Rick Santorum appeared on The View today to talk about Planned Parenthood and LGBTQ rights. If you can get through this whole video without pausing several times, congratulations, you are a calmer person than I am.
And so, here are all the ways in which Rick Santorum made me cringe during his appearance on The View.
1) Planned Parenthood and mammograms
"Planned Parenthood, for example, doesn't provide mammograms. Now I know people say they do, but they don't."
Okay, let's clear this up. The only people who say Planned Parenthood clinics actually perform mammograms are misinformed. Planned Parenthood, like any other gynecologist office, provides access to mammograms. As in, you go to your doctor, you say, "Hey, I'd like a mammogram," and they say, "Oh, cool, here, go to this office that has the specialized equipment and expertise to perform that." This is how it works when you need a medical test or service that requires specific skills. If you have pain in your shoulder from a sports injury, if you're getting a lot of headaches, if you're looking to get bloodwork done, your GP will write you a referral to a specialist. So when you go to Planned Parenthood and ask for a mammogram, they will refer you to a center that has the correct equipment and they will even help you pay for your mammogram if you don't have insurance.
2) The services Planned Parenthood does provide
"They basically provide abortion, contraception, STDs, things like that, and-and pregnancy tests."
I'm going to assume Rick meant to say they provide STD testing, not actual STDs. Additionally, this list is short. Planned Parenthood provides those things, but they also provide general physicals, pap smears that test for abnormalities (such as cancer), pelvic exams for women, colon, prostate, and testicular cancer screenings, UTI testing and treatment, female and male infertility screening and referral, erectile dysfunction services, vasectomies, hormone therapy for transgender people, sex education, and more. So I really don't know what he means when he says we should funnel those dollars into centers that offer "more comprehensive" services. What else do you need from a reproductive health clinic, Rick?
3) Women's health centers vs. Planned Parenthood centers
"I spent a lot of time in Iowa, and in Iowa there's 213 women's health care centers and 13 Planned Parenthoods."
Planned Parenthood definitely isn't the only women's health clinic. For example, I got my IUD at Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta, a great clinic that is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood. That said, I am skeptical that the 213 clinics Santorum mentions provide all the same services as the 13 Planned Parenthood clinics. Not all women's health centers are created equal, and an extensive investigation by NARAL discovered that one type of center is particularly prone to telling blatant lies to women. Their investigators reported being told that 30-50% of women naturally miscarry, "so there's no point in rushing to get an abortion" (that figure is actually 15%), that abortion will give them a greater chance for cancer (it doesn't), and that scar tissue from an abortion will make it harder to get pregnant later (also a lie).
It would be great if there really were over 200 centers in Iowa that provided comprensive services and medically accurate information, but the reality is that non-Planned Parenthood clinics are incapable of covering the gap that would be left if patients on Medicaid could no longer go to Planned Parenthood.
"Women are probably going to get a more holistic screening [at other clinics] than they would at Planned Parenthood."
Santorum didn't really qualify this with any additional information, so I'm genuinely not sure what he means by holistic. If anyone has any thoughts, let me know.
5) Funding and abortions
"The money that we are reallocating has nothing to do with abortion, and I will accept that. The [federal] money that's going to Planned Parenthood cannot be used for abortion."
This one isn't cringe worthy, I just had to point out that I'm amazed someone actually acknowledged the Hyde amendment that says federal funds can't be used to fund abortions (except in cases of life endangerment, rape, and/or incest). The money Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government is almost entirely in the form of Medicaid. As in, Planned Parenthood gets reimbursed from the government for rendering health services to low-income women, such as pap smears and contraception.
"...Unless, of course, they're co-mingling funds."
Oh. Here it is. Okay, see my above comment.
6) Marriage equality
"Marriage has a particular role and purpose in society, it always has, and the whole purpose of marriage is...for society to encourage men and women to come together to form permanent bonds for the benefit of each other."
I am so tired of having to argue for my right to have my relationship with my fiancee legally recognized, that I'm not even going to bother addressing this. Either you think I'm a full citizen of this country, or you don't. Moving on.
7) Raising the kids
Marriage is so that when the couple has children, "there's a permanent bond by which those children can be raised by their natural mother and natural father."
As someone who was adopted at birth, this is mildly offensive. I'm sure the children of single mothers, of same-sex couples, of step parents, etc would also roll their eyes at Santorum's remark. Santorum of course also goes on to deride the idea that marriage is not just about children, so now childless couples and people who get married past child-bearing age have something to be mad about, too. Raven-Symoné wasn't taking his answer, either. She challenged him to explain why he thinks same-sex couples and transgender parents can't also provide a loving home for children, to which he had no real answer.
Santorum and the hosts of The View then went on to talk about Santorum's candidacy and his rankings in the polls (he's at 1%). I pretty much tuned out after that. If you haven't already, watch the video - if you dare.