Miss New York’s Kira Kazantsev has just been crowned the new Miss America, and that should be a happy occasion. Instead, she’s removing social media profiles and being dubbed a baby killer. Her crime? The right wing discovered that she spent three months interning for a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Hempstead, N.Y.
“According to her Linked-In profile, Kazantsev interned at Planned Parenthood in Hempstead, New York,” reports LifeNews. “Her job duties at the company that snuffs out of the lives of young baby girls? ‘Assisted delivery of programs in local public schools, teaching children about mutual respect & self-esteem’ and ‘Conducted research on Planned Parenthood Education.’ So the woman representing the nation as the new Miss America interned for the very organization that has killed millions of Americans in abortions.”
Of course, Kazantsev wasn’t actually “snuffing out the lives of young baby girls” as part of her internship. That hasn’t stopped anti-abortion activists from bemoaning Kazantsev’s past and declaring it will besmirch the name of the Miss America pageant forever. “It would be a tragedy if someone who is looked up to by many young women actually buys into the Planned Parenthood abortion agenda,” National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said to Fox News. “Unfortunately, most people in the country don’t know that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider. This will cast a shadow on her entire reign.”
Since the pageant win, Kazantsev has stated that she will be making domestic violence awareness part of her platform in her year as Miss America, using her own personal story of intimate partner violence as a resource and example. That the far right would rather talk about her 90 days helping out with sex education classes and teaching “mutual respect and self-esteem” topics, and frame them as “baby murder” shows exactly how irrational they have become about Planned Parenthood as an entity and anything that touches it as somehow tainted and evil.
Anti-abortion activists have long decried any bit of funding that goes to a Planned Parenthood affiliate as taxpayer subsidizing of abortion, even to affiliates that do not provide abortion services. In Okalahoma that was taken to the extreme when the state decided to defund the WIC programs in the Tulsa Planned Parenthood affiliates, even though no Tulsa affiliates provided abortion. Texas defunding of reproductive health services and contraception subsidies was so extreme that some clinics have deaffiliated from Planned Parenthood and resurrected in order to be once more eligible for funds. The clinics argue that jumping through the additional hoop is necessary to ensure that resources continue to make it to low income and rural underserved populations.
Still, nothing is enough to lessen the anti-abortion activists’ ire. They have sent “patients” into Planned Parenthood facilities to ask leading questions about bondage, then claimed the organization is pushing S&M on children. They demanded parents pull girls out of Girls Scouts and that everyone boycott the cookies because of alleged ties to the organization. A coach at a Catholic school even lost her job over volunteering with a Planned Parenthood affiliate over the summer.
The right wing frenzy over Planned Parenthood has gone beyond vendetta and has now reached the level of being absolutely unhinged. To them, any interaction with the provider at any time, for any reason, no matter how short, long, current or past, has left you a tainted “baby murderer.” Their irrational ability to cope with any public perception of Planned Parenthood as anything other than their evil arch-nemesis has reached truly ridiculous proportions, and that reaction is now on full public display.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is taking the latest controversy in stride, just as they have with many of the past conservative outrages of the day. “Several past Miss Americas have supported Planned Parenthood’s mission,” they told Huffington Post, “and we’re thrilled and proud that one of our former interns is the new Miss America.”