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Sunday, October 23, 2016

By Richard Cowan and Megan Cassella

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Republicans seeking to cut all funding to reproductive health group Planned Parenthood over the alleged sale of aborted fetal tissue offered on Wednesday to divert the money to other providers of women’s health.

The Republican plan to take $500 million a year from Planned Parenthood and give it to the likes of hospitals and community health centers was criticized by family planning experts who said it showed a lack of understanding of how women’s health services work.

Long a target of conservatives, Planned Parenthood has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks due to secretly recorded videos about its role in supplying aborted fetal tissue for medical research.

Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a Republican, introduced a bill to defund the organization which is likely to be voted on early next week.

The bill “would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are spent on women’s health, not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress has released a series of videos that it says show Planned Parenthood staff negotiating prices as they try to sell fetal material from abortions for profit.

The healthcare organization says it broke no laws, as abortion providers are allowed to charge costs to cover expenses associated with fetal tissue donation.

Republicans in the Senate might not have enough support from Democrats to even allow debate on the bill to formally begin, but a simmering fight over Planned Parenthood might become one of the flashpoints that sets off a government shutdown in the fall.

Ernst envisages diverting Planned Parenthood’s funding to “other eligible entities” such as county health departments, community health centers, hospitals and physicians’ offices.

Republicans have been gunning for the group for years, but do not want to be seen as anti-women with the 2016 presidential election approaching.

The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, which represents family-planning centers serving low-income and uninsured patients, said other health centers could not fill the gap left by cutting money to Planned Parenthood.

“In many communities, there are not other health care providers that would be equipped to fill the void created by the prohibition of funding for a qualified, trusted family planning provider,” the group’s head, Clare Coleman, said in a statement.

A George Washington University study in 2012 of the possible effects in Texas of defunding Planned Parenthood showed that tens of thousands of low-income women could lose access to affordable family planning services.

(Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Tom Brown)

Photo: The Planned Parenthood logo is pictured outside a clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, June 27, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter  

  • Independent1

    It’s unfortunate that conservatives are so fixated on hypocritically and misguidedly striving to eradicate abortion that they can’t see that they’re attacking the issue in entirely the wrong way. Conservatives constant push to ‘ban’ apportions, is not decreasing abortions, it is potentially increasing them. By eliminating Planned Parenthood clinics that actually council women against abortions – and actually prevent almost 250,000 abortions a year – while not providing any option that women in general would trust to replace that – that’s 250,000 more abortions that are going to happen which could have been prevented.

    And if conservatives believe that banning abortions is going to prevent even one – they’re grossly misguided. Just because a safe, legal abortion clinic is no longer available, in no way means that a woman determined not to carry a fetus to term is not going to get the abortion she wants, one way or another. The women who can afford to travel will simply go to the state where an abortion is still legal and get one. Poorer women who cannot afford travel will find someone on the black market – and that’s where the problem comes in – women dying during abortions increases when they’re gotten on the black market. So banning abortions doesn’t reduce abortions, but it does increase the number of women dying from botched abortions.

    I’m not particularly pro-abortion, I’m anti-death. I support Planned Parenthood because only about 3% of what they do relates to abortions – and the abortions they perform are for women who could not be counseled out of going through with the abortion they wanted – so if the PP clinic wasn’t around they were going to get that abortion one way or another anyway.

    And I’m convinced that the other 97% of what PP does for women and families, saves thousands of women’s lives because of the medical services PP provides, and it also works to keep families together. All things that conservatives should really champion but appear to ignorant of reality to realize. If conservatives were truly PRO-LIFE that would take the time to realize that all the benefits PP provides for Americans, far outweighs anything that conservatives should really find wrong with the organization.

    • Grannysmovin

      They are not Pro-Life they are “Pro Forced Birthers”.

