What Planned Parenthood Can Teach the Left About Conscience Rights

A debate over conscience rights and religious freedom has been raging for a while now.

But we may be on the verge of a breakthrough.

Just last week, bakers in Oregon who had been fined $135,000 for declining to decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding were in court appealing their fine.

Only a few weeks ago, the Washington State Supreme Court concluded that the state of Washington could force businesses out of the wedding industry unless they were willing to participate in same-sex weddings.

In both of these cases—and many others like them—small business owners asked, “You’re free to be you, why can’t I be free to be me?”  To which an angry mob responded, “Because you’re a bad person!”

And when the small business owner tries to explain how it’s a matter of conviction and not a desire to harm, the mob just yells louder.

Well, an unlikely mediator may have emerged in this debate.

Planned Parenthood.

Yes, that Planned Parenthood.  The nation’s largest abortion provider and progressive darling.   It turns out they’re feeling picked on.

You probably remember that funding for Planned Parenthood was a theme of the Presidential campaign and right now legislation is being debated in Washington DC that would cut off more than $500 million in federal tax funds to the abortion giant.

Earlier this week, President Trump made them a proposal: if you stop performing abortions we’ll keep sending you federal tax dollars.

They weren’t thrilled by the offer.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the New York Times, “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept.” [Emphasis Added]

An interesting choice of words, isn’t it?

“Offering money to abandon…our values is not a deal we will ever accept?”

It seems like a some small business owners have made similar arguments, and the left has skewered them for it.

Apparently, what’s good for the abortionist is not good for the florist.

Undoubtedly, they will defend their inconsistent reactions by pointing out that it’s legal to kill babies but it’s not legal to opt out of a same-sex wedding.

And most won’t even pause long enough to acknowledge how messed up that is.

But let’s set that aside for now.

The fact that Planned Parenthood is playing the role of the victim provides an unusual rhetorical opportunity in the debate over conscience rights.

Abortion has been identified not merely as a service, but as a value of Planned Parenthood.  And progressives respect them.

Other people have other values.  Progressives sue them.

And they feel good about it.

“Just bake the cake and it wouldn’t be an issue,” they assure us.

To which you should respond, “So Planned Parenthood should just stop killing babies to keep their federal funding, right?”

Maybe then, they’ll develop some sympathy for those who object to government using its power to force people to abandon their values.

One can hope.


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5 replies
  1. U.S. Citizen
    U.S. Citizen says:

    Related questions for thought:
    — Can a Christian bakery-owner refuse to make a cake for a Jewish bar-mitzvah?
    — Could a hotel owner refuse to rent a room to 2 unmarried adults? What if the owner was Catholic and the couple were married, but had a civil service?
    — Should a Muslim doctor in a private practice be able to refuse to treat a Christian?
    — What if the local market refused to sell food to atheists?
    — Can a card-carrying KKK member refuse to sell ice cream to non-whites?
    — Would it be OK if I put a sign in my shop window listing all the groups I refuse to serve based on my beliefs?

    If you’re a baker, you sell cakes; you do not perform weddings. Your business does not provide validation for your customer’s celebration or event. Further, selling one of your cakes to a gay couple does not compromise your civil right to practice your personal religion. Conversely, refusing to sell that cake does violate the couple’s civil right to be treated equally and without discrimination under the law.

    The minute you give one person’s personal religious beliefs precedence over someone else’s civil rights, you have violated the single most basic tenet of our Constitution. If you believe government and laws should be based on religious beliefs you should probably consider someplace with a Theocracy. The US is a Democracy…and most of us want it to stay that way.

  2. sanjosemike
    sanjosemike says:

    Letter I wrote Governor Brown:

    We are leaving California. This letter will not reach your desk. Instead it will be thrown away by one of your executive assistants. So, in a sense, it is a letter to them rather than you. If a response is tendered it will contain unctuous platitudes such as “Thank you for your interest in California.” In short, it is a waste of time for me to write it.

    But I will anyway. We have lived here for 20 years, just after I retired. During that time we have seen an inexorable, steady decline throughout the state, in roads, infrastructure and trash accumulation. San Jose has turned into the “garbage dump” of California. The roads are in hideous disrepair and the once elegant city has become tired, burned out and ugly. There are enormous potholes everywhere. Real Estate values in the Bay area are starting to slide. (I know you will refute this but it is already starting). Long time residents of CA read about the riots in Berkeley, with a refusal of local police to stop them. This causes FEAR in the hearts of people who pay the bills in California. The people who pay your bills will not tolerate anarchy.

    The money that funded illegal aliens could have been used to maintain California. The borders are open. Taxes are going up with no end in sight, and seem to only disappear into the maw of hungry attorneys.

    There is a malaise among the population and an uncertainty that has nothing to do with Donald Trump, because it started years before he entered the Oval Office.

    As a final note, I will say that it is not increased taxes that will save California. Rather it will be a sense of civic, personal and local pride. This starts with monitoring your borders and encouraging Californians to stop despoiling it. It will require a sense of personal responsibility that does not presently exist in California. Excessive liberalism does not encourage personal responsibility, does it?

    If you want California to succeed, you will need a change. And this starts out with “personal responsibility.” It also starts out with a message from YOUR office instructing Berkeley police to control anarchy emanating from liberal political sources that have as their casus Belli the destruction of this once proud state and free speech. California has become a ship of fools.

    Good Bye. I will no longer pay.

  3. philip irvin
    philip irvin says:

    Perhaps a better comparison would be to threaten Baronell Stutsman that if she refused to do gay weddings the government won’t buy flowers from her.

    PP is free to continue to do abortions only without government money.


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