Political Focus: Defunding Planned Parenthood

Melissa Deatsch

What’s the issue?

Planned Parenthood has landed itself back in the news this past week but this time it’s in their favor.

The Center for Medical Progress released secretly recorded videos last July that suggested that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling organs and tissues of the fetuses in their abortion procedures. These videos fueled the debate on the federal funding of Planned Parenthood giving Republicans new evidence to support the defunding of the organization.

This past week, a Texas grand jury rejected the criminal allegations against Planned Parenthood related to those videos.  The grand jury, instead, accused two people involved in releasing the videos of tampering with a governmental record.  One of the two was additionally accused of purchasing human organs.

Both maintain their innocence. 

House Democrats are now accusing Republicans of jumping to conclusions against Planned Parenthood and doing so “at the risk of women’s health.”

Why should you care?

In Thursday’s Republican Primary Debate, Governor Chris Christie was asked if he could name one thing the government is currently funding that it shouldn’t be.  

Christie’s responded with Planned Parenthood, causing the Fox News reporter to ask, “anything bigger?”

“Bigger than that? Let me tell you something, when you see thousands upon thousands upon thousands of children being murdered in the womb, I can’t think of anything better than that,” Christie said, followed by applause from the audience.

However, the question was anything bigger not anything better.  The Washington Post reported that Planned Parenthood receives 0.02 percent of the federal mandatory funding and 0.004 percent of discretionary spending.  

In addition, there are legal restrictions banning federal funds from paying for any abortion not caused by rape, incest or that threaten a mother’s life. So it’s debatable if blocking federal funding would really have any affect on the “thousands upon thousands upon thousands of children being murdered in the womb.” 

Those percentages add up to almost $500 million in federal funding for the organization while many anti-abortionists don’t believe it should be a penny. 

Those $500 million have been a hot topic on the campaign trail throughout the primary race. It’s important to know where you and the candidates stand.

What are the sides?

People in support of Planned Parenthood like to note that abortion makes up only 3.4 percent of the services that the organization offers. The organization is most commonly used for the testing and treatment of STIs.  

In July, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton defended Planned Parenthood in an interview saying that the Republicans’ call to defund the organization is “an attack against a women’s right to choose.”

Later that same month, another democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, released a statement saying “stripping funding for Planned Parenthood would punish the 2.7 million Americans, especially low-income women, who rely on its clinics for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services.”

On the opposing side, that 3.4 percent of Planned Parenthood services toward abortion is enough for many republicans. 

“There are 13,000 community-based organizations that provide health services to women, 13,000 in this country,” presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, said in the Sept. 17 debate. “Those organizations should get funding.”

Bush, along with many of the other Republican candidates, supports the full funding of organizations that treat women’s health issues, however, he doesn’t believe any money should go to a clinic that performs abortions that are elective.  

It isn’t just a matter of if you are pro-life or pro-choice. It is also a question of whether taxpayer dollars should go toward such a heavily controversial organization.

Another thing to consider before marking your ballot in November.