To me, this whole crazy threat is just one more GOP exercise in futility. Anti-abortion activists have created a sham non-profit organization in order to attack Planned Parenthood over the selling of fetal tissue for medical research. Selling of tissue is legal, however, as long as it is donated by the woman and it cannot be done to generate a profit. The ultimate end-game here is really to repeal legalized abortion. But, why are they attacking just Planned Parenthood?
After September 24, there will only be six days left in the Federal Government’s 2015 Fiscal Year. And so far, the Republican-controlled Congress has not passed a budget for the next Fiscal Year, which starts next Thursday. Once again, the GOP seems to be adhering to the Nero School of Government–fiddling while the empire burns. Republicans pushed the government into dysfunction, back in 2013, when they shut it down for 16 days over the Affordable Health Care Act. National parks were closed, airport security was greatly reduced; government health care agencies were operating with skeleton staffing; etc, But, the GOP leadership, once again, appears unable to control its membership.
The Republican Party has been trying to repeal abortion, since the Roe v. Wade 7-to-2 decision legalized it, back in 1973. Over the past several decades, anti-abortion activists have targeted Planned Parenthood, a leading provider of women’s health care. According to its most recent Annual Report (2013-2014), the organization performed 327,166 abortions, but that constitutes just three percent of the entire 11.4 million total health care services that it provided to 2.7 million women nationwide.
The federal government provides $528 million, or roughly 41% of Planned Parenthood’s total $1.146 billion annual budget–with 75% of that coming from Medicaid reimbursement, and the remainder from the Title X Family Planning Program. That takes us to the next part of this witch hunt progression–the mysterious Center for Medical Progress videos.
On its web site (www.centerformedicalprogress.org), CMP cites that it is: “…a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. We are concerned about contemporary bioethical issues…” If you check the web site, however, you will see that the “Center” seems to have only one concern–attacking Planned Parenthood.
Several forensic video experts have found that the videos–purportedly of discussions with Planned Parenthood medical staffers discussing the sale of fetal tissues–have been highly-edited, and manipulated to change the wording of what was discussed in the covertly-filmed meetings. Video voice-overs and the web site replace words like “fetal tissue” with “baby parts”, to heighten the outrage. So, what about video-ethics? How credible can any of these questionable videos actually be?
How can Planned Parenthood–or any organization–expect to function after 41% of its funding is deleted? Although Planned Parenthood does provide abortions at some of its 700 facilities, government funding cannot be used to fund abortions. Embryos of fertilized eggs can also be donated through in vitro fertilization clinics for medical research. So, why aren’t the other abortion facilities that perform 60% of the abortions in America, or the IVF clinics, being targeted, as well?
Once again, it appears that politics trumps women’s health care–and common sense. Women who have sufficient health care insurance, or donate embryos from IVF, tend to be wealthy and white. Women who depend on Medicaid for abortions, however, are disproportionately lower-income and often women of color. So, where does this lead us?
Let’s consider this whole exercise in misguided thought processes. Closing Planned Parenthood would stop just 40% of abortions performed in America, as well as a much larger number of vital women’s health care procedures. Then creating a highly-suspect video merely calls into question the validity of even of the Center for Medical Progress’ creation. But, when you weigh the total risks, both to the Federal Government and to women’s health care, virtually nothing will eventually be accomplished.
All tolled, by cutting 100% of the federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress would reduce the total 2015 federal budget by just 0.00139%. Oh and then, even some Republicans doubt that Medicaid funding for legal medical procedures can actually be eliminated, to begin with! Lastly, on top of all that, if such a bill were passed by both houses of Congress, which is highly questionable, President Barack Obama has promised to Veto it.