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Planned Parenthood Faces Possible Loss of Federal Funding

By Meredith Carroll |

Planned Parenthood

Today will go down as a sad one in the history of women as the House voted to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding

Earlier today the House of Representatives passed a measure 240-185 that would bring an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood. After the final passage on some underlying spending bills, the bill will head to the Senate for a possible vote later this month.

If the amendment goes into law, the measure would cut $330 million through the end of September for the organization. While federal law prohibits its dollars from providing abortion services, Planned Parenthood also provides family planning, HIV tests and preventative cancer and other medical screenings.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said before the vote, “There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood . . . Planned Parenthood has a right to operate. Planned Parenthood has a right to provide family planning services. Planned Parenthood has a right to perform abortions. Last time you checked, abortions were legal in this country.”

An obvious attempt to weaken an organization that famously provides abortions, it makes me sick to my stomach that in 2011, there are still people — and those in power, no less — who think it’s OK to tell women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. As has been before said too many times to count, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

Do the lawmakers in the House not have wives, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, mothers, aunts and nieces? Do the 240 Congressman and Congresswoman who voted against funding for Planned Parenthood feel there are other aspects of a woman’s life that they can morally and appropriately legislate? But in this instance, they feel justified?

It’s a sad day for our country, and an even sadder one for women of all ages.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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17 thoughts on “Planned Parenthood Faces Possible Loss of Federal Funding

  1. Anonimom says:

    A sad day for women of all ages? While not exactly surprised, but I am taken aback that you presume to speak for all women. The women I know were shouting “Alleluia!” and “About damned time!”

  2. starrsitter says:

    @anonimom…Then the women that you know must all have access to private health care and no medical complications in their reproductive health history.

    People who are serious about reducing the number of abortions (instead of shaming and controlling women) should be behind any program that provides access to contraceptives and education since those things reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, thus reducing the need for abortion.

  3. Ri-chan says:

    It makes me sick to my stomach to think of killing fetuses, so not really a sad day for me, thanks. there is no reason (with the obvious exceptions like rape, medical problems, etc) that a woman shouldn’t have to live with the consequences of her decisions. As for government control of our bodies, they already regulate everything from food to drugs to assisted suicide.

  4. starrsitter says:

    Less than 5% of Planned Parenthood’s procedures are directly related to abortion. Approximately 36% of their services were providing contraceptives (you know, a good way to help avoid abortions). They provide cancer and STD screenings along with prenatal care in some locations. 1 in 6 women who have received services at PP identify it as their primary medical care. Federal funds have not provided abortions (except in the cases of rape and woman’s life) for nearly three decades.
    You can be against abortion, but it is still legal in this country despite the best efforts of the radical conservative fringe in this country. Punishing an organization that helps prevent unwanted pregnancy and educate people about their sexual health is not the way to reduce the number of abortions

  5. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Anonimom — I speak for myself and millions of others, but clearly not you.

    @Ri-Chan — You do fully understand that if some lawmakers have their way that there will be no exceptions, even in “obvious” cases, right? Also, most people can skirt around laws regarding foods, drugs and suicide. But a safe medical procedure isn’t as easy to skirt around if it becomes illegal.

    @Starrsitter — Well said. Thanks for commenting.

  6. goddess says:

    Glad we travel in different circles Anonimom.
    So lack of access to birth control will decrease abortions? More pregnancies and lack of prenatal care will lead to healthier babies? Lack of Pap tests will lead to less cervical and uterine cancers? Less mammograms will decrease breast cancer and lenghten women’s lives? And this is going to SAVE money and support the health of women in our country?
    Guess it doesn’t matter as long as you and your cronies …still have decent health insurance in your ivory towers Representative Pence.

    BTW- Abortions only account for 3% of the services provided by PP, and tax dollars cannot be used for them.

  7. goddess says:

    @RiChan: what abut the other 97 PERCENT of services that PP provides? GYN screenings? Mammograms? Birth control?
    Hope you never need those and cannot afford them.

