The latest rampage from the conservative side is over Planned Parenthood. Of course, this is nothing new, but it has really taken off with bogus videos claiming that Planned Parenthood is selling fetus tissue to get “rich.” These videos have been heavily edited, and made secretly without the interviewees’ knowledge. That all by itself is probably illegal in several states.
The problem is that conservatives are using what everyone knows to be bogus videos as ammunition to defund Planned Parenthood. Currently, Planned Parenthood gets about $500 million dollars from the Federal Government. That is just under one-third of its annual budget.
Here are some facts that conservatives are not telling you. First, Planned Parenthood receives absolutely no money for abortion services. There is a Federal Law banning the use of Federal Dollars for abortions. So, Planned Parenthood, like everyone else who gets federal funding cannot use that money for abortions.
Secondly, there is nothing illegal about recovering the costs associated with donating tissue. Planned Parenthood does not make a profit from recouping their costs. And, they do not donate any tissue from an aborted fetus without the mother’s consent. That consent is given before the operation.
Third, fetus tissue is used to help research into vaccines, birth defects, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and a bunch of other medical conditions. It is not illegal to use fetus tissue for this research. Plus, the end results of this research could have profound effects on the overall health of the nation.
Now look, if I really believed that Planned Parenthood was selling “body parts” for a profit, I would be the first to scream bloody murder. Civilized people just don’t do that kind of thing. But, since I have seen “unedited” versions of the infamous videos, I know for certain that is not happening. Plus, investigations into the matter have also shown this not to be true.
But, there is another side of the story that conservatives never want to talk about. If Congress defunds Planned Parenthood, the costs for Medicaid and other social safety nets will dramatically increase. Since Planned Parenthood is the only place that many poor women can go for birth control, there will be an increase in unwanted pregnancies.
Now it is impossible to tell how many more unwanted pregnancies will actually occur, but you can bet that it will happen. That means one of two things is going to be the result. Either the number of abortions will increase, or the number of single mothers will increase. In either case, costs will skyrocket.
Why will costs skyrocket: Because the American taxpayer picks up 68 percent of costs of all unintended pregnancies in this country, mostly through Medicaid. And while contraceptives are relatively cheap, it costs more to give birth in the United States than anywhere else on Earth (in 2012, it averaged $9,775 for a vaginal delivery and $15,041 for a C-Section). That explains why, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the government saves seven dollars for every dollar it spends on family planning.
Additionally, since many women with unintended pregnancies are single mothers, they will need additional help through WIC, SNAP and other social safety nets to feed their unwanted children. Something conservatives also hate.
Of course, conservatives will harp on their plan to prevent pregnancy through “abstinence only” plans. The problem with that “plan” is that is doesn’t work. Did you know that Red States consistently have higher rates of teen pregnancy rates than Blue States?
Red States are the ones that don’t want proper sex education taught in their schools. As a result, teens are still having sex, but they are having unprotected sex resulting in more pregnancies. Abstinence only programs are a failure. Teens who receive proper sex education are less likely to have an unintended pregnancy.
Finally, Planned Parenthood not only offers assistance in planning for a family. It offers pre and post natal care to many poorer women. Without that assistance, these women will have nowhere to go. As a result, there will be higher health care costs for both the mother and the child. Again, funded by Medicaid in most cases.
Planned Parenthood is also the only option for many women when it comes to breast cancer screening and a host of other medical care they cannot afford to get elsewhere. Defunding Planned Parenthood will take that away from millions of women all across the country.
But, conservatives are not interested in all of this. They are only interested in stopping abortions. They don’t care what happens to a child once it is born, they only want to force a woman to give birth. Maybe that is why according to the Guttmacher Institute, “the US unintended pregnancy rate is significantly higher than the rate in many other developed countries.”
Also, let’s be clear. Unintended pregnancy is not necessarily an abortion issue. It is more of a contraception and education issue. By denying women access to affordable contraception, and denying teens education in the use and practice of contraception, unintended pregnancies will continue to happen. Once the pregnancy happens, the woman is faced with two choices. One is to have the child, and the other is to have an abortion.
Extremely poor women will have the child and be forced on more social safety net services. Less poor will probably choose to have the abortion. Meaning the abortion rate will increase and not decrease. By the way, if you think outlawing abortion will stop it, think again. Abortions were widely available in this country when it was outlawed. The problem was it was performed by non-medical people. The result was many deaths and permanent injuries to the woman.
A total of 18 Republicans have already said they are willing to shut down the government if they don’t get Planned Parenthood defunded. It is obvious to me that they have not engaged their brains before going off on their rampage. Then again, I guess you first have to have a brain in order to engage it.
When it comes to women’s health, birth control, and family planning, the conservatives in this country are seriously contributing to the problem. They are doing nothing to help the problem because they refuse to engage their brains. If Planned Parenthood is defunded, these problems will only get worse.