Conservative lawmakers love talking about how much they hate Planned Parenthood, and one New Jersey congressman thinks he has the perfect solution to the women's healthcare debate that won't end. Rep. Leonard Lance wants to split up Planned Parenthood into two parts: one that provides abortions and one that provides everything else.
Lance held a town hall meeting in his home state Wednesday night, when a constituent asked whether he would continue defunding the women's health organization. "What I have suggested to Planned Parenthood is that it have two separate organizations — one organization that deals in the services regarding women’s health and another organization that performs the abortion procedure," Lance responded. "I would hope that Planned Parenthood might look at that."
Video of the town hall shows that the congressman couldn't even get through that statement without being interrupted and booed by the crowd. When he asked if splitting Planned Parenthood into separate parts would be a good compromise to the constant dispute over defunding the clinics, his constituents loudly screamed, "No!"
Lance claimed his New Jersey district has other clinics that can replace Planned Parenthood, saying, "In the district that I serve, there’s a Planned Parenthood facility, and there are several federally qualified health care facilities." He added that "some deal with a whole panoply of service, and some are dental facilities, but —" before someone interrupted him to yell, "If I’m pregnant, I don’t need a dental plan."
The conservative lawmaker fell in line with the GOP when it attempted to defund Planned Parenthood after manipulated videos of PP employees caused outrage — and he has continued to support taking away the clinics' Medicaid reimbursements. In a press release touting a proposed bill (that ultimately failed) to replace Obamacare in 2016, Lance listed redirecting "millions of funds for women’s health care to Community Health Centers and away from Planned Parenthood" as one reason he supported the bill.
The main flaw in his plan to distinguish between abortion and women's health services is that abortion procedures are women's health services — and they are often medically necessary. Separating abortion from other health services only serves to vilify and diminish its importance for women's health.
Based on Planned Parenthood's tweets about Lance's suggestion, don't expect it to voluntarily rip in two anytime soon.