Planned Parenthood benefits those in need


Since it was founded in 1916, Planned Parenthood has been the center of the dispute over women’s reproductive rights. Planned Parenthood is funded by the federal government, however it thrives on donations made by outside sources. Most recently, controversy has risen over a leaked video of Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, discussing terms for acquiring fetal tissue with an undercover anti-abortionist posing as a tissue broker. Despite the fact that the video was later confirmed to be fake, Republicans used the video as a reason to defund the organization.

Although Planned Parenthood is currently shrouded in controversy, I am an avid supporter of the organization and the steps they take towards providing affordable healthcare to men and women across the U.S. In the wake of the release of the video, some states launched investigations into the organization. It seems, however, that politicians who once supported Planned Parenthood are pushing to defund the organization and manipulating their views on the subject to gain support from voters in upcoming elections. According to Huffington Post, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was among those who voted to lift the ban on fetal tissue donations in 1993. Interestingly, this was the very measure which legalized Planned Parenthood’s current actions that he now condemns due to the surfacing of the heavily-doctored video, which aimed to portray Planned Parenthood as barbaric.

It is important to note that selling fetal tissue for a profit is illegal. Donating fetal tissue after an abortion to medical research, however, is not. In addition, Federal law states that women must have already made the decision to abort before clinicians can raise the question of whether or not the women would like to donate the fetal tissue. The funds discussed in the video were in reference to additional costs that cover transporting, processing and storing the tissue.

The practice of harvesting fetal tissue has been in action for nearly a century and has contributed to groundbreaking research in vaccine development. Alta Charo, a Professor of Law and leading authority on bioethics in America, published an article in ¨The New England Journal of Medicine¨ that presents a solid argument in favor of fetal tissue research.

“Virtually every person in this country has benefited from research using fetal tissue,” Charo wrote in the article. “Every child who’s been spared the risks and misery of chickenpox, rubella, or polio can thank the Nobel Prize recipients and other scientists who used such tissue in research yielding the vaccines that protect us (and give even the unvaccinated the benefit of herd immunity).”

The controversy surrounding fetal tissue donation has also brought the war over abortion back to the forefront of American politics. According to CBS News, Planned Parenthood’s annual report shows that only 3 percent of its services are abortion related.

“42 percent of the services it provides is for STI/STD testing and treatment, 34 percent is for contraception, and 9 percent goes to cancer screening,” a CBS article said. “Another 12 percent is miscellaneous women’s health and other health services.”

Planned Parenthood offers comprehensive healthcare to millions of young men and women in America to whom it may also be the only source of care they can afford. Protests made by anti-women’s health activists endanger the rights of women and physicians to decide the appropriate course of action for their patients. These very actions are counterproductive and contribute to the list of reasons why women would need abortions past the first trimester. The dangerous atmosphere created by protesters results in a decrease in the number of professionals willing to perform safe and healthy abortions.

That being said, the argument made by Republican lawmakers that Planned Parenthood is “selling aborted baby parts” is nothing more than a conscious attempt to criminalize an entirely safe and consensual medical procedure.

Against all odds and facing repeated attacks on women’s healthcare, however, Planned Parenthood is still standing and staying true to their motto, “Care. No matter what.”