The following editorial appeared in the San Jose Mercury News:
Anyone with half a brain can see through the heavily edited “gotcha” videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials illegally bargaining to sell tissue from aborted fetuses. The videos are grossly misleading and politically irresponsible.
The research that fetal tissue makes possible at respected universities across the country has produced vaccines that have saved millions of lives and now targets Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other fatal, heartbreaking diseases. Planned Parenthood and other clinics that collect the tissue do not profit from it. But Republicans in Congress and in the presidential free-for-all are having a field day with “facts” from Fox News.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris fortunately is investigating the videos’ producers, the so-called Center for Medical Progress, which may have broken federal and California law in the scheme to bring down Planned Parenthood. As an example, one of the interviews of a California doctor may have been recorded without her consent.
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U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren of San Jose is pushing U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate as well. The organization has tax-exempt status as a biomedical charity but appears to be a fake limited liability corporation.
It has never been a secret that Planned Parenthood and many other clinics collect tissue for research. The unedited videos show repeated attempts by Planned Parenthood doctors to explain that they’re only trying to recoup costs for their work. Planned Parenthood likely loses money on the whole thing, but the numbers are a tiny part of its budget.
Republicans in the House and the Senate shamelessly are using this supposed expose to argue that Congress should defund Planned Parenthood.
And so the War on Women continues.
$500 million What Planned Parenthood receives in government funding
0 How much of government funding is spent on abortions
3 The percentage of the organization’s work that is providing abortions
Planned Parenthood and its 800 clinics provide health care, particularly family planning, for nearly 3 million low-income women a year. It receives more than $500 million in government funding, but not a penny of that pays for abortions – which make up just 3 percent of the organization’s work. Cutting Planned Parenthood funding means cutting health care to poor women, period.
Scientists using cultures from fetal kidney cells won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1954 for developing the polio vaccine. Fetal tissue research helped produce vaccines for chicken pox and rubella. These advances alone have saved countless millions of lives, particularly children’s.
The National Institutes of Health spent more than $70 million on fetal research in 2014, tackling diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Stem cell research is gradually replacing fetal tissue research, but we can’t afford to stop work on these diseases while alternative methods ramp up.
More tapes are expected this week, including possibly showing the process of tissue removal. It’s ugly to watch, but so are most significant surgical procedures.
The core political issue here is abortion. The Center for Medical Progress and many Republican officials and candidates want to eliminate the right of American women to choose to end a pregnancy.
In fact Planned Parenthood has done more to prevent abortion than any other organization in this country by giving poor women access to birth control and to prenatal care to have healthy babies. It continues to provide safe abortions because refusing will not stop abortion, it will just drive women to unsafe alternatives. (Speaking of ugly procedures.)
Women’s ability to control their own reproductive future is the best way to prevent abortion. A Congress really concerned about women and unborn children would give more, not less, to Planned Parenthood.
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