The Debate Over Defunding Family Planning Programs

Monday, March 07, 2011

Congresswoman Gwen Moore was on The Takeaway to talk about women’s access to family planning and health care services, particularly for poor, black women in the U.S. Congresswoman Moore (D-Wis.) gave an impassioned speech recently on the House floor defending the funding of Planned Parenthood. This week we're joined by Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, which advocates cutting funding for programs like Planned Parenthood. Ryan Bomberger rents billboards in states like California and Louisiana, with messages like, “Black Children Are an Endagered Species” and “Too Many Aborted.”

Ryan says that there is an epidemic of abortion in black communities across the country. Bomberger believes that Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions to some of those women, should not receive federal funding. Planned Parenthood argues that it does not get federal funding for abortions, rather for life saving medical and health services that poor women would not otherwise readily receive.

Watch a video from The Radiance Foundation's latest campaign: 




Ryan Bomberger

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [11]

Ryan Bomberger from ATLANTA

@jaz from NYC (and hosts)

I wasn't afforded the same cushy interview as Gwen Moore, but then I'm not liberal, so off came the hosts' gloves. I haven't jumped on any bandwagon. I've been an adoption advocate for over 20 years and DO NOT take the position that federal funding solves society's woes. I did point out that there is already federal funding for adoption. That's not where the answer lies. It lies within the private sector such as churches, individuals and families to engage in the powerful act of adoption. Contrary to host John's constant assertions, education is not "wishful thinking". We've addressed hundreds of thousands of people with a pro-adoption message, recruiting individuals and couples to adopt. This is community action, not "wishful thinking". But the hosts weren't interested in finding out what we do...they only wanted to stick to their unresearched talking points.

I said, quite clearly, that there are Title X clinics (which are definitely NOT CPCs) that provide the same reproductive health care as Planned Parenthood without committing abortions. There are thousands of them across the country. In addition to them are the Pregnancy Care Centers that exist to offer life-affirming alternatives to abortion, which "pro-choicers" adamantly deride because they offer a...choice.

As one who is as black as Obama, I was once considered "black and unwanted" but, instead, adopted and loved. So this convenient demonization about "targeting black women" is nonsense. Did abolitionists TARGET slaves? No, they fought to bring freedom to those considered less than human...those deceived to think the plantation was all to aspire to...those whose shackles were not always physical ones...those of my complexion.

I didn't expect balance in this interview, but I thought there would, at least have been hosts who wouldn't reduce this budget battle down to such predictable simplicity. The ProLife battle has been fought, for decades, upon conviction and principle. It's not some cause du jour. It is the ultimate human rights issue no less crucial and worthy of abolition as slavery.

Apr. 08 2011 05:55 PM
jaz from NYC

@Rich for NYC: This interview has nothing to do with Ryan being a "stand up" guy (whatever that means), he may mean well and genuinely care about people but his argument was not solid. He's not coming on this show to showcase his sparkling personality, he is there to discuss his beliefs about why Planned Parenthood should be defunded. Also, he has not just jumped on the bandwagon of these issues, he and the Radiance Foundation were at the beginning of this movement targeting black women. These billboards started in Atlanta a little over a year ago, so it's not a new campaign, it is just spreading now to other cities which had always been the plan.

Generally speaking, I think the host did an excellent job of pointing out the holes in his argument, especially that they are not actively advocating for adoption funding on any concrete level. Also the "clinics" he is talking about that don't perform abortions are crisis pregnancy centers, known for dissuading women from having abortions with misinformation like having an abortion increases your chances of having breast cancer. That was medically disproven but that's the places he are saying should stick around...because they don't offer a range of options for women.

Apr. 07 2011 01:24 AM
Rich P from NYC

...and I'm also Pro NPR!!

Mar. 08 2011 02:05 PM
Rich P from NYC

Sorry to say this John but you practically sounded like Charlie Sheen. Ryan never started this conversation by putting budget first. He was talking about human life and he’s entitled to his opinion without having it ballasted by your standard of proof. He answered every question sincerely and with the conviction of his purpose.
Go to his organization’s web site he seems like a “stand up” guy, with good convictions that’s living a purpose that no one can call wrong.

BTW, I think it’s true that the GOP is using the budget battle to curtail the availability of abortions but Ryan Bomberger is just a guy that you had on your show that happens to be jumping on the bandwagon because it’s going in the direction of his beliefs. I have no issue with him because of that.

I am a pro choice, pro funding of the CFPB but I will be Taking Away my funding for your show.

You really stunk out there yesterday.

