Sunday, March 16, 2008

Planned Parenthood should be ashamed

Fritz Hippler was a German filmmaker during the Nazi era. His most prominent sin was to make a scurrilous piece of anti-semitism, Der Erwige Jude, (The Eternal Jew). Hippler is said to have claimed that two things are necessary to promote a lie to the masses. The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that “even the most feebleminded could understand.” The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.

Orwell suggested a similar technique in his novel 1984. IngSoc (Newspeak for English Socialism) required members of the Inner Party "[t]o tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed . . ."

We don't - "Bushhitler" notwithstanding - face the threat of totalitarianism today. But the principle of the Big Lie lives on. In January, I pointed out that claims by One Wisconsin Now and Rep. Terese Berceau that Wisconsin statutes - although rendered unenforceable by Roe v. Wade - actually provide for women who have abortions to be placed in jail.

As Charlie Sykes and Patrick McIlheran point out, Planned Parenthood insists on prominently repeating this falsehood in a series of radio ads attacking certain named Republican legislators. Jim Ott - who has to be one of the most decent people in politics - is one of them and defends himself in today's Journal Sentinel.


The claim that, in a post-Roe world, women who have abortions could be prosecuted is flat out false. It's not even debatable. While sec. 940.04 provided for such penalties, they were repealed by sec. 940.13. In a comment on Patrick's blog, OWN's Cory Liebman says that no one can tell which statute the court would enforce.

Yes, we can. There is no chance - none - that any court would find those penalties to be extant today. In fact, the Legislative Reference Bureau's description of the very law that Berceau and OWN were promoting says that current law "prohibits prosecution of and imposing or enforcing a fine or imprisonment against a woman who obtains an abortion or otherwise violates any abortion law with respect to her unborn child or fetus."

There is no principle of statutory construction that would point to enforcing criminal penalties set forth in an earlier statute that are unambiguously repealed by a later one, particularly since the legislature has since enacted other statutes dealing with abortion and the protection of fetal life that also reflect a judgment not to impose criminal penalties on women who have abortions. There are plenty that make clear that the latter repeal of those penalties must be respected.

If Roe is ever repealed and Cory Liebman wants to bet on which statute a court would apply, I will take 940.13 and whatever number he proposes as long as he shows me that he can pay.

I am not, of course, calling the people at Planned Parenthood "Nazis" although its founder, Margaret Sanger, had more than a little in common with them. I don't even want to call them liars because, as regular readers of Shark and Shepherd know, that's not what I do here.

But that's what they are. This is one of the most mendacious and deliberately misleading things that I have seen in politics since Fair Wisconsin's robocalls designed to confuse voters over the meaning of a "no" vote on the marriage amendment.

9 comments:

Other Side said...

The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that “even the most feebleminded could understand.” The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.

Describes perfectly the latest Gableman ad. Thanks, Rick.

Dad29 said...

Well, Rick--the Big Lie almost worked the first time. Why not try it again?

3rd Way said...

This is one of the most mendacious and deliberately misleading things that I have seen in politics

It is mendacious, but it is certainly not the only one. Have you ever heard of this Gableman guy? His campaign spent some good money on ads that tell some pretty big whoppers. The mendacity in his ads was so blatant the AP weighed in and deemed them "misleading". So misleading that they were pulled off the air.

A high profile supporter of that campaign surely would not dissect PP's mendacity while ignoring the giant elephant in the corner... would he?

Anonymous said...

I think Ronald Reagan said that he never left the democratic party but that the party left him. I think this is a good example of why he felt that way and why many democrats feel the same way today.

How can anyone trust an organisation like Planned Parenthood that has spilled so much innocent blood. I think only aethieist communism has done worse.

Rick Esenberg said...

A high profile supporter of that campaign surely would not dissect PP's mendacity while ignoring the giant elephant in the corner... would he?

I have never endorsed anyone in the Supreme Court campaign and I won't. I have expressed my own view on the issues. I will comment on the ad.

3rd Way said...

I have never endorsed anyone in the Supreme Court campaign

I did not say you endorsed anyone. To the untrained eye your writing on the upcoming race certainly seems to support
Gableman. Please set the record straight if you are not pro-Gableman.

Amy said...

The Gableman ad has absolutely nothing to do with this topic. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

This has to do with whether or not Planned Barrenhood is honest. It isn't. Never has been. From it's lies about fetal development (hint: it's not a "blob of tissue" up until seconds before birth), to it's cover-up of statutory rape, to it's almost hysterical enthusiastic acceptance of a donation specifically for the purpose of "killing a black baby", to its denial of the very real racist beliefs and eugenics support of its foundress.

Planned Barrenhood is all about lies.

This ad just demonstrates how low they're willing to sink in order to keep their abortion clinics in business.

It's a lie. A flat-out lie.

Anonymous said...

The Cousins Sub shop near me was just turned into a Planned Parenthood Express. Does anyone else feel that title is a bit...tawdry?

jp said...

Hmmmmm

I don't even want to call them liars
that's not what I do here.
But that's what they are.

Amy;

Thanks for clarifying things for this feeble minder

From the movie A Few Good Men
Now I understand…lier, lier, pants on fire.