ACORN-ing Planned Parenthood
ACORN-ing Planned Parenthood | Buy Reprint Rights | License Candorville | Get Candorville In Your Paper | Buy Candorville BOOKS
February 6th, 2012

ACORN-ing Planned Parenthood

If “Acorning” isn’t a verb, it should be.

(edit) Here’s an email I received today, followed by my response:

I like your comic strip, man, but I’ve got to educate you on something.

Here are some facts on Planned Parrenthood:

If the staggering numbers of 37,000 babies being killed each day is not enough to make you care, what about that 60% of babies in NY city alone are black, or that PPH was caught in a telephone sting operation GLADLY accepting donations that were specifically to target black babies? Or that its founder, Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist who even said “We don’t want it getting out that we hope to eliminate black populations.” Or that in Haiti, when the World Health Organization was calling for nations around the world to 1) help with the rescue effort, 2) provide clean water and food and 3) provide medical aid, PPH came in and set up a “free of charge” abortions clinic. So to say, “Half your family just died, why not let us help you kill your unborn children as well?” (and in an ALL BLACK society too!)

You seem to care about welfare as well, so then, what about when PPH was found guilty of taking contraceptives in CA and reselling them for 12 times the amount, effectively cheating CA taxpayers out of $5,000,000 over a 3 year period?

What about that the PPH president, Richards, went on TV, claiming that PPH doesn’t use the money towards abortions, but towards other life-saving methods, and she ONLY quoted mammograms. And in another telephone sting opp, 30 out of 30 clinics called, NONE of them provided mammograms. If you check the PPH website, they will even say they don’t provide them, they do referrals to other clinics. What they do as breast examinations have been proven to be ineffective in detecting cancer. If abortions is only 3% of what they use the money for, why are they under governmental scrutiny for it now? And tell me how is 3,700 abortions a day only 3%?

In another series of sting opps, they were found guilty of protecting and helping pimps use under-aged girls in their trade, not reporting them, but offering under-the counter methods and free services to treat them, these are girls under the age of 14!!!

Nor did they report any of the times female minors went in claiming to be impregnated by an adult (more sting operations).
This is a criminal organization, not just one, but all of them. And it’s not the republicans, the conservatives or the Christians that are protecting them, and not prosecuting them for all these criminal acts. Why are they being allowed to continue in their works when they DONT provide life saving help to women, and they DO provide services that actually cause the DEATHS of THOUSANDS of women? Because they are being protected by liberals, and some Democrats.

So look at the facts, do some research that is not bias and stop protecting the wrong people. I would like to find out what happens to Lemont’s child, his job situation, if he ever realizes Susan is the one for him, or when next wacky thing T-dog does, but it bothers me too much to see such propaganda supporting the number one killer of blacks in America and in the world.


My response:

I’m glad you like the strip.

I’ll address a few of the issues you raised:

(1) The claim that Sanger was a racist and a eugenicist.
Sanger was a eugenicist for a time, as were most scientists in the inter-war period. Eugenicists believed that the human race could improve by discouraging people with genetic disabilities from reproducing, and encouraging people who were considered fit, to reproduce. It was the prevailing attitude of the time. But when the NAZIS adopted eugenics as a policy, it opened the eyes of many in the West, including Margaret Sanger who renounced it. There’s no evidence whatsoever that Sanger had racist motives in advancing access to reproductive services to women. Quite the contrary. You can read a good article on the inaccurate criticism of Sanger here:

(2) The PPH President only quoted mammograms.
So what? Her neglecting to mention all the other services PPH provides does not negate the fact that they provide them. Just a few of the life-saving services they provide include STD-tests, HPV inoculations, HPV tests, cervical cancer screenings, and, yes, mammograms. Several PPH clinics, such as the Planned Parenthood Waco clinic (in Texas) provide mammograms in their offices. The ones that don’t, refer patients to PPH clinics that do. And if none are available nearby, they refer those patients to other clinics that will provide the mammogram FREE OF CHARGE if the patient is referred by PPH. So “they don’t provide mammograms” is just patently false, and relies on the intellectually dishonest act of pretending a referral to a free mammogram provider has no life-saving value to the patient.

(3) The so-called “Sting Operations”
Your reference to “sting operations” implies that those were actual operations by law enforcement agencies. I wasn’t exactly surprised to find that they were actually ruses by anti-choice activists who recorded and then heavily edited PPH workers’ responses. Without seeing the full context of the videos, it’s impossible to tell whether the worker was trying to coax the pimp into bringing the girls in for treatment. It may surprise you to know that that sort of thing is common in healthcare. They’re not law enforcement agencies, they’re healthcare agencies, and their first priority is ensuring the patient is ok. Their second priority is reporting this sort of thing to the authorities.

