Focus Friday: Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards faced angry, interrogative questions for over five hours on Tuesday | Courtesy of Getty Images

For this week’s Focus Friday, we discuss the Planned Parenthood committee hearings that happened this week.

1. Should Planned Parenthood be defunded?

Opinion columnist Carol Cao: The defunding is based on allegations concerning the topic of abortion alone. Forget about contraception, pre-natal care, cancer screenings and other screenings, women shouldn’t have rights to their body, according to the opponents. This defunding will cripple the safe access to pro-choice rights and necessary affordable healthcare. We still might have our sense of choices, but now the defunding just makes our options expensive, especially for the impoverished.

Opinion columnist Austin Turman: Absolutely not. End of story. Planned Parenthood provides critically needed healthcare to severely disadvantaged populations who need it the most. Those who claim that Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded due to the already federally unfunded three percent of abortions need to wake up and realize what they’re fighting for. If defunded, the 516,000 pregnancies that were prevented by Planned Parenthood last year through contraception and birth control services might have gone on to be abortions themselves. Without the nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for STD’s that Planned Parenthood provides, lower income communities could be decimated by diseases such as HIV. Without the 500,000 breast exams given to women each year, thousands of cases of breast cancer might go undetected. Stop trying to undermine women’s health.

Assistant opinion editor Sarah Kim: It should not be defunded completely just because of one of the organization’s controversial functions (abortion.) If you study women’s history, not only in America but around the world, you will see that women have suffered and died due to insufficient reproductive care. Defunding PP is like trying to burn down a house to remove a carpet stain; defunding PP as a whole is not a proportional response. It is for this reason that laws have been placed limiting what can and cannot be done including gestational limits, parental consent for those under 18-years-old and more.

2. What’s your take on the videos that allegedly show the sale of fetus body parts?

Opinion editor Anthony Torres: I watched the five hour committee hearing and multiple times they made the claim that they did not even invite the maker of the these videos to testify. The maker even announced this week that they were indeed doctored, and multiple independent investigations have concluded that the videos were heavily edited and not accurate of the actual words spoken. I really think conservatives’ strong hatred of abortion is clouding their better judgement of actual facts and grasping onto anything that could possibly become a blow to pro-choice organizations.

AT: Sale is the wrong word here. Federal law prohibits the sale of fetal tissue for any purpose. Any money gained by Planned Parenthood is used as an overhead as they cannot profit in any way in tissue reclamation. This is the donation of fetal tissue for pure medical research. These are women on the hardest days of their lives understanding that perhaps their donation can be used to study developmental diseases in fetuses. Keep in mind, consent is still needed for any of this to happen. Furthermore, videos put out by an anti-abortion group, whose sole purpose was the ask questions looking for uncomfortable answers is not exactly the lens I’d look through to paint an unbiased view of Planned Parenthood or abortion as a whole. The issue comes down to this, is this really about preventing the sale of fetuses or are the activists trying to stifle abortion?

SK: I recently watched them, and both parties are twisting words. First, Carly Fiorina’s quote. Was there any video footage of a fetus on a table, legs kicking? No, but she recounted the ex-technician’s account from the video almost word for word as if they were true. A PP employee did assent when the fake buyer offered payment “per specimen,” which could’ve been illegal had the transaction occurred. At the very least, she did not reject the offer. But in some cases the fake potential clients more or less led her to those kind of remarks. The parties’ exaggerations are astounding.

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  • Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!!!! Oh, sorry wrong faux scandal. Emails, Emails, Emails!!!! Sorry, trying to catch up. The problem with all of these fake investigations, based on made up ‘facts’, is that hurts our country. When a real scandal does come along because no one will care to find out if it is real or not.

  • Let’s find a solution to problems instead of perpetrating falsehoods using propaganda, myth, fear, and hyperbole. One genuine benefit of obtaining a formal education is to help develop critical thinking skills in order to use actual reasoning to reach actual conclusions. Propaganda disseminated by anti-PP proponents has no place in any intelligent discourse about Planned Parenthood or any “defunding” scares. Any defunding proposals are a direct result of seeing a clearly medical issue and a clearly private decision through a distorted moral lens. If we start using morals to determine and legislate private medical health decisions we are going down a dangerous road. No American should be deprived of medical care because some Congressman decided that care conflicts with his idea of what it says in some religious book. That’s patently absurd. We don’t think our treatment of cancer should be determined by religion — we don’t send someone with Leukemia to the priest for treatment. So why should any other medical treatment be determined by what some religious book says is or is not “moral.”? It’s medieval.

    • Nobody is depriving anyone of medical care. Your ability to have an abortion is secure in Roe v. Wade, but the pro-abortion politicians don’t want you to be aware of that fact. They want to mislead you into thinking just because PP doesn’t get their $500 MILLION slush fund from the Govt., the money won’t go to other deserving organizations that provide the exact same services PP is being funded to do.

      Meanwhile, PP spent >$5 million last election on political contributions to Democrat politicians and their political action committees (PAC’s). How much “medical care” could have been provided with those funds???

      Isn’t that exactly the epitome of what people are sick of in D.C. (lobbyist$$ buying political favours)?

      The Federal Govt. is also prohibited to provide funding for abortion (except in certain circumstances) by the Hyde Amendment, which was initially passed in 1976. As such, anyone who is telling you this funding is about limiting someones ability to get an abortion is misleading you.

      Also, nobody is talking about whether these services are now fully covered by Obama Care…. Hmmmmm….. We are now required by law to have health insurance, and part of the mandate was to fully cover these services….

      Finally, beware of a time when we, as a society, ignore the moral concerns of certain “medical procedures.”

      “Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.”

      Excerpt from the current version of the Hippocratic Oath

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