Nothing makes me sadder than the idea that Planned Parenthood would lose its government funding–something that, if some people in Congress get there way, could become a reality. Representative Mike Pence is currently sponsoring a bill that would deny government funding to any organization that provides abortions, regardless if they use government funds to pay for them. Planned Parenthood is one of those organizations; it currently receives over $300 million in government funding and contracts.
Planned Parenthood has recently been under attack by anti-choice organizations. Live Action, an anti-choice group whose website features the headline “Exposing Planned Parenthood’s Cover-up of Child Sex Trafficking” hired actors to conduct sting operations in twelve clinics in six states to expose the alleged horrors occurring in the hands of Planned Parenthood. As Gail Collins summarizes,:
Live Action hired an actor who posed as a pimp and told Planned Parenthood counselors that he might have contracted a sexually transmitted disease from “one of the girls I manage.” He followed up with questions about how to obtain contraceptives and abortions, while indicating that some of his “girls” were under age and illegally in the country.
One counselor, shockingly, gave the “pimp” advice on how to game the system and was summarily fired when the video came out. But the others seem to have answered his questions accurately and flatly. Planned Parenthood says that after the man left, all the counselors — including the one who was fired — reported the conversation to their supervisors, who called the authorities. (One Arizona police department, the organization said, refused to file a report.)
No one looks good giving information to pimps. But even pimps and prostitutes need information about sexual health–the counselors were simply doing their job. And, contrary to what Live Action wants people to think, Planned Parenthood has “a zero tolerance of nonreporting anything that would endanger a minor” just like public clinics or hospitals, according to president Cecile Richards.
What makes these attacks so sad is that Planned Parenthood provides 1.85 million low-income women with family-planning and medical assistance every year. Planned Parenthood is not an abortion clinic; it provides women with pap smears, STD tests, and screening for breast and cervical cancer, and helps newly pregnant women weigh abortion, adoption, and having a baby in a nonjudgmental and informative way.
In addition to being an important and necessary resource for women who do not feel comfortable going anywhere else for reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood also saves the government a lot of money. For every dollar spent on publicly funded family planning services, Medicaid saves $4.02 the next year. Getting rid of Planned Parenthood could effectively cost taxpayers 1.2 billion dollars.
So please, please, sign this, a petition to save Planned Parenthood and keep its government funding.