Progressives Show Why Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Need Government Funding
One of the most common fallacies those on both the left and the right regularly make about libertarianism is suggesting that opposing government funding of a specific product, service, or organization is the same as opposing their very existence. Just because Walter Block opposes government spending on roads doesn’t mean he wants to travel purely by blimp (no matter how stylish), just as wanting the market to provide police services isn’t the same as advocating lawless chaos.
In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney (who is obviously no Rothbardian) was ridiculed for suggesting that the government didn’t need to be funding Sesame Street, but sure enough Sesame Street was picked up by HBO when the show faced its own budgeting shortfall. The deal even allowed for the show to continue being aired free on PBS.
The outcome of last week’s election has given yet another great example of how individual actors are able to voluntarily provide funding for organizations they care about without the coercive force of government. Planned Parenthood, an organization that has long benefited both political parties as an easy issue to fundraise off of, has received around 128,000 individual donations in a week. Showing a sense of humor some had feared the left had lost, at least 20,000 donations were made in the name of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has called the outpouring of support “unprecedented.”
This Trump-bump for traditionally-progressive non-profits hasn’t been isolated to simply Planned Parenthood. The Washington Post reports that organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Anti-Defamation League have all received a significant increase in donations related to Trump’s victory.
Since these dollars are being voluntarily donated by concerned people who genuinely believe in the mission of these organizations, this new wave of funding won’t lead to conservative politicians grandstanding on the steps of Congress in opposition. The moral concerns taxpayers have about their hard-earned-and-then-confiscated money going to causes that may violate their religious beliefs is no longer valid. As such, not only is de-politicizing an organization like Planned Parenthood sound economics, but it’s good for social cohesion.
So if a Trump-Pence administration succeeded in accomplishing the left’s nightmare scenario, abolishing all Federal funding to Planned Parenthood, the left’s own actions show that the organization’s future isn’t entirely dependent on Washington. Far from the nightmare scenario too-often invoked of needy women going without access to health services, the organization would be able to continue to provide its own genuine care for these women through alternative funding avenues. Further, if Republicans in Congress make do on their promise to buck the party’s historical norms and actually cut government spending and reduce taxes, then the same people protesting Trump in the streets will have more money in their pockets to donate to causes they genuinely care about. (Like possibly funding more protests.)