The facts?* For millions of low income Americans, most of them women, Planned Parenthood is their only source for birth control, HIV and STD testing and other necessary care.
Planned Parenthood is the difference between life and death for some women; the mammograms and pap tests it provides inform them of breast or cervical cancer before it kills them.
Utah’s Planned Parenthood website lists services that include assisting clients with finding prenatal care and adoption services – as well as the “morning after” pill and abortions.
Federal and state monies provide for services through Medicaid; three-quarters of those funds are used for contraception and other health services. A 1976 law prevents governmental funds from being used for abortions, which are funded by private donors, foundations and client fees.
Abortions constitute approximately 3 percent of all the services that Planned Parenthood offers.
The fetal tissue that has been the center of recent controversy is that which Planned Parenthood provides from two of almost 700 centers, strictly with a client’s consent. And clients volunteer its usage because they know it is used for research in the treatment and cure of Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome and other diseases. By law, Planned Parenthood accepted monies to cover the cost of processing and shipment of tissue. Recently it has stated it will no longer accept reimbursement for even those costs.
These are the facts* about Planned Parenthood and its operations; facts being deliberately misrepresented or lied about by the Republican Party, with Utah Republicans leading the charge.
There’s a growing fury building across America, as women – including Utah’s – fully understand that for the detractors of Planned Parenthood, this is just the beginning. The true belief that informs the GOP’s actions is the need for them – most of whom are privileged and ill-informed men – to control women. They’ve decided they know what’s best for us, for our bodies, for our lives.
In Washington, the Republicans attacking Planned Parenthood are led by Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, joined by Utah Congress-people Chris Stewart, Rob Bishop and Mia Love. The only thing more obvious than the Republican’s willful ignorance of what the organization actually does, is the GOP’s apparent need to grandstand on national television. As we’ve noticed lately, that grandstanding often backfires.
When males, without the slightest experience of being a woman, much less carrying a child, go after Planned Parenthood, it’s infuriating. But when Republican women like Representative Love speak out against the care and lifesaving procedures provided to the most disenfranchised of their own sex, it’s shameful.
These assaults on Planned Parenthood are fueled by what independent sources have confirmed are heavily edited videos from the “Center for Medical Progress,” an anti-abortion group. It took video editors Ryan Gonzalez and David Daleiden almost a year to spin these webs of outright lies. Their methods included hiring actors misrepresenting themselves to sting PP officials via hidden cameras, then doctoring the resulting conversations. But most appalling of all, the center appropriated the photograph of a stillborn infant and falsely claimed it to be the result of a late-term abortion.
In Washington, the five-hour hearing with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was a kangaroo court led by Chaffetz himself. Richards was often not allowed to respond to questions, shouted down by one representative as she attempted to. “Stunned,” she later said, “by the lack of civility and use of raw power.”
At one point, Chaffetz brandished a chart showing how many more abortions than mammograms Planned Parenthood provided in 2014; information he claimed was taken from PP’s own reports. When it was immediately revealed to be purposeful misinformation provided by Americans United for Life, he did not have enough integrity to apologize for it, nor did he temper his insulting attitude toward Richards.
Multiple state investigations, plus a federal investigation by the Energy and Commerce Committee, repeatedly demonstrate no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. But that doesn’t make it any less of a target for Chaffetz and his cronies.
Chaffetz states that he and his fellow Republicans still have “significant questions” about Planned Parenthood. They will need to further “investigate” its funding. As of this writing, they are threatening to shut down the government over it.
And so the fury builds. Even in Utah.
A few weeks ago, 3,000 Utah women showed up on the state capitol steps to voice their anger at Governor Gary Herbert attempts to stop the federal funds for Planned Parenthood. There were other women on the steps that day who supported the governor; Fox news cited their numbers as being “in the dozens.”
Occasionally, the GOP puts forth its embarrassing tokens – Palin, Fiorina, Love – to prove how worthy the party is of what they covet; that very powerful and growing thing – the women’s vote.
It’s just the woman herself they care nothing about.
*Sources: factcheck.org; Washington Post; Snopes.com; NY Times; Politico; Politifact.com; The Huffington Post; L.A.Times; National Institute of Health and Child Development
E.J. Gore is an author and a resident of Moab.