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"What a Trump America Can Learn from a Berlusconi Italy" New York Times

"The Black Swan President" Politico Magazine

"Teaching 1984 in 2016" The Atlantic

"Zadie Smith on the Politics of Fiction" The Atlantic

"Out Of The Gate And Into The Fire" Hoover Institution


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The Show Must Go On: Planned Parenthood

The Show Must Go On: Planned Parenthood

Three days ago in Iowa City, Carly Fiorina was faced with a group of protestors who donned pink shirts for Planned Parenthood. There were others dressed in birth control pills. Passionate chants went around, including a simple yet provoking phrase: “Women are watching—and we vote!”

The heat surrounding the Planned Parenthood debate began during the summer when the Center for Medical Progress disseminated several videos with graphic contents regarding fetal tissues. The videos included purported Planned Parenthood doctors callously mentioning gruesome details around the harvesting of fetal tissue. Since then, leading up to the debate now at the legislative level,  the videos have been uncovered as fake.

But why is this issue continuously circulating around the idea of the use of fetal tissues? The videos have been rendered fake. Although this may be true, the rest of the nation—at least half of us, I presume—wants the show to go on.

The answer to the question posed above lies in the meticulous way of how the Republican candidates are campaigning behind the fake videos. Their fervor and devotion in accepting the videos’ claims have been obvious to date. People follow and watch the trail to 2016, sparked by huge interest due to figures such as Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina.

Ever since the videos surfaced on the web, there has been a tide of Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. Recently this month, the House got enough votes to defund the healthcare clinic, with a 241-157 win. The arguments from the Republican side mainly focus on “unethical and possibly illegal” acts performed byPlanned Parenthood, as stated by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). He was a co-sponsor to the bill calling for defunding the healthcare clinic.

But the Democratic side has not stayed silent on this issue, either. In August, Elizabeth Warren addressed the members of Congress, comparing the defunding bill to the times before Roe vs. Wade.  In the same video, she went on to list previous Republican efforts against abortion, such as the time in March of 2015 when the Republicans halted “a non-controversial, bipartisan bill” that would “stop human trafficking” in order to “[demand] new anti-abortion restrictions.” Warren and other Democrats are continuing their efforts to stop the Republicans from finding a way to take the nation back to the 19th century. President Obama has also stated that he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

The Republican presidential candidates’ fight against Planned Parenthood is gaining successful ground among Americans because of this reason: although what they are claiming is not true, they are still speaking for the minds of at least half of America. They are building their campaigns around a matter the conservatives have been silent on. The fire has sparked on the conservative side—the same fire that has moved pro-choice supporters who won the legal battle the fight for access to safe abortion.

Political influence and powerful multimedia presence easily moves Americans. We like to see a good show, as the first GOP debate has shown. The only major fight that we see is between the Republican presidential candidates and their jabs against Hillary Clinton. Since we have not been able to witness the Democratic debate yet, the conservative presence on abortion will reside longer.

The more liberal side, which includes pro-choice advocates, seems to be quieter and more disoriented than the conservative side. Along with the reasons stated above, the pro-choice fight for Planned Parenthood may be on shaky grounds due to the overemphasis and repetitiveness of reasons on why Planned Parenthood is beneficial for the nation.

Both sides want to tell their versions of truths on abortion and Planned Parenthood.  What counts is that truth does not reveal itself easily. What happens is that people seek to conjure a lie disguised as a truth. That has been the easier route—well-marketed lies move people.

The videos from Center for Medical Progress successfully diverted the nation’s attention from the real importance of Planned Parenthood’s mission. The videos have narrowed the bigger purpose of the organization, which is healthcare.

This piece would not be complete without mentioning a crucial aspect of the exposé. The Center for Medical Progress and the participants of the production of the videos had a goal: to expose unethical practices of Planned Parenthood when it comes to abortion. But what they did was not exposing the truth. They built on a lie, and the lie dispersed like wildfire. They violated the trust of many viewers. And they certainly gave the conservative leaders of this nation another reason to question the Roe v. Wade decision. The filmmakers have taken advantage of their rights and in turn manipulated the minds of Americans, making people believe that these fetuses are fully grown and dying on hospital tables. I repeat: the videos are fake.

I may personally never know what it is like to face unintended pregnancy, if not forced pregnancy. If you have not thought about the receiving ends of backlash against Planned Parenthood, I would like to ask you to consider the following questions:

Can you imagine being a woman before Roe v. Wade? Can you imagine almost half of the nation scrutinizing a decision you made on complete legal basis?

I cannot emphasize enough how important women’s rights in this country are—not just on abortion but on everything that makes us human. We have the right to vote. We can exercise our rights to control our bodies. Why should we lose that now? How can we lose that now? 

- Yeho Hwang

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