Congressional plans to defund Planned Parenthood are irresponsible


A bad idea pasted on top of another wrongheaded move: Cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood as part of the proposed repeal of Obamacare.

Women across America depend on Planned Parenthood not only for birth control but also for health care. At 650 health centers across the United States, women, men and teens go to Planned Parenthood for sexual and reproductive health care, HIV testing, mammograms, education and yes, abortions.

But most of the work of this important organization focuses on health care and avoiding abortions: 80 percent of its patients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancies. More than 4.2 million tests and treatments are provided at Planned Parenthood for sexually transmitted infections. Just 3 percent of the organization’s health services have anything to do with abortion.

Taking federal dollars away from Planned Parenthood is not a strike against abortion. Federal money is already prohibited from paying for elective pregnancy terminations. It’s a strike against health care and birth control for ordinary Americans.

Anti-abortion groups have been plotting the death of Planned Parenthood for many years. Most recently, a fake biotech company called Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos that tried to paint the organization as callously selling tissue and organs from aborted fetuses. The practice has since been explained as legal donations to help with medical research, all done with the donor’s full consent. Charges were filed in January 2016 against the makers of the video but eventually dropped. Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress in federal court.

Republican leaders in Congress seem to want another ideological fight over medical care for women. Women have enough trouble getting pregnancy prevention services in many communities without eliminating this important resource.

Congress needs to turn its budget-cutting ax in another direction or lawmakers should expect to have their offices inundated with calls from constituents protesting their efforts.

— The Seattle Times

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