Mar. 08 2011 01:56 PM
Will Schwab from Oklahoma

I listen to shows like The Takeaway to counter Beck and Limbaugh. That way I get to hear advocates from both perspectives. I was struck that during this interview, John invented an interesting standard for sincerity. John decided that Mr. Bomberber was only credible if he advocated for a federal program funding adoptions, really? That’s interesting test, one that Celeste fell for also. Based on the bio of your guest, the bio you provided us on the air, I expected to hear from a person that advocated for the stopping of abortion in general and the stopping, in particular, of federal funding of the number one abortion provider in Amercia, Planned Parenthood. By all accounts, that was what I heard from Mr. Bomberger. And yet, I’m guessing that John decided that a confrontation was necessary, so he began inventing sincerity criteria. As if a person cannot truly care about the unborn by simply working to stop abortion. One has to not only spend an equal amount of their time advocating for adoption, they also must endorse and work to pass legislation to federally fund adoption.

Which brings up another point. – I think John’s pretext for this story was that the pro-life’ers were hijacking the budget debate to end abortion. As in, all this talk of defunding Planned Parenthood is not REALLY about the budget, it’s about abortion. But at the same time John wanted Mr. Bomberger to advocate for federally funding for adoption. That sounds like a trap to me. Because if Mr. Bomberger was to advocate for federal funding of any kind it would prove that this is not about the budget. Mr. Boberger didn’t take the bait, but that didn’t stop John from saying, “gotcha!” Incredible.

And finally, I never heard Mr. Bomberger say this was ever about the budget in the first place. Mr. Bomberger has a well documented position that he never backed away from. John set everything else up to make up a controversy and to make Mr. Bomberger seem insincere.

This was an interesting lesson in the power of emotions, poor logic, a liberal worldview and federally funded radio.

Mar. 07 2011 01:00 PM
Mel from Boston, MA

When every anti-abortion proponent is out there fighting for better services for the children who are already here. Children who have overwhelming health issues or are in the foster care system or living in poverty then maybe I will believe in their sincerity that they really care about these children and women and not just an agenda.

Mar. 07 2011 12:46 PM
Cody from Oklahoma

I am amazed that we are arguing about fixing "the horse". Would abortion and planned parenthood even be issues if people practiced abstainance. Why don't we address the root of the problem. Is abstainance a taboo subject? Come on John.

Mar. 07 2011 10:59 AM

My grandmother died in 1925 of complications from an illegal abortion. She was already the mother of six children --- two in diapers --- and being married to a coal miner in a nonunionized coal mining town, I imagine she and my grandfather were having financial difficulties.

I never knew my grandmother, but I certainly would like to have known her. My father was only 10 when she died, and her death was the great tragedy of his life.

When my only daughter was 15 years old, she became pregnant. The father was a boy she was not sure if she loved.

At this point, I was a single father with seven kids of my own. She came to me for advice. I had mixed feelings about what she should do --- abortions were safer for her than they were for my grandmother, but at the same time, I wasn't sure how I personally felt about abortion.

I sat down with my daughter and her six brothers. I said to her, "I cannot make this decision for you because it will affect your whole life. You are still a child, but you will have to think into the future and imagine how you will feel then." We discussed ALL her options, including abortion, including adoption, including having the baby, including marriage. I said her brothers and I would support her and stand by her. All I would require of her would be to get a high school diploma.

She chose to have the baby --- now a beautiful 14-year-old girl --- and not marry the father. Her brothers and I gulped, but said we would do what we had to do to take care of the baby while she finished school. Six young men who had never changed a diaper suddenly found themselves doting uncles.

And we all learned a lesson about growing up and taking responsibility for our decisions. My daughter is about to turn 31. She's married, has four children and a college degree. And she works as a counselor for unwed mothers.


Mar. 07 2011 09:44 AM
Julie from Detroit, MI

John and Celeste,

Nice job calling out your guest for failing to advocate for adoption support and using the budget as an easy excuse for his pro-life message. Also, excellent job of calling him out on sticking to his message, but ignoring your questions.

Thanks for your well-worded journalism!

Mar. 07 2011 09:31 AM
Frances from Ann Arbor, MI

We need to start sex education at a younger age and in the public school system. If you don't want your child to learn about safe sex and the diseases that go along with it when their in 6th grade then teach them yourself. I wasn't taught about sexually transmitted diseases until my freshman year of high school, and by this point some girls in my grade has already collected some. In that time I was never taught how to properly put on a condom, and still the best way not to get pregnant "was to sustain from sex all together." Not many people want to wait anymore, it's time to change with the times or we'll be the ones who get bitten in the ass.

Mar. 07 2011 09:18 AM
Megan Deel from Ferndale, MI

A truth that is hardly represented regarding birth control is that it is advertised as 99% effective at preventing pregnancy- NOT at preventing conception. By that standard - why is birth control funded? The argument around abortion is that the embryo or fetus is human life, and we don't have the right to take that life away. However, since birth control allows conception to take place, in reality all these women on the pill are unknowingly aborting babies. I support birth control, but I also support an educational family planning system that doesn't try to hide information like that.

Mar. 07 2011 09:07 AM

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