The House of Representatives’ latest attempts to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood reveals that, for them, it is a priority to be tough on abortion even when the only real harm being done is limiting access to medical services for low-income women.
The latest blow against Planned Parenthood comes from a video made by anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress where employees of the women’s clinic talk about selling fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has said that the transaction filmed was about donations.
This revived Republican hostility against the organization, which conservatives see as the worst advocate for abortion. That is why they want to deprive it from federal funding. As is common in these cases, not everything they are saying and implying is accurate.
For instance, it has been determined that the over-$500 million the organization receives in federal funds – representing more than 40% of its budget – cannot be used to terminate pregnancies. Medicaid and Title X funds – the latter is a federal family planning program – are only applied towards abortions in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.
An independent estimate found that only 12% of Planned Parenthood’s activities are related to abortion. Most of their work focuses on cancer detection, tests, venereal disease treatment, family planning and a guide to navigate Obamacare.
Planned Parenthood provides an important service to hundreds of thousands of Latinas, generally young ones. Hispanics women present the highest levels of reproductive cancers, unplanned births and sexually-transmitted diseases.
If the purpose of cutting these funds is to prevent taxpayer money from being used to pay for the abortions of the poor, that protection is already in place. Although it is not necessary to suspend the funding, the real intention is to destroy Planned Parenthood regardless of the consequences. Redistributing the funds to other clinics does not guarantee that they will provide the same services as Planned Parenthood.
This zeal against Planned Parenthood is an aggression directed at low-income women who currently depend on the organization to obtain basic health services.