Speaker Ryan Adds Planned Parenthood To Obamacare Repeal

Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

An all-out attack on Planned Parenthood has just been announced by the GOP. Today Speaker Ryan announced that defunding of Planned Parenthood would be part of the Obamacare reconciliation bill. Using the reconciliation process skates around a potential Democratic filibuster and allows a straight up vote. Not only are Republicans trying to slip though this procedural vote with minimal debate, they are also making it harder for millions of women to receive preventative care.

Republicans have been spoon feeding their supporters lies to further propagate their agenda. After the well publicized (doctored) videos that were released last year, understanding the implications of Planned Parenthood has taken a backseat to a vile debate consuming the radical right. Here are several of those refuted lies:

Lie #1: Planned Parenthood is solely funded by the Government. Fact: Planned Parenthood only receives about 1/3 of its funding, roughly $500 million, from Medicaid payments. The $500 million is applied in the same manner Medicaid is used by all doctors’ offices across the country, for routine check-ups and preventative healthcare. Given the low operating costs of Planned Parenthood and current geography, their reach is significant across all demographics of women providing a benefit to our Healthcare system. Also, no tax dollars can be used for abortions by law. Several GOP candidates are on record stating this false claim over the past several years, and will probably continue through this budget fight.

Lie #2: Planned Parenthood is primarily an abortion facility. Fact: Only three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion related. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood activities focus on prevention as 80 percent of clients receive services on preventing unintended pregnancy. In fact, Planned Parenthood services helps prevent approximately 516,000 unintended pregnancies each year. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests and nearly 500,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer. Planned Parenthood also provides 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including 700,000 HIV tests.

Lie #3: Planned Parenthood broke the law selling fetal tissue. Fact: A law was passed in 1993 with overwhelming bi-partisan support allowing aborted fetuses to be donated (also allowing collecting fees to cover donation costs). The bill passed the Senate 93-4 with current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signing his name supporting the law. Donating fetal tissue from abortion clinics has been occurring for over 20 years even though many Americans are now discovering the practice.

Lie #4: Stopping Planned Parenthood will stop the transferring of fetal tissue from abortions. Fact: Shutting down Planned Parenthood will not stop this practice. Republicans are using everything in their power to block funding to Planned Parenthood which is completely disingenuous. With Republicans controlling both chambers of the legislative branch and the White House they could push through legislation banning fetal tissue donations immediately. But such legislation is problematic for their party as campaigns are funded by pharmaceutical companies that need fetal tissue for vaccination research, stem cell discoveries, and general health. Every year the Pharmaceutical industry spends roughly a quarter billion in annual lobbying efforts to influence such legislation. Pharma companies gave 30 million in campaign donations in both 2012 and 2014 primarily to Republicans. In fact, Mitch McConnell received over $350,000 from the pharma industry for his last campaign, the most of any politician.

I understand the emotional response regarding Planned Parenthood. Pro-life supporters have invested significant emotional capital in this debate. With that being said I also find the pattern of deceit and misleading propaganda by Planned Parenthood opponents as cause for concern. If the desired end game is to stop all abortions, shutting down Planned Parenthood is the wrong course of action given their significant work around family planning. The abortion rate has been cut in half over the past 30 years driven by access to contraceptives and education which Planned Parenthood is the leader in providing. I know Republicans are eager to jump on the “defund Planned Parenthood” bandwagon, but any negative action regarding tax-payer funding will only contradict their pro-life cause and make a bad situation even worse.

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