Planned Parenthood Debate Continues

Planned Parenthood has been providing sexual health services since 1916. The

organization is set to celebrate its 100-year anniversary next year. But, they may want to hold

off on blowing up the balloons and cutting the cake. After all, if the Republicans in power have

their way, that 100th year may be its last.


Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on

the Planned Parenthood debacle, where they questioned Cecile Richards, president of the

Planned Parenthood Federation. Some of the main issues raised at this hearing were the

organization’s appropriation of federal funding. This specifically relates to pro-choice

taxpayers’ money going toward abortions. Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) went on to decry the

profit Planned Parenthood earns from abortions, claiming it makes up 42 percent of the

organization’s revenue. Obviously, all these issues relate to one overarching problem:

abortions. The largely hostile committee questioning Ms. Richards were mostly Republicans,

including the chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and were predominantly pro-life, causing them to

attack the organization and even threatening that other health-care providers were better for

women than Planned Parenthood.


Richards responded to each issue thusly: In regards to the use of taxpayer money, it was

explained that federal funds can NOT be used for an abortion “unless the pregnancy threatens

the mother’s life or was caused by rape or incest.” Therefore, most of the tax money Planned

Parenthood receives never is involved in the abortion process. Responding to the profit the

organization receives from abortions, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), using data from the Planned

Parenthood website, proved abortions actually only made of 28 percent of the organization’s

revenue; almost half of Rep. Russell’s figures. As for the committee’s assertion that local

providers were more diverse and useful than Planned Parenthood, wouldn’t it be more sensible

to let the clients decide? If local health-care providers provide better services then Planned

Parenthood than clients will naturally gravitate toward the former, causing this debate to be

irrelevant anyway.


However, large companies and other individuals have still doubled down their support

for Planned Parenthood. Companies such as AT&T, Ben and Jerry’s, Clorox, Microsoft, Nike,

and PepsiCo have donated in the past. Furthermore, author Daniel Handler, better known as

Lemony Snicket—the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books—has also donated $1

million. These acts of solidarity come at a crucial time for the organization and, while money

may never have been an issue for them, carries with it a symbolic message of support and


Ultimately, this debate will rage on until the presidential election in 2016. At that time,

the ballot may very well decide Planned Parenthood’s fate.

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