It should also concern you that these so-called “sting operations” were conducted in part by the same people whose “sting operations” with ACORN turned out to have been edited so heavily that they changed the context of the meetings. Investigations (by actual law enforcement) found ACORN had committed no wrongdoing. You might not want to base your opinions on the “sting ops” of people who have to rely so heavily on the “edit” function in Final Cut Pro.

(4) The Fraud Case
Last I heard, they weren’t “found guilty,” the case is still being litigated. If they’re found guilty, whoever did it will be punished and they’ll have to reimburse the state. In any case, this is a red herring. Whatever the verdict may be, it won’t change the reality that PPH is the only place millions of poor women have to turn to for reproductive health services.

(5) Why are they under government scrutiny now?
Because Republicans in control of the House want them to be. It’s purely political.

(6) “And tell me how is 3,700 abortions a day only 3%?”
I don’t know where you get your figures, but from what I’ve read, Planned Parenthood conducts about 300,000 abortions per year. That comes out to about 821 per day, not 3700. How is that only 3%? I’m not sure I understand why you’re asking that question, because the obvious answer to that is that they conduct far more non-abortion procedures than they do abortion-related ones per day.

(7) The “Theyr’e killing black babies” argument
Frankly, I find the anti-choice community’s exploitation of race in this argument to be unpersuasive and patronizing. Here’s why it’s unpersuasive: There’s a much simpler (and therefore much more plausible) reason for the disparity. Rather than being some massive racist conspiracy, this is the most likely reason: We know that impoverished women seek a disproportionate percentage of abortions. We also know that Black and Latina women make up a disproportionately large percentage of the impoverished. 2+2=4.

Here’s why it’s patronizing: That argument presupposes that Black women are not individuals who decide whether or not to have an abortion for personal reasons, but weak-minded, easily manipulated sheep who’ve been persuaded to by some outside agency to kill their babies. If you keep using the race argument, don’t be surprised if that’s what people hear, and don’t be surprised when you find it to be counterproductive and actually hardens someone’s position against you.

While I appreciate you taking the time to educate me, the only thing I’ve really learned is that the facts you raised are unsupported. I do not buy into the character assassination of Planned Parenthood based on wholly unreliable evidence and on mischaracterizations of its founder, and neither should you. As for “protecting the wrong people,” I am “protecting” the ability of millions of poor women to access free or low cost reproductive health services and, yes, to seek abortions if they’ve decided they need to get one. As long as it’s legal, poor women should have the same control over their bodies that wealthier women have. I don’t think those poor women are “the wrong people.”

Thanks again for taking the time to write, and for reading Candorville. I hope you’ve realized now that, when you read an opinion in Candorville that you disagree with, it’s not because it’s not a well-informed opinion. It’s because we simply disagree.

  • Lupinssupins

    Whoa! Sorry — I'd meant to break that mammoth block of text in my 2nd paragraph into smaller paragraphs! I guess very few will slog all t he way thru it! Esp. it being almost a week older than this panel. Sometimes ranters gotta rant. Maybe I'll try to work up the nerve to cut & paste it onto the less anonymous Facebook page where my Repub fb friend posted the Nat Review "exposé"?

    • Darrin Bell

      Thanks for that excellent post. It's inspired a storyline I hope to get to in the next few weeks!

      • Lupinssupins

        I'm honored. I hope you get to it, too! Wondering which of my many scattershot points it'll involve.

  • Lupinssupins

    Thank you, Darrin, for doing this last minute cartoon which so pointedly skewers those out to kill Planned Parenthood. I commend you even more so for penning such an excellent, point-by-point rebuttal of "Steven's" mindless repetition of the right-wing blogosphere's slander of the organization and its founder. You do a great job debunking their absurd statistics and so-called "stings" and putting Margaret Sanger's all-too-human flaws into the context of her era. [After all, even the Great Emancipator, born 203 years ago tomorrow, was guilty of even more racist writing and ideas and most of us still celebrate his memory.]

