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Planned Parenthood Bullies Are Back at School and Acting Out Already

Protesters Stand with Planned Parenthood
Protesters Stand with Planned Parenthood
Georgeanne M. Usova,
Former Senior Legislative Counsel
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September 11, 2015

Congress returned to Washington this week with a heap of pressing issues to tackle and very little time to do it. They face a looming fiscal deadline by month’s end by which they must reach an agreement to fund the government or trigger a shutdown. And yet, the House has somehow found time to resort to well-worn territory: attacking Planned Parenthood.

Wednesday, a House committee held the first of several expected hearings on Planned Parenthood since the start of a vicious attack campaign against the organization by the Center for Medical Progress, a group of anti-abortion extremists, in July.

Those looking for a factual, unbiased investigation needed only read the sensational hearing title, “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider,” to know that they should look elsewhere.

Indeed, Wednesday’s hearing had little to do with facts. The majority did not use the four-hour hearing to examine, for example, the forensic analysis that revealed deceptive edits to CMP’s videos — which are the entire basis for ongoing congressional investigations and defunding efforts.

In fact, when pressed, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Tenn.) admitted that the committee hasn’t even requested unedited video from CMP. They didn’t note that every state investigation concluded since CMP’s smear campaign began has cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing entirely. Nor, for that matter, did they consider the recent investigation by their Democratic colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which also found no evidence that Planned Parenthood has violated any laws.

Rather, the hearing was more of the same story: a battle over women’s health, sharply divided along partisan lines.

But the push to defund Planned Parenthood at the heart of Wednesday’s hearing is more than typical partisan wheel-spinning — it’s dangerous. Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, affordable health care to 2.7 million women and men every year. The vast majority of these patients receive basic preventive services, like wellness exams, cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection tests and treatment, and birth control. One in five women visits a Planned Parenthood health center in her lifetime, and many low-income women rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary source of health care.

Defunding Planned Parenthood would deprive them of necessary care and make it harder for them to access birth control and prevent unwanted pregnancies. Other providers simply can’t fill that gap.

The defunding effort is about one thing: ending access to safe, legal abortion. Never mind that because of a misguided federal policy, federal dollars aren’t actually used for abortion except in extremely limited circumstances — targeting Planned Parenthood is the first step toward cutting off access for millions of women. And abortion opponents don’t mind if that also means denying those women all of the other basic health care that Planned Parenthood provides. In fact, 28 House Republicans — all men — along with some presidential hopefuls are ready to shut down the government over the issue.

Wednesday’s hearing was just the opening salvo. More hearings are expected in the coming weeks. If you’d like to see Congress spending time on solving real problems rather than attacking women’s health care, now is the time to tell your representative that you stand with Planned Parenthood.

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