This is perhaps the hardest article I’ve had to write to date, just because this topic surfaces so many emotions for so many people on both sides of the aisle. I think that educating ourselves is the best way to evaluate controversial topics such as this.
Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health services to both American citizens and those who live outside of the United States. According to its 2013-2014 annual report, out of the total 10,590,433 services that they provided, only 327,653 of those services were abortion procedures. That equals out to a measly 3 percent of all services provided.
Not all locations provide abortions, and not all locations that provide abortions collect donated fetal tissue. According to an article by the Washington Examiner, “only three states have been involved in donating fetal tissue.” Donating fetal tissue to research is completely legal, for the same reason organ donation is legal. Of course selling the tissue would be illegal, but no matter what the recent videos may say, Planned Parenthood does not sell baby body parts.
According to a report done by I Stand With Planned Parenthood, five states have already investigated their branches of Planned Parenthood and each of them spent taxpayer money to conclusively prove that there was no wrongdoing. Eight states have even rejected investigating their branches saying that the videos were clearly falsified and the claims baseless. Eight other states have scheduled investigations, but none of these pending states even collect donated tissue to begin with.
Also according to the 2013-2014 annual report, 41 percent of Planned Parenthood’s revenues come from government grants and reimbursements. The Hyde Amendment, a rider attached to every single appropriations bill, states that funds appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services cannot be used to perform abortions. According to the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, exceptions include termination of pregnancies that were a result of rape, incest or involve a severe health problem that could endanger the life of the mother.
The remaining 59 percent of their money comes from private contributions and non-governmental health organizations. Yes, Planned Parenthood would still be receiving funds even if the government decided to withdraw their monetary support, but what the government gives is such a large portion that it would suffer. I understand that some people believe that the government shouldn’t be supporting the efforts of any agency that performs abortions at all, but your taxpayer money isn’t funding abortions, it’s funding other health services that people are in desperate need of.
In fact, defunding Planned Parenthood would cost more taxpayer’s money than continuing to fund it would. According to the Congressional Budget Office, cutting funding would save $520 million over the next 10 years. They also concluded that the loss of funds would lead to more unplanned births to women who could not afford contraception, and Medicaid would have to pay for a portion of those children as they grow up, even into adulthood. If Planned Parenthood were defunded, the government would spend $650 million on Medicaid funding in the same ten year time period. This equals out to the taxpayers having to pay $130 million extra to defund Planned Parenthood.
97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are not abortion related. According to the 2013-2014 annual report, they also offer Sexually Transmitted Disease testing, contraception of various methods, pap smears, breast examinations, vasectomies and adoption referrals. The services that they provide are substantially more affordable and are even available without insurance coverage. For some rural communities, Planned Parenthood is the only available family-planning facility in the area.
Wendy Davis, the former state congresswoman known for her 11-hour filibuster of a Texas bill restricting abortion in 2013, has recently spoken out about the recent debate over defunding Planned Parenthood.
“We’re literally forcing women into being childbearing vessels,” Davis said. “(But) how are the children of the women who were forced to bear them going to be fed and educated?”
Planned Parenthood gives affordable healthcare to countless amounts of both men and women. Defunding this organization would hinder the availability of this affordable healthcare and would unreasonably restrict a right that everyone has, the ability to plan your own family.