As I watched one of the television advertisements against Amendment 1, I immediately thought about one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories as a child. If I didn’t know for sure he was deceased, I’d almost swear he was writing the scripts.
The story that came to mind was And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It’s the story of Marco, an elementary aged boy who is asked each day by his dad what he saw on the way to and from school. But the truth was the daily trip was boring. The truth just wouldn’t do. It wouldn’t impress his dad.
Now what can I say when I get home today?
All the long way to school and all the way back,
I’ve looked and I’ve looked, and I’ve kept careful track
But all that I’ve noticed except my own feet,
Was a horse and a wagon on Mulberry Street.
That’s nothing to tell of, that won’t do, of course…
Just a broken down wagon that’s drawn by a horse.
That can’t be my story. That’s only a start!
And so on his way home he dreams up a truly incredible story. But when he sits down to recount his trip, he realizes his dad just won’t believe him. And he tells the truth–just a ‘broken down wagon and a horse.’
So, like Marco, Planned Parenthood and its allies, the ACLU, know that it just won’t do to tell the people what Amendment 1 really does and what’s really at stake.
Planned Parenthood knows that in a generally pro-life state, it just won’t do to tell folks it opposes Amendment 1 because it supports abortion on demand and makes lots of money off of abortions. Why, so far, I don’t think its commercials have even used the word “abortion.”
And it just won’t do to tell people that they are opposed to having an abortion-specific informed consent law for the protection of women. Why, no one would believe that someone would be opposed to women making fully informed medical decisions.
And opponents can’t tell people that a woman could wind up in a physician-operated abortion clinic that is not subject to the same licensure and inspection requirements as other types of outpatient surgery centers. For sure, no one would believe a story that said women are well served by unlicensed and uninspected abortion clinics.
So, what story can Planned Parenthood tell that would rile folks up? Well, like Marco, the truth just won’t do, so it had to make one up. So a law professor, who is listed as the Board Chair for Planned Parenthood in Middle Tennessee, gets on television and says that passage of Amendment 1 would “force governmental interference into private medical decisions.”
Now, to a jaded public that distrusts its government, that is a story that might sell! It invites their imagination, like Marco’s, to run wild with what that might mean.
But wait, the language of the Amendment actually says the “people retain the right” to decide what policies we should have on abortion. That doesn’t sound very much like an amendment that is “forcing the government” to do anything.
Yes, we, the people, “decide” on those policies through our elected representatives, but to say that’s tantamount to forcing the government to do something? Come on.
What Planned Parenthood’s lawyer spokesperson really seems to be saying is that Planned Parenthood just doesn’t like our form of government. Then again, maybe Planned Parenthood just doesn’t like the possibility that its very profitable abortion business might be hurt if women are better informed about what they are doing.
Hopefully, voters will be more like Marco’s dad than Marco and not believe the cockamamie story that Amendment 1 would “force” the government to do something when, in fact, the words of the Amendment are clear that the government doesn’t have to do anything.
But, hey, that’s not a very exciting story. I guess for Planned Parenthood, like Marco, the truth does have its drawbacks.
David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.