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Protect Planned Parenthood

Recently there has been a lot of talk in the news about Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was sent back into the spotlight this summer after an anti-abortion group recorded and released videos of employees discussing fetal tissue donation. These videos reheated the debate on abortion and sparked major upheaval from the GOP.

These videos show Planned Parenthood employees negotiating fetal tissue for large sums of money. These videos were filmed secretly and in many cases illegally, without consent of those in the videos. They were filmed by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which is an organization convinced that PP is dedicated to the sale of “baby parts” and is coercing women into getting abortions in order to generate profits.

While you may question how these videos could be illegitimate, there are a lot of facts that prove otherwise. These videos are coming from very untrustworthy sources and are completely made up.

David Daleiden, the 26-year-old face of CMP – which misrepresented itself as a biomedical charity to the IRS in order to gain nonprofit status – believes in “fetal personhood.” That is to say he thinks any pregnancy at any stage deserves to be afforded the same rights as a born human. He wrote his senior thesis on the subject. The most important point about fetal personhood is that abortion at any stage is considered an act of murder, and forms of birth control that prevent implantation are also considered abortion and acts of murder.

Daleiden has worked with Live Action, another anti-abortion operation that years ago unsuccessfully tried to use similar undercover video tactics to discredit and take down Planned Parenthood. Live Action’s public face is Lila Rose, who opposes birth control and believes abortion “doesn’t un-rape a woman” – or that people who become pregnant as a result of rape shouldn’t be allowed to get abortions.

But wait, there’s more. On CMP’s board of directors is a man named Troy Newman, who’s best known for his work with the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue harassed Kansas abortion provider George Tiller for years. The group has even proudly detailed its campaign against him. The harassment never stopped, until a man named Scott Roeder gunned down Tiller, killing the doctor while he was at church.

Police later found the phone number for Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger on a note in Roeder’s car. Sullenger served time in the Eighties for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic. Roeder has said that he had been communicating with Sullenger and Newman about “justifiable homicide” against abortion providers before he killed Tiller. Both of the Operation Rescue leaders denied this after Tiller’s murder.

There is not a secret black market for baby parts. Many states, so far 10, have launched large-scale investigations of PP’s fetal tissue donation and none have found a black market as CMP claims. “Baby parts,” as used by the CMP, is not even a legitimate medical term (I mean, come on.) Women who choose to donate their fetal tissue after an abortion do so because they want to help others, not because they are forced or coerced. In the past, many doctors utilized fetal tissue for amazing medical advancements such as the polio vaccine and the current work to cure ALS. Yeah ALS, remember all those buckets of ice dumped on your head?

The work that PP does with these fetal tissue donations is completely legal. “Planned Parenthood recoups the costs of storing and transporting tissue for the many, many other entities, some of them public, that use fetal tissue to conduct research, and it’s totally legal for Planned Parenthood, or any other medical entity that participates in fetal tissue donation programs, to collect this reimbursement.” (Rolling Stone)

CMP’s attack on PP is simply about abortion. They are using exaggeration, deception and dishonesty to attack a procedure that is very legal, very safe, and very common. CMP intends to make abortion out right illegal, and the GOP is on board with defunding PP. Annually, Planned Parenthood receives about $500 from the government. Data from the Congressional Budget Office states that “cutting off the women’s health organization from federal money would actually increase public spending by an estimated $130 million over 10 years.” (Washington Post).

Republicans are vowing to reject any proposal that includes Planned Parenthood receiving this money. Many of the people who support the defunding of Planned Parenthood argue that it won’t be a big deal, that people who have utilized PP’s services can see just see a doctor and get whatever they need. This is a very wrong idea.

PP effectively and inexpensively serves a large percentage of Americans who need to utilize cheap or free reproductive health care services. To be exact, out of the 491 U.S counties that have PP health centers, 332 of these counties serve at least half of all safety-net family planning client centers, and 103 of these counties are the only safety-net family planning centers. (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). If clinics close, these patients will have nowhere to go, the remaining clinics cannot handle a major influx of patients and there will be no facilities comparable to PP.

Republicans are working to do away with abortions but are ignoring the major repercussions of defunding all the other non abortion services that they offer. In fact, abortion services are only 3% of what PP provides. Their other services include providing 400,000 pap smears and 500,000 breast exams each year; services that are critical in detecting cancer, the 80% of their services focused on prevention of unintended pregnancies; these services help prevent nearly 516,000 unintended pregnancies each year, the nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for STDs and STIs and their educational and outreach programs that are provided to 1.5 million young people and adults. (PlannedParenthood.org)

Opponents are also ignoring the fact that banning abortion will not make abortions stop. Right now, women can get safe and legal abortions, in a safe and clean medical environment. If that is done away with, they will turn to illegal and dangerous options. Regardless, abortions will still exist.

Even through all of this controversy, Planned Parenthood has stuck to its mission of helping people. The women going to Planned Parenthood and receiving abortions, using birth control, or using the countless other services offered are not murderers or bad people.

Planned Parenthood is about more abortion. It’s about helping people of all genders receive safe and inexpensive health care, where they otherwise might not have that option.

If you want to help save Planned Parenthood:

Visit the Planned Parenthood action center here for updates.

Contact your senator and house representative by calling or emailing them. If you’re unsure of what to say take a helpful template here.

Make a donation.

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