  8. Anonimon says:

    Since abortion is such a small part of what Planned Parenthood does and their other services are so important, then they should be willing to sacrifice being an abortion provider and simply help women with pre-natal care, contraception, and other women’s health issues. If abortions are as insignificant to the mission of Planned Parenthood as you say, only 3%, then stop providing them, get back the federal funding, and really help women who need medical attention. The problem is that Planned Parenthood wants to have their cake and eat it too. One the one hand, they will say that abortions are a very small part of what they do. Then on the other hand, they will send out Christmas Cards that say “Choice on Earth.” Which is it? Is Planned Parenthood a benevolent provider of health care for women who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it or an extremely, active, and vocal lobbying group for the pro-abortion movement? Do you think that federal funding should be given to clinics that try to talk a woman out of having an abortion? How about ones that use ultrasounds of the baby as a tool of persuasion? What if they also gave mammograms and HIV test? I don’t imagine that you would be any more thrilled with your tax dollars going to fund those group as I would be to have my tax dollars going to fund Planned Parenthood.

  9. JenB says:

    Abortion is legal. Planned Parenthood is providing a legal reproductive service as per their mission. There is no reason on this earth why they should give up providing a legal service that up to 1/3 of American women will use by the age of 45. Yes, abortion is a small part of what PP does. That doesn’t mean it is not a needed service that women have a legal right to. They provide comprehensive health care, not just health care that is uncontroversial or popular. Choice on earth indeed. They give women choices between all their legal options, from BC to abortion.

    They separate funding for their political work and abortion services. I personally would not care if a crisis pregnancy center got federal funding as long as they provided comprehensive medical services (i.e. more than ultrasounds and HPT tests), gave out accurate information, and were clear on their face that they didn’t provide abortion services or referrals.

  10. Kikiriki says:

    Absolutely, JenB and Goddess. Abortion is still legal, the last time I checked. Just because someone doesn’t like abortion doesn’t mean the government shouldn’t fund the other parts of Planned Parenthood. With all the legislature going on recently, I’m honestly starting to wonder if Republicans just plain don’t like poor people, women or children (except in fetus form).

  11. person says:

    With all of the other things that this country is facing pulling the plug on funding for Planned Parenthood is a must. With a deficit of more than 13 trillion dollars it’s one of the easiest places to pull the plug. Also, PP may not be putting the funding directly to abortions, however receiving federal funding allows the organization the opportunity to put the other millions of dollars it receives into funding abortions. So in taking away the federal funds it forces them to use more of their own funds toward abortion services.

  12. Gretchen Powers says:

    How much money really goes to PP? I bet it’s a drop in the bucket. Everyone knows where the cuts really need to come from…

  13. starrsitter says:

    I know this is maybe the second time I’ve ever said this, but Gretchen’s right. Title X finding, which is more than just PP (although they are the single largest beneficiary), is just over $500 million. In the scheme of trillions of dollars it is essentially a drop in the bucket. Not only that, it pays for itself and then some by helping to prevent unwanted pregnancies and identifying life-threatening conditions early enough to effectively treat them. It’s estimated that for every dollar invested in family planning the nation saves nearly four in costs associated with women’s health.
    Balancing a budget on the backs of lower income and vulnerable people while giving huge subsidies to oil companies and other huge corporations, extending tax cuts to billionaires, and spending truckloads of money on wars no one can win is unacceptable.

  14. goddess says:

    Can’t say it any better than Jen B and Gretchen

    Why SHOULD PP give up a legal and vital service to women? Why should they be strong-armed by conservative groups that seek to usurp women’s autonomy over their own bodies.
    And REALLY- what IS the conservative Republican agenda about when it comes to:

    • Trying to criminalize all abortions and some procedures that are often medically safer to preserve the woman’s life?
    • De-funding women’s access to birth control, gynecological screening including PAP tests, STD tests and treatments, mammograms and prenatal care?
    • Abstinence only programs with a failing track record?

    I don’t see one good reason to support their efforts in anything – and consider them all anti-woman unless they prove otherwise

  15. Bunnytwenty says:

    “there is no reason (with the obvious exceptions like rape, medical problems, etc) that a woman shouldn’t have to live with the consequences of her decisions.”

    Babies are “consequences of decisions”? Geez, lady. Pro-lifers really hate kids, huh?

    All children deserve to be wanted.

    “Do you think that federal funding should be given to clinics that try to talk a woman out of having an abortion?”

    It does. Look it up.

  16. Amanda says:

    No independent group deserves taxpayer dollars. If the current congress has a problem with PP and is trying to cut the budget anyway, it’s only logical that PP would lose funding. Oh, well. Lots of programs and groups are going to lose government dollars with today’s budget and poltical realities.

  17. Gretchen Powers says:

    Well, Amanda, perhaps if healthcare was affordable or universally available to all like it is in other civilized, industrialized countries, we wouldn’t have to rely on “independent groups” for these services…but…many people do.

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