    Thank you also for coining "ACORNing" as a verb; brilliant! It and the bogus "sting" practices against ACORN and now Planned Parenthood are also exactly the tactics used to attempt to "prove" the necessity for Voter ID laws. See, inter alia, this crap from the National Review:…. This article, posted by a Facebook friend of mine, is totally cringeworthy. It includes a charge that, if true, would surely be leading even on even their most hated "Lame Stream Media outlets": "Elsewhere [than NH, site of their "sting" of sending fake voters into polling places pretending to be dead people still on the rolls], the total ballots cast by the dead exceeded the winning margins in several high-profile elections," stuffed in the middle of the article. Wow- should be its LEAD, right? I read the whole piece of tripe, wondering where this mythical "Elsewhere" might be– Even ONE true example might change my opposition to the ID laws! But no, their phrase "the total ballots cast by the dead" was completely made up! The "examples" the author went on to cite were merely examples of close races [e.g., the Iowa caucuses, which are, like my Missouri's expensive primary, a mere beauty contest], with NO evidence from ANY source even hinting at so much as ONE vote in the name of a single dead person. And no one, other than these Acorners, has any motivation to vote as a dead person. First, one has to find the names of dead people still on the rolls, Second, one has to find stooges of approximately their age or made up to pass for their age. We see that Step Two is all too easy– just find some TP trolls. Third, one has to figure out districts [or, given the winner-take-all Electoral College, entire states] which HAVE enough dead people still on the rolls to make a dime's worth of difference in a given election. Fourth, most difficult, one's hired trolls have to be willing to risk the penalties for voter fraud if they're caught. All of which is a lot more work than these bogus "stings." The fact remains that the only voter fraud that 's ever been even rumored to have been successful has taken place behind the scenes, in situations where voter ID laws would be entirely ineffective and irrelevant! These are FAR more likely to involve PREVENTING votes [as was widespread in 1972, when I knew several people, including my future husband, in our mostly black Congressional district (repped by civil rights pioneer Bill Clay) who were told that they were dead!] or losing ballots, than by allowing fraudulent ones. And except, only theoretically, for small, paper-ballot towns, actual, successful vote buying exists only in our distant past– e.g., Daley's Chicago, Kingfish's Louisana or Tammany Hall New York.

    Quite frankly, if I try to verify something on-line, if it's susceptible to a fairly straightforward word search [and NOT, e.g., something like "John Smith and New York and cancer study] and ALL it brings up for pages & pages, is BLOGS [usually sharing the exact same wording], then I'ma say it's pretty sketchily sourced. Unfortunately, the right seems to think that that's rock solid proof.— Unless, of course, they disagree with it; then it's all just the "liberal blogosphere."

  • Canoeswamp

    Inflammatory rhetoric aside, here are a few numbers to consider:

    The $700,000 donation from the Komen Foundation represents .07% of PP's budget.

    PP preforms about 320,000 abortions a year at an average cost of $450 each. $14.4 million dollars is about 15% of PP's budget. Unless they pay much less for an abortion.

    In 2000, four people died in roll-over accidents prompting the recall of 6.5 million tires and the end of a 100 year business/family relationship between Ford and Firestone.

    Between 2003 and 2005, 4 children died in Graco's baby strollers, and 2 million strollers were recalled.

    In 2008, eleven people died from eating salmonella tainted tomatoes, and the entire tomato industry was shut down for the season.

    Since 1775, there have been 848,163 combat fatalities of military personnel.

    America aborts about 1.3 million babies a year.

    Since Roe v. Wade, America has aborted 50 million babies.

    Just a few things to think about.

    • kenecollier

      You might want to calculate how many of those abortions result from unplanned pregnancies that could be avoided if Planned Parenthood and other organizations got funding to do more education.

      • Shalva_sf

        What for? It's easier and more convincing just to throw numbers at people. 🙂

      • ChayaFradle

        You forget, Ken. Sex ed is also as feared from the right as is abortion,

  • ChayaFradle

    This is going to get worse as the election nears. I see a whole group of people wanting to roll back all sorts of advances, even to the point of re-establishing the separate but equal laws and forbidding women to vote. Even to the point where husbands can again have their wives committed to mental institutions without women having a say. Yep, these people really want to go backwards.

    • bcmayes

      That's what they mean by "taking our country back."

      • ChayaFradle

        Hahaha. 🙂

        • Shalva_sf

          Well, when you have people like Ann Coulter who wants to prohibit women from voting, because they're stupid and tend to vote for democrats, why are we surprised that the same people want to prohibit women to chose what to do with their bodies…

  • ChayaFradle

    Darrin, looks as if you hit a nerve here with this strip. Good for you!

  • Aric Dilbeck

    Why is everything always left vs right?…"all conservatives want things to be corporation-y" "all liberals want a nanny state" Both sides have huge flaws, the the desperate need of people to Identify with one side and villify the other is whats causing so much crap. chill world, chill.

    • ChayaFradle

      That's because left vs right is what is happening at the present moment politically. The others are just blah blah blah'ing.

  • Michael Ventrella

    Wow, that's great. Either you had a very short lead time on this strip or had planned on doing it anyway and the timing was perfect!

