslaught has highlighted one big difference between Planned Parenthood and industrial agriculture: secret videos about Planned Parenthood "expose" what is legal.
Several states, including non-liberal-hotbeds like Indiana and South Dakota, have already investigated Planned Parenthood and cleared them of any wrongdoing.
The group that made the video, the Center for Medical Progress, and claimed that it proved Planned Parenthood was “selling baby parts” is now being looked into for fraud. The Center for Medical Progress, which is really only 3 men, managed to get tax-exempt status in 2013 as a “biomedicine charity,” although they have done nothing except try and entrap Planned Parenthood through a fake fetal-tissue company called Biomax. They have rented space at trade shows, offered to over-pay Planned Parenthood for fetal tissues (which is against Federal Law), yet in almost 3 years, The Center for Medical Progress has come up with nothing except an edited video. The full length version of the video actually supports what Planned Parenthood says about the legality of its practices.
By contrast, Ag Gag law’s were created in the aftermath of illegal activities being exposed. Back in 2012, an undercover video in a California meat plant showed forklifts forcing sick “downer” cows into slaughter for meat bound for the Nation School Lunch program.
That video triggered the largest USDA meat recall in US history.
That video also triggered Iowa’s Ag Gag law. The last thing industrial agriculture wants is to be exposed. Exposure, for them, can be bad for business!
And who gives a shit if the practices now going un-exposed end up being bad for consumers?
With Ag Gag laws, the wheels of justice turn against anyone who crosses industrial agriculture. In Utah, charges have twice been brought against activists who filmed industrial ag operations from a public road. Though on public property, those with cameras were arrested and charged with “agricultural operation interference.”
Charges are dropped, but intimidation remains.
Planned Parenthood doesn’t have that kind of muscle behind it. Employees and patients are routinely harassed, and even people who support a woman's right to chose are often afraid of standing up in support of those rights.
At RAYGUN, we support Planned Parenthood and have for years. They provide affordable, legal healthcare, and often to a segment of the population that is most deserving of that healthcare. A portion of the sales from the shirt below supports Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. If you don’t want to shop with us any more because of that support, that is your decision (and plenty of people have!), but we support options for women’s health, always will, and will always stand with organizations who support our society's most in need.