There is no Planned Parenthood Scandal


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Why was I ignoring the Planned Parenthood “scandal?” Because there was none.

Last week, Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey became the latest in what’s sure to be a long list of state attorneys general to conclude the same thing. Specifically, Healy concluded,

“Over the past week, my office has conducted a thorough review and found that Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ health care centers are fully compliant with state and federal laws regarding the disposition of fetal tissue. Although donation of fetal tissue is permissible under state and federal law, PPLM does not have a tissue donation program. There is no evidence that PPLM is involved in any way in the buying or selling of tissue. As such, our review is complete.”

Sure, Massachusetts is a leftward-leaning state, but Indiana is very much not. Back on July 16, Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., launched an investigation of Planned Parenthood following the release of what was obviously a doctored and misleading video. The probe focused on facilities in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville, and this past week the Indiana Department of Health reported it was “unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations. Therefore, no deficiencies were cited.”

I’m hardly shocked by this, in fact i’m not at all. Facts are brutally clear here, from the Salon article:

Objective reality includes the following facts:

• Planned Parenthood is not selling fetus parts for profit or otherwise.

• Only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities involve abortions.

• Per the Hyde Amendment, no federal funds can be used for abortions. And there’s no evidence that Planned Parenthood has done so.

• Consequently, de-funding Planned Parenthood would put into jeopardy its ability tosave lives and, germane to this issue, prevent abortions. The Washington Post editorial board concluded:

“No federal money is used by Planned Parenthood to provide abortions except in some rare exceptions. So cutting off government funds, mostly through Medicaid and grants, would only hurt the thousands of people, most of them low-income women, who each day depend upon Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and other health services. Given that many of the clinics are in medically underserved areas, it’s a myth, as Republicans claim, that other providers can fill the gap. Shutting down clinics would make it harder for many women to obtain birth control — and the last thing either side of the abortion debate should want is an increase in unwanted pregnancies that result in more abortions.”

• Along those lines, in 2013 and 2014, 3,577,348 patients were provided with birth control services by Planned Parenthood. That’s upwards of 3.5 million potential abortions prevented. What happens when these services disappear? Maybe the press should quiz anti-choice Republicans about this one.

• Additionally, Planned Parenthood would lose the ability to conduct breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings — hundreds of thousands per year. It’d also lose the ability to perform thousands of vasectomies every year. How many unwanted pregnancies will result from the loss of this particular option?

• Journalist Nicholas Kristof reported that Planned Parenthood and other family planning facilities “prevent about one million unintended pregnancies a year, of which 345,000 would have ended in abortion.” This according to the nonpartisan Guttmacher Institute. Again, why do Republicans want to create circumstances that’s produce an additional million unintended pregnancies and a third-of-a-million abortions every year?

• If women who visit Planned Parenthood are forbidden from donating fetal tissue to biomedical labs, that tissue will be tossed in the waste bin. Republicans appear to prefer this option for some reason. Meanwhile, eliminating the legal tissue donation program would put a damper on research into preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

• Here’s a salient fact. When fetal tissue research was authorized by the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993, how many Republicans voted against that law? Exactly four. The other 41 Republicans voted “yea.” This, among other things, highlights how sensible Republicans were in 1993 compared to the lunatics running the show today.

Well, that settles that. I’m going to go back to being angry about the lion that got killed.

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