I recently came across an article tweeted out by Planned Parenthood’s Political Action Committee. This PAC didn’t see the irony, or maybe they did, in lifting this quote: “Playing politics with abortion is playing with women’s lives…”

Notice that the “playing politics” line is coming from a group that was built and formed to, well, play politics. That is what a Political Action Committee is. They are seeking to make a difference by using political means. So…who is “playing politics” with abortion?

I could spend my time chasing that rabbit trail, but I would prefer to focus on a particular point made in the aforementioned article. The author hones in on the defunding of Planned Parenthood to the tune of $1.4 million.

The author then points out the specific areas where these lack of funds may have an impact as they focus on the services that do not include abortion. We are told that “HIV/AIDS testing and education in minority communities, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, education for young people about abstinence and contraception, breast- and cervical-cancer screening for low-income women, outreach and care to pregnant women to help decrease infant mortality, prevention and education programs aimed at reducing sexual violence against women” will all go away when any legislation is passed seeking to take government funds from Planned Parenthood.

This argument is not based in fact nor truth. This argument is rooted in a bias/pro-choice agenda. The author fails to acknowledge that there are thousands of pro-life clinics and local county health departments in this country providing these very same services. They also fail to mention that the thousands of pro-life clinics, like HOPE, are providing these services at absolutely no cost to the patient.

We do not charge the state, an insurance company, or the patient. We provide our services, over $550,000 annually at HOPE, because we care deeply about those in need. The vast majority of the pro-life clinics are also not receiving a dime from the state or federal government. HOPE isn’t seeking to create a PAC that will help us push a political agenda or line our pockets with tax payer dollars. We, instead, choose to stand with individuals, churches, and businesses. Our partnerships allow us to continue this work.

We call this the “Strangers Standing for Strangers” model. Thousands of people every year donate to HOPE and other pro-life clinics seeking to help the most vulnerable in our communities. The motivation to give remains the same regardless if our patients make up neighbors that our donors may know or strangers that they may never know.

This is the truth that author and the abortion lobby want to silence. They would prefer to label pro-life clinics and their supporters as extremists. They do not seek a thoughtful conversation on women’s health or abortion. They seek, instead, to paint an unflattering picture of those that seek to stand for life.

I understand that some reading this will argue that I myself am pushing an agenda. They may say that I am being disingenuous and only seek to see the closure of abortion clinics everywhere. This argument would be partly true. I do have an agenda. It is life and the celebration of it.

I am not hiding that truth. I desire for every life to be valued and given a chance. I desire for every abortion clinic to go out of business. I am not insincere though. This is where their argument against me would fail.

I sincerely and genuinely wish to have a thoughtful conversation on abortion and life. I sincerely want to help the most vulnerable among us in and out of the womb. I sincerely want us to equip and prepare parents for their future.

The issue here is not “women’s health.” I have never met anyone that opposes women’s health. The issue isn’t even simply abortion. I, and others, have strong opinions on this topic, but the larger issue and the one we must grapple with in a thoughtful manner or debate is the state and federal funding of those abortions.

Our current set of laws deem abortion a legal act. I disagree with that and will spend my lifetime seeking for that to change, but it is legal nonetheless. The issue looked at in the above article is not simply defunding Planned Parenthood. It is actually the tax payer funding of the largest abortion provider in the country.

Truth in our discourse should matter. It is difficult to have a legitimate conversation on these issues when we fail to root those conversations in truth and honesty. Pulling $1.4 million from Planned Parenthood will not prevent women from getting proper care. That is the truth of the matter.

I understand that this truth may hurt some feelings and/or a narrative, but we should be a people that celebrate truth in discourse and debate. This is how we move forward and see our communities get better.

HOPE will continue to work with community partners both secular and religious as we seek to make a great impact on Knoxville and surrounding areas. We will welcome thoughtful conversations and discussions on women’s health and the best way to serve this populous, but we will never stop loving, serving, and caring for the most vulnerable among us.

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center