Anti-abortion groups push to defund Planned Parenthood

After allegations accusing Planned Parenthood of the federal offense of selling fetal tissue, citizens and politicians who are ‘pro-life’ are pushing for federal funding of the organization to be cut because of due to moral opposition. Many Urban students, according to an online survey in October, disagree, and believe that Planned Parenthood funding should be continued.

Starting July 14th, 2015, the anti-abortion group, Live Action, released a series of videos to the public accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally selling fetal tissue from the abortions they perform.  

Live Action Member, David Daleiden, posed as the buyer of fetal tissue, and recorded lunch dates with several of the top surgeons at Planned Parenthood. The Planned Parenthood doctors interviewed in the videos discussed the sale of the fetal tissue in a way many pro-lifers(who, according to the Gallup Survey in May 2015, accounts for half of Americans) called insensitive. The authenticity of these videos has been questioned by many, but the videos have not been proven to be faked.

These videos sparked anti-abortion protests and debates across the US, and now the federal government is determining whether or not Planned Parenthood will be defunded.

The organization is under questioning by federal government because it is connected to a federal funding program called Title X. Title X provides low-income individuals with free or discounted access to family planning services including Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides birth control, STI/HIV testing, treatment and vaccines, cancer screenings, womens’ and mens’ health care, emergency contraceptives, pregnancy testing/services, general health care and abortions. Their mission is (as stated on their website) “To provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services,… to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality,… [and] to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care.”

An online survey of 51 Urban students on October 18th showed that about 6% have used Planned Parenthood as a resource. 94% of all student responses reported that they would feel comfortable using Planned Parenthood as a resource.

I would and I have [sent a student to Planned Parenthood.] They have free services for youth who either can’t afford it or who can’t talk to their parents openly about these services,” said Urban health teacher, Jennifer Epstein, “When I think about wanting to get services, I trust the name Planned Parenthood because I know that I believe in their values.”

In California, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, 6% of all teenagers became pregnant in 2010.

This is the lowest rate of teenage pregnancy in 30 years. This is because of the use of contraceptives becoming more widespread as well as effective, according to the same study. Planned Parenthood has played a huge part in this, along with other public family planning services.

Without centers like Planned Parenthood that are supported by Title X, the amount of unintended pregnancy and abortion in the United States would be 30% higher, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute in 2013. The same study shows that 36% of people covered by Title X obtained their contraceptive services at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood received 60 million dollars from Title X funding, according to the Congressional Budget Office in September 2015.

Epstein’s opinion, as well as the general opinion from the survey at Urban, is not shared by all of the country. As much as 35% of Americans, according to a NBC/WSJ survey released this September, had a negative view of Planned Parenthood. 22% of Americans responded by saying they were neutral or unsure about the organization.

On September 18th, the House of Representative approved a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. The bill needed to pass the Senate in order to be considered federal law, but the senate rejected said bill on September 24th. However, Planned Parenthood could still be defunded by individual state governments.

In a debate on the Planned Parenthood bill, Florida’s representative, Gus Bilirakis said, “Taxpayers should not be forced to financially support organizations whose behavior is at best unethical and possibly illegal… This is about protecting the rights of taxpayers — but more importantly, protecting the basic right of human life.”

According to the Planned Parenthood 2013 service report, only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s annual patient services budget goes to performing abortions.

Since alleged sale of fetal tissue become a concern of the American media, Planned Parenthood stopped accepting reimbursements for the costs that accompany giving fetal tissue to medical research as of Oct. 13th.