In responding (as I was asked to) to Steven Waldman's posting on Beliefnet.com it is easy to know where to start. It would be at the original title, "Why Pro-lifers Hate Family Planning," which can be described mildly as inflammatory. It has since been changed to "Why Many Pro-lifers Oppose Family Planning," which, at best, is less rabble-rousing. Taken with the rest of the post one could easily draw the conclusion that supporting family planning can only be defined as supporting taxpayer funding of condoms. But what of abstinence? Or natural family planning? While many religions are opposed to condoms, there are a few who are not, however still religious organizations are pretty active on family planning - be it pregnancy care centers, churches with abstinence and pre-marital and marital counseling, abstinence programs, etc. Most religious conservatives, in my opinion, are more unified in opposing federal involvement. With sheckles come shackles.

The rest of the post does seem to try to draw a balance, though I do disagree with the premise "that there is evidence that government financed family planning does reduce abortions" - which seems to have at its base a quote from Planned Parenthood's research arm, the Guttmacher Institute. However Guttmacher's own numbers seem to dispute their quote. Many major cities have been seeing an increase of both pregnancy and abortion, despite also having liberal rules and regulations on family planning. Take New York City, which has liberalized sex education and even has its own brand of condom. In New York State 1/3 of the pregnancies result in induced abortion. Additionally the state rate of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age is almost double the national rate. It does not stop there, in New York City, rates for teenage pregnancy far exceed the national averages and the city "remains the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with youths, the poor, and minorities increasingly - and unevenly - affected by the disease."

Finally Mr. Waldman points out that Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest promoter of abortion, "also provides prenatal care that prevents infant death and birth control that stops unintended pregnancies." While how much of this counseling and care is actually done by Planned Parenthood is disputed, what of the other groups that do not promote abortion, like pregnancy care centers, that because of their opposition to abortion, do not accept federal funds under the Title X program that distributes them? These pro-life pregnancy care centers, if they accepted Title X funds, would be forced by the federal government to include referring for abortions as part of their pre-natal care - thanks to a regulation passed by President Clinton and never rescinded by President George W. Bush. Additionally pregnancy care centers, unlike Planned Parenthood, do not spend tens of millions of dollars to elect pro-abortion politicians or overturn popular incremental pro-life laws like parental consent.

How much more could these pregnancy care centers do if they received the millions in subsidies that U.S. taxpayers are currently giving to Planned Parenthood? The question isn't why do pro-lifers hate family planning but more why does Planned Parenthood hate family planning that creates families?