The republican party recently made another jab at shutting down public access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services with a bill to end government funding of Planned Parenthood. Governor Rick Perry made a public statement claiming the organization should have their non-profit status taken away. This gross position stems from a hate video circulating that states the clinics have been receiving unlawful financial support from scientific research groups that study donated fetal tissue.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that legal experts say the sale of fetal tissue is illegal, but that reasonable payments for things like processing, storing, and transporting the specimens are okay. A Planned Parenthood representative has responded to the negative media attention by reassuring patients that this process is not about profiting from abortions. An excerpt from their website in regards to the backlash states that neither the patient nor Planned Parenthood benefits from the tissue donation, and that the costs for processing the samples are simply reimbursed. They also state the videos that were released are heavily edited, their patients are given the choice whether they want to donate the tissue to research, and that they have not broken any federal laws by participating in the donation process.
People everywhere are concerned that taking away the non-profit status of Planned Parenthood would rob them of access to essential community resources such as STD screenings and treatment, pap smears, HPV testing, cancer detection, pregnancy testing, birth control, condoms, emergency contraceptives, services for victims of abuse, rape, and human trafficking; and many other primary health care services. Hate groups target the health centers specifically because they provide people access to safe, legal abortions. This is a ridiculous reason to consider shutting down the entire organization, especially considering that only 3% of patient care provided there accounts for abortion-related visits.
In regards to this issue, Senator Elizabeth Warren begged her republican peers to consider that federal spending does not go towards abortions. “Most of the money that Planned Parenthood receives from the government comes in the form of Medicaid patients, for medical care provided to low-income patients, the same payments that any other doctor or clinic receives for providing cancer screenings or other medical exams. The rest of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from Title Ten that provides birth control to low-income and uninsured people.” She continues on to say, “The government doesn’t fund abortions, period. A vote today to defund Planned Parenthood is not a vote to defund abortion. It is a vote to defund cancer screenings, and birth control, and basic health care for millions of women.”
The vote to withdraw funding from the clinics failed on Monday, meaning that Planned Parenthood will continue to uphold their non-profit status for the foreseeable future. As a medical health professional I am relieved to know that justice has prevailed during the course of this event. As a long-time patient, and a person who has received assistance from Planned Parenthood countless times in my life, I say thank fucking goodness. If you are a person who is looking for non-biased, accurate health information or health services from compassionate providers who care about their patients please visit the Planned Parenthood website today.