The Attack on Planned Parenthood

Today the House of Representatives voted 240-185 to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. I am appalled by this irrational, misguided decision. Nothing about this vote makes sense. It effectively ends much needed reproductive healthcare under the guise of preventing the federal funding of abortions--regardless of the fact that Planned Parenthood is already not allowed to use federal funding to pay for abortion procedures.

Frankly, it scares me to live in a country where this twisted form of logic makes any sense. Let's break down a few pertinent points:
1. Abortions are legal in the United States.
2. Federal funding is not allowed to be used for abortions.
3. Abortions only account for three percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood.
4. Planned Parenthood does not use federal funding for abortions, but does rely on it to provide reproductive healthcare, such as contraception, pre-cancer screenings, HIV testing and treatments for STDs.
5. Abortions are legal in the United States.
Yes, one of those points was listed twice. It bears repeating. Stripping Planned Parenthood (which does not use federal funding for abortion procedures) of federal funding because they perform abortions (which are legal) is simply absurd. But it is not the most absurd piece of this story...

Mike Pence, the congressman behind the defunding of Planned Parenthood, sought this action because--thanks to the so-called sting by Live Action--he believes Planned Parenthood supports sex workers and human trafficking.

For those out there who haven't heard of this questionable "sting" by Live Action, here's an overview: Live Action sent people posing as patients to several Planned Parenthood centers and secretly filmed their exchanges. Once alone with a clinic employee, he claimed to be in the sex-trade, working with under-aged girls, and asked about obtaining healthcare services for them. (Most often it was one man, but in some cases a man and woman went to a clinic together.)

In most cases, the employees answered his questions within the scope of what is legal. (IDs required for services, age of consent laws, etc.) They then reported the cases to the authorities (in at least one case, they also reported the make, model and license plate of the man's car). There was one instance in New Jersey where the Planned Parenthood manager responded inappropriately (offering suggestions for getting around the laws) and she has been fired.

Live Action is bent on discrediting Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions (which are legal). They set up situations designed to put clinic employees in questionable positions. How would you respond in the same situation? Would you tell off someone who could potentially be a violent criminal? Especially when you were alone with him? Personally, I think I would answer the questions about policy and then report the man as soon as he left. Which is what the majority of the employees did.

What's more, further analysis of Live Action's released videos shows that they have been doctored.

Despite the weak "evidence" uncovered in this Live Action "sting," the House of Representatives, led by Congressman Mike Pence, swiftly moved to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding. The fact that abortion is legal in this country, and the fact that Planned Parenthood does not use federal funding for abortion procedures, did not stop proponents from using abortion as an emotional tool to garner votes.

Republican Rep. Chris Smith, from New Jersey, had no qualms about reading out the gruesome details from an anti-abortionist's account of an abortion procedure. (Yes, the same Chris Smith behind the call for HR 3, which further limits abortion and introduces the ridiculous "forcible rape" terminology.)

Smith's comments did one thing he may not have expected. They prompted Rep. Jackie Speier to speak out about her own late-term abortion. It was a procedure that had become medically necessary 17 weeks into her pregnancy, and it happened to be the same procedure Smith had just described.

Speaking out for women everywhere, Speier described her situation, then said:
"But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest, as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous. To think that we are here tonight debating this issue when the American people, if they are listening, are scratching their heads and wondering what does this have to do with me getting a job? What does this have to do with reducing the deficit? And the answer is nothing at all."  
"There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood, and it was played out in this room tonight. Planned Parenthood has a right to operate. Planned Parenthood has a right to provide services for family planning. Planned Parenthood has a right to offer abortions. Last time you checked abortions were legal in this country."
Since her speech, Speier has said that she couldn't stay quiet when listening to the debate. She says, "I sat there thinking, none of these men on the other side have even come close to experiencing this, and yet they can pontificate about what it's like. It just overwhelmed me." (See her full speech in the video clip below.)

To show your support for Planned Parenthood, please sign the organization's open letter to Congress. While at the site, consider making a donation or looking into other ways to take action. This isn't about providing abortions. It is a matter of providing reproductive healthcare services, including those which lower the number of unwanted pregnancies.


  1. I do not condone abortions. However, I do condone the freedom of women to choose their own morals, when those morals fall within current statutes.

    When I was "forced" by my employer to contribute to The United Way (because they wanted to claim 100% status for donations), I would always ensure the box was checked, indicating that I wanted 100% of my money going to Planned Parenthood.

    The purpose was logical to me. Since Planned Parenthood funnels most of its funding into programs for preventing childbirth, there would be less of a need for abortions on the back end. Planned Parenthood is a prophylactic for the abortions these "intellects" are trying to quell.

    I guarantee, there will be a rise in abortions in this country (since they are legal) when Planned Parenthood is not there to keep unwanted pregnancies in check on the front end.

    And as Rep. Jackie Speier made us aware, these procedures are normally the result of complications and not a form of birth control. They are necessary for the health of the mother and usually devastating to the entire family.

  2. Kenny, I had the same thought about there being an increase in abortions without Planned Parenthood's preventative services. I have never understood when people who are morally opposed to abortions also undercut the availability of effective birth control.

    Of course, Planned Parenthood provides many other services that are not related to birth control or abortions, such as breast exams, pap smears and HIV/STD testing and treatments. Republicans want to cut Planned Parenthood funding AND repeal universal healthcare. Which leaves what options for those who can't afford healthcare?

  3. This entire argument is silly. If we as a country can sponsor needless art exhibits and not health care for our citizens, we can truly see that our priorities are awry. We provide money to counties that they don't need, to fund programs to study the affects of fish breeding, and our citizens can not go to the doctor for routine care? We defund Planned Parenthood and yet don't provide an alternative for reproductive care and disease screening for low income people? None of this makes sense to me. I say abolish PlannedParenthood when a comprehensive health care program to provide quality health care for all our citizens is in place is the only viable option. Even a good Republican like me can see this whole thing is silly.

  4. @Kenny...I do hope that you contributed only $0.01 to teh United Way if you were forced to do so. I can't support that organization and would have a real issue giving them even a penny of my money. They do not suppor the scouting movement and we have been told that scouting is not relevant to today's youth. I know of many buseinsses that are run by scouters who are now former suporter of the United Way.

  5. By the way, the House also voted on Friday to continue spending $7 million each year on the military's Nascar sponsorship.

  6. It's unbelievable. I can't understand how a rational person could vote in favor of this bill. I think it just goes to show how out of touch our legislators really are.
    The NYT had an op-ed piece on it also.

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