This past week, Planned Parenthood’s President, Cecile Richards, made the decision to stop receiving reimbursement from fetal tissue donations. The statement derived from the many trials and investigations the women’s health center has been recently subjected to, thanks to a series of sting videos released by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the fetal tissue reimbursements. The angled and manipulative videos have heightened the provocation Republicans are using to attack Planned Parenthood and consequently, women’s health as well.
The investigations began when the videos were released this past July. State juries have put Planned Parenthood to trial, but more concerning yet is Congress. The federal hearings were led by a Republican-head committee, which means that already there was an agenda Planned Parenthood was facing up against.
As it is well known, Republicans strongly oppose Planned Parenthood; based on the fact the organization provides abortions to women. Even though abortions account for only 3% of the overall budget of Planned Parenthood, there have been many attempts at the state and federal level to slash their budget, close clinics, and overall reduce the number of services offered for women’s health. Furthermore, the government is Planned Parenthood’s biggest financial backer; so when Republicans begin to threaten to take away Planned Parenthood funds, they are threatening to essentially close the entire organization.
When the videos were released, Republicans jumped on the opportunity to again scrutinize Planned Parenthood. The creators of the video heavily edited the footage. Subsequently, the fetal tissue donation program has been distorted as an inhumane act of giving away ‘baby parts’ for the sole purpose of growing profit for the non-business entity. Yet, that is a gross misrepresentation of what the reimbursements actually are. Before any tissue is donated, a physician explains the process to the patients who wish to take part in this program, which is followed by their expressed consent. Thus, the reimbursements are legal transactions, and the funds given are used only to cover the expenses of transporting the fetal tissue to scientists, not to line the pockets of Planned Parenthood doctors. Finally, the fetal tissue is not being used as part of some grotesque science experiment, but rather as research for stillbirth and pregnancy complications.
Notably, only two Planned Parenthood clinics implemented the fetal tissue donation program. This means Republicans are attacking the women’s health initiative for the absolutely legal actions of the entirety of two clinics. Even though Republicans may be intending to only stop abortions, they are actually impending influential research that is being conducted, thanks to willing participators. Furthermore, the wider scope of essential services Planned Parenthood provides, such as STI testing and breast cancer screenings, are collateral damage to the vicious scrutiny. Republicans are threatening the healthy and supportive space for the care and treatments that Planned Parenthood provides for women.
Although this investigation is an unfortunate hit to the organization, Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice-President of Planned Parenthood, denotes that Republicans may continue to try using scare tactics, like this trial, to attack Planned Parenthood, but as long as people realize the larger matter at stake—which is women’s health—there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
– Maria Margarita Caicedo
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