Planned Parenthood: to defund or not to defund

For defunding – Nikita Prokhorov

In a series of videos produced and released by The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) various Planned Parenthood officials and affiliates are shown discussing legal loopholes, cover ups, and illegal partial-birth abortions. In the fifth video released by CMP on July 30, 2015 a doctor from a Planned Parenthood affiliate said that “if you’re talking to other Planned Parenthood’s, we sort of all have to be on the same page,” to an actor posing as a representative of a biomedical company looking to pay money for tissue samples. This comment is soon followed by a shocking exchange where one of the actors says, “so it could look like we’re paying you for specimens,” followed by the doctor’s comment, “we all know that, yes, that’s what we’re doing.” While some claim that these videos are excessively edited, the full interviews were released by CMP and they continue to show Planned Parenthood purchasing fetal tissue.

What many Planned Parenthood supporters seem to ignore is the fact that even if abortion was morally OK, it would still be breaking federal laws regarding the sale and transfer of human tissue. According to the law 42U.S.Code289g-2, “it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” The purpose of this law was to prevent markets for human flesh from forming. These illegal sales are the reason that Planned Parenthood must be defunded, not because of the immorality of abortion, but because they are breaking federal laws. That should invalidate them from receiving government funding. Various Planned Parenthood doctors and officials have admitted to covering up the sale of the baby organs in the videos released by CMP and the current defense of the facilities is a horrifying defense of abortion.

If abortion is truly a women’s rights issue then whose body is being harvested and sold to biomedical companies? Certainly not the mothers. The Planned Parenthood doctors in the videos released by CMP, and in Planned Parenthood clinics performing the abortions can clearly identify the fetuses are matured enough where they can identify the gender. Thus, Planned Parenthood is nothing short of a health clinic which doubles as a contractor for biomedical companies. As an informed and compassionate citizen of this country, I find it impossible and incomprehensible to support an organization selling fetal tissue with taxpayer dollars.

Against defunding – Caitlin Henderson

Upon hearing the name, “Planned Parenthood,” many conservatives shriek in terror. “Planned Parenthood are murderers!” they scream, as one anti-abortion activist shoots Dr. David Gunn three times in the back.

Abortions are a mere fraction of what Planned Parenthood does for people. It provides contraceptives, methods of birth control, ultrasounds, and prenatal vitamins as well as safe sex education to millions of people. Roughly 61 million women in the US are within childbearing years, and about 70 percent of them are at risk of unintended pregnancy, including married women. Without Planned Parenthood to reach these people, we are affecting the reproductive health of 42.7 million women. Planned Parenthood provides free STI exams and cancer screenings. If it is defunded, not only those 42.7 million women will be affected, but many more who are also at risk for cancer.

Regarding the issue of selling fetal tissue, it is illegal for Planned Parenthood to sell the tissue itself, but not illegal to charge for shipping, which is the fee scientists have to pay. Many researchers use this tissue for research on eye diseases, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy, which could not have been done without the study of fetal stem cells. The videos released by the right wing political organization, Center for Medical Progress show Planned Parenthood selling the fetal tissue, however the shipping fees range from $30-$100, which is not enough to make a profit.

Defunding Planned Parenthood will also not stop abortions from happening. Women would still have unwanted pregnancies, and they would still receive abortions, yet at a much higher risk. Historically, women have used coat hangers to give themselves abortions, which poses a much higher risk than clinical abortions. As famous scientist Bill Nye states in an online video, by defunding Planned Parenthood, “Whom are you going to imprison? Every woman who’s had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy whose sperm has fertilized an egg and then it didn’t become a human?”

And at last, Bill Nye closes his video with, “When it comes to reproductive rights, I think we should leave it to women.” In this case, I just have to agree with everyone’s favorite science guy.