Y'all, just because Attorney General Greg Abbott's lawyers happened to directly compare Planned Parenthood and terrorist organizations, that so totally does NOT mean that he thinks that funding the healthcare provider to 130,000 low income Texas women is equivalent to funding state-sponsored terrorism. (Except that's kind of exactly what he said.) Abbott's team clarified later that that's not what the AG meant. Sadly, Abbott gets the abortion-terrorism link backward, as it's the domestic terrorists here in America that set their sights on ending abortion by the most violent means possible.
The quote in question comes from the filing by the AG's office to the 5th Circuit for an emergency stay blocking the injunction granted in Federal Court to stop the state from blocking Planned Parenthood as a qualified provider in the Texas Women's Health program, whether state- or federally funded. (The stay was lifted last Friday, yay!) Here's the section from the AG's office filings that makes the Planned Parenthood / terrorism connection:
“Planned Parenthood does not provide any assurance that the tax subsidies it receives from the Women's Health Program have not been used directly or indirectly to subsidize its advocacy of elective abortion. Nor is it possible for Planned Parenthood to provide this assurance.”
“Money is fungible, and taxpayer subsidies — even if 'earmarked' for nonabortion activities — free up other resources for Planned Parenthood to spend on its mission to promote elective abortions … (because '[m]oney is fungible,' First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to 'humanitarian' activities performed by terrorist organizations).”
Got that? Abbott says that giving federal or state money to Planned Parenthood frees up their private money for abortions, just like giving money to terrorist organizations for humanitarian causes frees up their other money for terrorism.
Planned Parenthood responded to the terrorist comparison in a statement to the Huffington Post:
“In a state that leads the nation in the number of uninsured — where one in four Texas women lack health insurance, and women face the third highest rate of cervical cancer — I think it is appalling to make such a comparison when Planned Parenthood works every day to keep women healthy,” said Melaney Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
Sufficient outrage was evidently raised by Abbott's callous remark that the OAG felt it necessary to walk it back. A spokesman for the Texas attorney general's office, Jerry Strickland, said state attorneys were not comparing Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization. They were just citing a Supreme Court case that happened to be about a terrorist organization. Uh, right. It's just coincidence that the state's legal filings happen to draw a direct comparison between PP and terrorist organizations even if you say it doesn't. Gotcha. Strickland said, “Texas did not state — and does not believe — that Planned Parenthood is a terrorist organization or comparable to one. Period.”
Greg Abbott has made clear that he would rather shut down the entire Women's Health Program and all of the good it does for the women of Texas than allow Planned Parenthood to participate, and continue serving 130,000 women in Texas. He'd rather shut the whole thing down than let women have access to pap smears and breast cancer screenings and annual check-ups.
Ironically, Abbott gets the terrorism-abortion link all wrong. American terrorist organizations actually seek to harm abortion providers. There's a long list of murdered abortion providers, not to mention those who have been on the receiving ends of death threats. Domestic terrorist organizations such as the Army of God and individuals like the man who gunned down George Tiller in church — they're actual terrorists who carry out brutal violence in the name of stopping abortion. (What ever happened to just praying to end it?) It's actually the anti-abortion zealots that are the terrorists here, Abbott.
Other people might make a comparison between governments that seek to deny women their basic freedoms and totalitarian regimes prone to terrorism, but I'm specifically not making that comparison here. That kind of rhetoric only distracts from the gravity of Abbott's efforts to deny 130,000 women access to the healthcare provider of their choice through his partisan war against Planned Parenthood and women's health in Texas.
I don't know about the rest of you, but backing down from this statement makes me think Abbott's going soft in his personal war on women, am I right? Come on, Greg! If you think Planned Parenthood is a terrorist organization, just say so! After all, you do have your 2014 Republican primary bid for Governor to think about.
In the meantime, Abbott does seem to be losing his legal battles to block Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program: on Friday the 5th Circuit lifted their temporary stay and will allow the original injunction — the one that says that the state can't block PP from the WHP — to go forward while there is a full trial on the issue.