    • Darrin Bell

      I sent this to them very last-minute, last week when the foundation defunded them.

  • Zirconia Wolf

    The minute I read today's cartoon I dreaded looking at the "comments" section as I knew that there would be at least one post by a f-ing right winger trying to peddle half-truths & misinformation off as gospel.

    You know: like right wingers ALWAYS do when confronted with inconvenient things like "facts."

    Of course I wasn't disappointed (sigh) but what was encouraging is that (so far at least) it's only been 1 fear monger vs 7 (8 if you count me) non-fear peddlers, which gives me hope that maybe the right wing has finally gone so far out on the "let's cater to the vocal minority in our party" branch that they will soon come crashing down to the ground. (With luck they will land on top of the entire Tea Party movement & put a merciful end to that entire travesty. Hey, one can dream, can't one?)

  • John

    I do like how a) SGK Foundation started getting looked at closely as a result of their debacle, and b) PP got a big bump in donations as a result.

    (One writer, John Scalzi, is donating his ebook sales for the week to PP, and it's got a couple of days left to go before it ends. See &lt ;> for more information.)

  • ChayaFradle

    I looked it up, Pooper. There is one aspect of the Republican party which is trying to take over the whole party, because they are too pro-big business and not strict enough in standing up for discriminating against gays in the workplace. This is the 20% or so of the ultra right of the party which wants to put down anything and anyone, and any business which gives aid to a business or charity which openly accepts gays and lesbians. They wanted Home Depot, for example, to not hire gays, and Home Depot told them where to shove it. They also wanted the big businesses to come out on the side of pro-life, and they were told that the businesses didn't want to get involved in these political issues and didn't want to discuss social issues. Only business. When they do fund a liberal charity, it is because they feel the majority of people want it to be so. (Not the 20% of you who hate.)

  • ChayaFradle

    Where do you get your info about $ coming from big business? From the conservative right blogging groups?

    • Darrin Bell

      Yes, that's exactly where he gets it from. If you search for the issues he raises, all you'll find are links to right wing blogs and Fox News' Sean Hannity. First they demonized Planned Parenthood, now they're demonizing the very concept of a medical referral. Not to mention they seem to pretend they've never heard of cervical cancer, something else Planned Parenthood screens for on a regular basis.

  • ChayaFradle

    Hey, Party Pooper. You're wrong. See:… There are different types of planned parenthood clinics. Each may do a different thing. So, if one doesn't do cancer screening, they refer you to one which does, and they are both planned parenthood.

  • Party Pooper

    Uh, Darrin? I know you're a cartoonist, and not much acquainted with the real world, but even you ought to be aware of something:


    In case you had trouble reading that, I'll repeat it slowly. PLANNED. PARENTHOOD. DOESN'T. DO. MAMMOGRAMS. They never have. Don't take my word for it- call your local PP outlet, tell them your wife or daughter needs a mammogram, and ask when they can fit her in. Know what they'll tell you? "Sorry, we don't do those… we can refer you to another clinic that will."

    So, the idea that millions of poor women will be denied cancer screening if PP is defunded is not only false, it's idiotic.

    Incidentally, if you check, you'll find that Planned Parenthood is one of Big Business' favorite charities. The Fortune 500 LOOOOOVES Planned Paren5thood, and gives them tons of money every year.

    Ever stop to ask yourself why Big Business is so eager to shower cash on such a group? Hmm?

    • bcmayes

      You're right, Planned Parenthood doesn't provide mammograms.

      What they provide is a referral service that allows the women referred to get them for free.

      A breast exam & mammogram cancer screening costs $250-$800. Unless you are a working poor, uninsured woman with a referral from a Planned Parenthood clinic. In that case, Planned Parenthood will absorb all transaction costs involved in getting the mammogram so that it is free to you, the referred woman.

      So, the idea that millions of poor women would have cancer screenings unavailable to them without PP is not only not idiotic, it's quite accurate. Well, unless they could come up with $250-800 out of pocket on their own, in which case they probably aren't poor or uninsured.

      Just had to add that as you obviously have put some time into researching what they don't do. but missed what they actually do.

  • pk1154

    Have the right-wing religious cranks begun to overreach? I sure hope so!

    (Andrei Codrescu was right.)

  • Shalva_sf

    Thank you for today's cartoon (hope you're not offended by this word :)). I was beyond myself (even being a male) when I read that Komen Foundation pulled their support from Planned Parenthood. I'm glad that there're comics like yours, that focus on more than a daily life of a "Family Circus" (I love them too btw)

    • Darrin Bell

      You're welcome, glad you liked it.