In yesterday's weekly "Balance Of Power" chat, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson repeated one of the most inane and pernicious talking points that's cropped up of late in the debate over abortion, namely, that doctors are using the procedure as an opportunistic road to fantastic wealth!
Seattle: Tucker, haven't you said that there is no such thing as a "health-care industry" -- but now you're saying there IS an "abortion industry"? Can you explain the criteria you're using and why one is an industry and the other not?
Tucker Carlson: "Health care" is too broad a category. Is my kids' pediatrician in the same "industry" as the company that caters the meals at the local VA hospital? Only if the term is diluted to meaninglessness.
But what's more interesting to me is why it's considered so upsetting and out of bounds to describe for-profit abortion providers as part of an industry. Does it bother you to think that some doctors get rich performing abortions? (Some definitely do.) And if it does bother you, why do you think that is?
Oooh. Class war! Class war! Carlson's counterpart, Air America's Ana Marie Cox, was very quick to push back:
Ana Marie Cox: If you think doctors are "getting rich" performing abortions, you have to be talking about another country. China, maybe? Abortion providers in USA work in an "industry" where the price has not increased (and has in fact gone down) over the past 30 years, even though the technology/techniques have remained the same.
What's more, if there's so much money to be made, WHY ARE THERE SO FEW ABORTION PROVIDERS? According to the Guttmacher Institute, "Eighty-seven percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion provider in 2005; 35% of women live in those counties." (Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States )
When I was in high school, Nebraska had one abortion provider. Literally. One. North Dakota and South Dakota had none. Hey, med school students, WANNA GET RICH QUICK????
Oh, unless you're worried about getting killed. When George Tiller was murdered, the killer cut the number of abortion providers in Missouri [Ed. note: I think she means Kansas.] by a third.
Indeed, I have to say that if you've set your mind to a life of accruing wealth, I'd have to advise against going into business as an abortion provider. In a lengthy article in Jezebel about George Tiller, Megan Carpentier provides the several thousand reasons why, not the least of which is the fact that most of your profits will have to be reinvested in keeping your patients safe and yourself alive:
Protesters also hauled him in front of two citizen-driven grand juries, initiated confrontations intended to end with someone getting hurt and, you know, shot him twice.
In April 2006, though, a volunteer spotted an opportunity for confrontation in one small strip of pavement that he thought had been overlooked: the gutter running between the street and the clinic driveway. The volunteer knelt in the gutter to pray, placing himself in the path of vehicles entering the clinic.
According to the "incident report," a clinic nurse pulled up and "laid on her horn repeatedly." When the volunteer "acted as if he did not know that she was there," the report continued, a clinic guard told him that he was reporting him to the police.
The next day, Mr. Gietzen was standing in the gutter with his volunteer discussing the new tactic when Dr. Tiller pulled up in his armored S.U.V. In another "incident report," Mr. Gietzen wrote: "Tiller floored his accelerator, and aimed his Jeep directly at us!"
Mr. Gietzen claimed that Dr. Tiller's vehicle hit him, causing bruising. He promptly filed a police report, generating more news coverage. He then wrote to Dr. Tiller demanding a $4,000 settlement. When that went nowhere, he sued. He also demanded that Ms. Foulston prosecute Dr. Tiller for attempted murder.
The protesters were doing this even as they decried the fact that Dr. Tiller made money on his services, as though they're not the same right-wingers who are all for profit-driven health care to the point they're attempting to scuttle Obama's attempts at reform because of the future availability of government coverage today. Apparently, they felt Tiller and his family should have lived in poverty -- although the happily ignore the fact that a large part of his profits were spent securing himself, his employees and his patients from harassment and often-violent confrontations.
Instead he dug in, pouring his considerable profits into expanding his clinic and installing security cameras, bulletproof glass, metal detectors, fencing and floodlights. He hired armed guards, bought a bulletproof vest and drove an armored S.U.V. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on some of the state's best lawyers and recruited an intensely loyal staff that dubbed itself Team Tiller.
Anyway, as Ana Marie points out, there's an opportunity right now for someone in Kansas for anyone who wants to have the luxe life of a harassed and hunted provider of a perfectly legal medical service.