Planned Parenthood fiasco over false accusations and assumptions


Clarion photo AP

Do you stand with Planned Parenthood? Dallas News photo.

By Ally Grimaldi, Copy Editor

Baby killers? “Unedited” video footage discussing the alleged auctioning of fetal tissue? A petition capable of shutting down the government? These controversial claims against Planned Parenthood have recently sparked pandemonium within communities, morals, and ways of thinking.

Every year, Planned Parenthood provides health care, sexual education, and information to five million women, men, and young adults worldwide and proudly appreciates its global eight million activists, supporters, and donors. The establishment prides itself on its foundation of respect for an individual’s civil right to make informed decisions about his or her own body regarding health, sex, and family planning. In a recent Planned Parenthood meeting held by Congress, representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) spoke for many when calling the organization a “beloved institution because it’s one of the most excellent providers of high quality care.”

According to the Huffington Post, the aforementioned conference was in response to a petition created by representative Mick Mulvaney (R-South Carolina) in an attempt to cease federal funding for Planned Parenthood. As of the Sept. 9  meeting, 28 male House Republican lawmakers pledged to do everything in their power to defund Planned Parenthood in the fall, even if it meant shutting down the federal government. The letter stated, “We must act fully to defund Planned Parenthood. Please know that we cannot and will not support any funding resolution—an appropriations bill, an omnibus package, a continuing resolution, or otherwise—that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams.” The address called for a retraction of the $500 million dollars that Planned Parenthood receives in government funding, all of which is used to subsidize birth control, cancer screenings, and other women’s health services.

The letter cited a series of heavily edited undercover videos, depicting Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the donation of fetal tissue (a legal practice) after abortions for medical research. The videos were so severely manipulated, they couldn’t hold up in court. The footage was dissected by three teams of forensics experts who concluded that the supposedly “unedited” videos were misleadingly altered. This made it appear as if separate conversations were fluent and uninterrupted. The teams also deduced that the transcripts accompanying the videos were frequently erroneous.

Congress must fund the government by Sept. 30 to avoid a shutdown, according to the Huffington Post. While the long-standing Hyde Amendment prohibits any federal funds from being used to pay for abortions, many Republicans have been trying to defund Planned Parenthood over its abortion services since 2011. “When [unborn babies] came into Planned Parenthood they were living, feeling human children,” said representative Trent Franks (R-Arizona) at the recent Congress meeting, “and they died while they were there. Don’t forget that these were once little babies killed at the hands of Planned Parenthood.”

According to NPR, the detrimental effects ruptured from this uproar haven’t just been theoretical; a Planned Parenthood center in Pullman, WA was actually burned down because of it. While the clinic did not provide abortion services, an anti-abortion demonstration was held in front of it in the weeks prior to the incident. “This is an appalling act of violence towards Planned Parenthood, but unfortunately a predictable ripple effect from the false and incendiary attacks that fuel violence from extremists,” said Karl Eastlund, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho.         

“[Planned Parenthood is] not just about abortions, we’re about safe sex, contraception, cancer screenings, and general health care,” said Cleveland’s SAFER co-administrator and Planned Parenthood employee Annabelle Schwartz, junior. “No one ever goes into Planned Parenthood and is told, ‘Get an abortion.’ That’s just not what we do. I want to get away from that idea.

Schwartz also expressed a concern for how loss of funding could not only affect the Portland community, but the Cleveland High School community as well. She stated that if Planned Parenthood funding decreased or stopped, it would have an effect on the cost of cancer screenings, contraception, and the current quality of health care services that Planned Parenthood provides. Eventually, she said, “People will realize we do need Planned Parenthood, because if we lose Planned Parenthood, if we lose funding, it’s going to be so much less accessible to people who can’t afford insurance.”

Ultimately, Schwartz said, “I think that even though a lot of what’s being said isn’t true and is negative, I think it’s strengthening Planned Parenthood as a community and strengthening those who believe in it.”