In yesterday’s Courant, David Lightman uncritically reports Congressman Chris Shays’ view that social conservatism is politically “deadly” in the Northeast. In typical fashion, what Lightman does not report is Shays’ relationship with an organization that is literally deadly: Planned Parenthood.

From Lightman’s Courant story:

The social issues [President Bush] has championed to great success elsewhere – banning gay marriage, outlawing abortion, promoting prayer in schools and public places – play poorly in the Northeast.

“The social conservative issues are deadly for our country and those of us who represent the Northeast,” Shays said.

From a story in Saturday’s Connecticut Post:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4, traveled to Africa this month to learn firsthand the effect of President Bush’s ban on federal funding for overseas family-planning services. He got a stark answer in Uganda.

Sitting in a circle outside a crowded waiting room at the Naguru Teen Center, Shays casually asked the Ugandan youths how many of them had lost a parent to HIV/AIDS. The hands of seven out of 11 shot up.

“A parent, not just a family member. It just so dramatically demonstrates how pressing the needs are there,” said Susan Yolen, director of Connecticut Planned Parenthood, who hosted the trip with Planned Parenthood Global Partners [emphasis added].

The gist of the article is that–unsurprisingly–a Planned Parenthood-paid trip to Uganda to meet with Planned Parenthood-approved groups leaves one with the impression that abstinence-until-marriage programs are bad and condom-access programs are good.

Leave aside for the moment the fact that Uganda may be the country that most disproves this logic, as Rod Dreher has noted for the last few years. (And let us note only in passing the facts that disprove the premise of Shays’ Courant quote: the leading Senate candidate in Pennsylvania is a pro-life Democrat, the Senator in trouble in Rhode Island is a pro-abortion Republican, etc.) The interesting thing, in light of his quote in yesterday’s Courant, is what Planned Parenthood is doing with Rep. Shays and why:

Yolen said the trip to Africa had been in the works for at least two years. She said the experience would allow Shays to correct misconceptions in Congress and hopefully head off legislation that could make matters worse…

[Shays] did not publicize the Africa trip, which was paid for by Planned Parenthood, leading some political observers to question his silence.

“He probably didn’t play it up because there is no political benefit to doing that,” said Scott McLean, a professor of politics at Quinnipiac University. “He would alienate the right talking about Planned Parenthood.”

In fact, the trip–“played up” or not–does raise questions about Rep. Shays’ relationship to Planned Parenthood and the extent to which that relationship influences his views. But given the MSM’s pro-abortion bias, these questions are, of course, relegated to an afterthought in the last sentence of the Post piece:

[Another politics professor] also said paid trips have come under fire as an ethics scandal has intensified the atmosphere for reform.

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