5 Truths About The Attacks On Planned Parenthood You Need To Know

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images.
Written by Georgeanne Usova, Legislative Counsel at the ACLU

The Senate is expected to vote on a measure to defund Planned Parenthood in the coming days. The release of a series of deceptively edited attack videos has, frighteningly, prompted many members of Congress — including numerous 2016 presidential candidates — to jump on the defunding bandwagon and launch investigations into Planned Parenthood’s actions. In recent weeks, virtually every legislative vehicle — no matter how unrelated — has become a potential springboard for action on the issue.

Unfortunately, those attacking Planned Parenthood have shown little regard for the facts. Here are five truths that should inform your opinion:

1. Fetal-tissue donation helps medical science save lives. The heavily edited videos purport to show that Planned Parenthood is "selling" fetal tissue. In fact, they show nothing of the kind. On the contrary, unedited video confirms that Planned Parenthood donates tissue for medical research — a commendable practice that furthers medical knowledge about a host of conditions like muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, and AIDS. Fetal tissue has contributed to the development of the polio, rubella, and chickenpox vaccines, to name just a few. Donation is a completely voluntary option available to patients at a handful of Planned Parenthood health centers, and the healthcare organization follows the law with regard to reimbursement for costs associated with the practice.

2. The group behind these videos is made up of long-time anti-abortion extremists. The organization behind the videos, misleadingly named the Center for Medical Progress, has close ties to truly radical and frightening anti-abortion organizations, including Operation Rescue, which targeted Dr. George Tiller before his 2009 murder, and Live Action, which is known for attacking Planned Parenthood with deceptive “sting” videos. In short, these are the usual suspects.

3. This is really about ending safe, legal abortion. The goals of these extremists are pretty clear: They want to ban safe, legal abortion — and cut off access for the millions of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for care. And after a years-long campaign of deception that involved setting up a fake company in order to infiltrate Planned Parenthood’s health centers and offices, they’ve demonstrated just how far they are willing to go.

4. Defunding Planned Parenthood would deprive millions of care. If this attack on Planned Parenthood has the intended effect — eliminating all federal funding for the organization — it would mean denying high-quality affordable health care to the 2.7 million people served by Planned Parenthood every year.

5. Communities rely on Planned Parenthood for a wide range of vital preventive care. Planned Parenthood provides critical preventive healthcare services, including well-woman exams, cancer screenings, HIV and STI screenings, and birth control, in addition to abortion. It plays a vital role in women’s health across the country: One in five women relies on Planned Parenthood for care at some point in her lifetime. Defunding Planned Parenthood would mean cutting off millions from care that they urgently need.

These are the facts — and they matter.

Tell your senator to pay attention to the facts, and to stand strong against the vicious attacks on Planned Parenthood.

For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Story published with permission.

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