      • Independent1

        Here’s a quote from Catholic Sister Chittister agreeing with your assessment:

        From the Daily Kos:

        In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

        “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”


        And here are some relevant comments from the Kos article:

        This quote applies well to many Republican lawmakers and anti-choice extremists who continue to introduce/pass misogynist laws restricting a woman’s reproductive rights. At the same time, the GOP works to shut down women’s health clinics, with a special vengeance towards Planned Parenthood (#StandWithPP). You don’t hear of these Right Wing anti-choice extremists adopting children from unplanned pregnancies. But you do hear of them cutting government programs like schools lunches for children, cutting aid to families who are homeless and/or in need, and blocking free college education. No, the goals of these hypocrites seem to be to control women’s bodies and women’s futures. It’s good to hear a Catholic nun define GOP double talk so well.

        • Grannysmovin

          Thank you for the link.

      • Independent1

        And by constantly working to defund programs which support the needs of less fortunate pregnant women like refusing to expand Medicaid and also cutting the budgets of programs that benefit the poor like SNAP and other assistant programs; even being ‘pro-birth’ is suspect. Which is clearly shown by the fact that 11 of the 12 states in America with the highest rates of infant mortality, are you guessed it, Republican-run states.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    They are not fixed on eradicting abortion. These are idiot males who don’t mind delivering their “gifts” to women and then taking off and demonizing “single moms.” They are great at spewing their seed all over the planet. But, expect one ounce of responsible parenting from these degenerates and they take off as if it was a hit and run accident. And, it is ALWAYS HER fault. These are men who cannot accept blame for their actions or speech, much less their part in procreation.

    And let’s be honest here. The GOP Gestapos are so money hungry to send more money to their bloody red states, they look for any sources where money is piling up. To them, it should be managed by their Wall Street fund managers and turn government into Big Business.

    Now, what might you wonder is wrong with a guy like Trump pushing hard to turn government into a business? Everything…it removes the voice of the people, our Constitutional rights and makes all of us employees of the first nationwide corporation in the world.

    Government is NOT a business. Nothing in the US Constitution says that every tax dollars must keep businesses in existence. When the hell did that BS become Constitutional law? Or is this just more GOP Gestapo BS rammed down taxpayers throats?

  • Grannysmovin

    Donating Fetal Tissue Is Legal With Consent Of Donor Federal Law Does Not
    Prohibit Donations Of Fetal Tissue With Consent. Federal law regarding the use of human fetal tissue does not prohibit the use of donated materials. [Title 42 U.S.
    Code § 289g-2,

    Health And Human Services Independent Review Board: Providers May Accept Payment “For Reasonable Expenses” With “Informed Consent.” The set of standards outlined by the Health And Human Services Independent Review Board guidebook, the industry standard for medical research, explains that payment for fetal tissue may be obtained “for reasonable expenses occasioned by the actual retrieval, storage,
    preparation, and transportation of the tissues

    Informed Consent: Potential recipients of such tissues, as well as research and health care participants, should be properly informed about the source of the tissues
    in question. The decision and consent to abort must precede discussion of the
    possible use of the fetal tissue and any request for such consent that might be
    required for that use. Fetal tissue from induced abortions should not be used in medical research without the prior consent of the pregnant woman. Her decision to donate fetal remains is sufficient for the use of tissue, unless the father objects (except in cases of incest or rape). Consent should be obtained in compliance with state law and with the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. [Health and Human Services Institutional Review Board Guidebook,

    A poster JohnAngel responded with additional information: It was Public Law 103 – 43, enacted June 10, 1993. It was passed with a bi-partisan majority. Senator McConnell voted for it. Rep.Upton also voted for it and now has called for an investigation into PP due to the videos.

  • terry b

    Just how incredibly asinine can the GOP get? Their growth in this category is quite unbelievable. Planned Parenthood is 2nd only to the United Way in how it helps the less fortunate in so many ways. Abortion is only 3% of this organizations efforts to aid the less fortunate. A person would have to be deemed to be mentally deficient to not be aware of this. The GOP seems to be in love with the idea that ignorance is bliss.

  • IntelliWriter

    They don’t want to come across as anti-woman? That ship has already sailed!