Op-Ed: House Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood was an Unjustified Attack on Women’s Health

Sarah Wagner October 19, 2015 2
Op-Ed: House Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood was an Unjustified Attack on Women’s Health
A #standwithPP sign. The campaign #standwithPP went viral as social media users shared their support for Planned Parenthood online. Photo from NARAL Massachusetts website.

On Friday Sept. 18, the US House of Representatives voted in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. Attacks on the organization have been in full gear ever since highly edited videos surfaced regarding the organization’s use of fetal tissue for research purposes.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.25.47 AMThe videos in question are not reason enough to shut down funding for an organization that provides 5,180,000 men and women with sexual and reproductive health care, education and outreach each year. Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource for women and men who are in need of reproductive care, and voting to defund it is disgraceful.

The videos in question show Planned Parenthood donating fetal tissue for research purposes, which is legal. There were questions over whether or not they were profiting off of sales, which is illegal, but money they receive only covers transportation and nothing more.

In short, the video was nothing but a mix of lies put together by The Center for Medical Progress, a group that has actively been working against planned parenthood for years.  The video also includes random footage of an allegedly illegally obtained stillborn child passed off as an aborted fetus.

But the reality is that the videos are being used as an excuse to finally take action against abortion, something that pro-life politicians have wanted to do for years. These doctored videos just give them the opportunity to do so.  The Supreme Court determined that abortion was a basic human right in the 1973 case Roe V. Wade.

But even those against abortion should appreciate the work that Planned Parenthood does, since their services have averted an estimate of 217,000 abortions that would have happened if not for their work in preventative care. How ironic.

What is even more ridiculous about this situation is that only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion services. And moreover, the Hyde Amendment asserts that Planned Parenthood or other healthcare providers cannot use government funds on abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.

So what is congress reallyScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.26.58 AM working to defund? We’re talking about STD testing services, cancer screening and prevention, contraception and other women’s health services.

That is not okay.  Women in this country, especially those in lower income areas, depend on Planned Parenthood to keep them safe and cared for.

Many have argued that the funds for Planned Parenthood would not be removed, just redistributed. But the fact of the matter is that Planned Parenthood is a household name that people know and trust.  Until and unless there is proof that they have committed a crime, our government has a responsibility to keep them funded so that women across America have access to the reproductive healthcare they trust. The fact that this issue could cause a government shutdown is really just sad.

We have come a long way from a time when women sought back alley abortions or tried to use dangerous methods to perform their own abortion.  We’ve come a long way from a time when women would kill themselves because they didn’t want to face their families finding out that they were pregnant and preventing them from getting an abortion.

We are lucky enough to have groups like Planned Parenthood that will be there if we need them — one in five women visits a Planned Parenthood in her life, so clearly the services they provide benefit women. We need to support Planned Parenthood until and unless legitimate evidence is brought against them.


  1. Ms. Gold October 24, 2015 at 3:07 PM -

    Thanks for presenting the facts on the Planned Parenthood video leaks. Planned Parenthood provides important services for women and families and it would be a travesty for it to be denied support based on illegally obtained and fraudulent recordings.