Most of us have probably heard Planned Parenthood being discussed in the headlines recently but what exactly is going on? Trying to separate facts from fiction can be quite difficult, especially in this politically and emotionally charged story. So let’s try to get a clear picture of what is going on by breaking the story into three parts: What happened to launch this story, what is currently happening, and the direction things are heading.
- What happened
It all began in 2013 when an organization called The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) was founded with the intent to investigate certain Planned Parenthood practices. Posing as middlemen interested in purchasing fetal tissue, members of the CMP conducted a number of secretly recorded interviews of planned parenthood employees. On July 14 the group released the first of these which showed Dr. Deborah Nucatola, a senior planned parenthood employee, discussing fetal tissue donation practices.
It is important to note that while the donation of fetal tissue is not itself illegal, however to do so for profit would be illegal under federal law. Furthermore, the practice of partial-birth abortion (aborting after a child has been partially delivered) was outlawed federally in 2003. However, comments made by Dr. Nucatola in the video posted by CMP suggested that planned parenthood might be violating both these laws by donating organs of the unborn while recouping costs that would appear to be greater than the operating costs. Additionally, Dr. Nucatola described methods used to extract fetal tissue that that could be considered partial-birth abortions.
In response to this video Planned Parenthood responded with an apology video in which the CEO of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, apologized stating, “I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements,”
In response to these allegations The Government Accountability Office opened an investigation into Planned Parenthood. This investigation poses a significant threat to the organization since it receives taxpayer funding (528 million between 2013-2014 which constitutes about 41% of their total revenue).
- Whats Happening Right now?
First, despite the reveling comments made in the first, and now many other videos, released by the CMP it is difficult to prove that the amount planned parenthood receives for fetal tissue donations must be considered “profit” or that there is certainty that the practices described by Dr. Nucatola necessarily constitute partial-birth abortions. As a result, in the absence of breaking the law there is little ground for the federal government to defund planned parenthood. Furthermore, even in the event that congress’s pushes to defund planned parenthood President Obama has promised to veto such legislation thus making the prospect of defunding unlikely if not impossible.
That being said a number of states have taken steps to defund the organization including: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Texas, and Utah. However, the fact that fetal tissue donations (now the main issue in the debate) do not take place in every state raises the question of whether or not all states should or can take action. What is certain however, is that losing state funding from these states will have a significant impact on Planned Parenthood’s ability to operate in these areas.
- Where from here?
I believe we are witnessing a very pivotal moment in the pro-life movement right now. And this isn’t because there could be charges against Planned Parenthood, in the end that will not be hugely consequential. No, the reason this is a pivotal moment is because we are seeing the debate move from what is law to what should be law. No one finds the now many videos documenting Planned Parenthood’s practices repulsing because we feel they break the law but because we feel they break our natural law.
We can easily see this in the talking points of the many current Republican candidates. Of all the serious contenders all are against abortion and many have gone on record saying outright that Roe v. Wade must be overturned. The simple fact that they are able to loudly voice such opinions speaks volumes about public opinion on this issue. I believe people are finally understanding the damage Roe v. Wade has caused to our nation and that is why we are seeing such outrage concerning the videos released by CMP.
In closing, it is important not to get consumed by the current battle against planned parenthood. They are not the ones we as pro life advocates are fighting. In fact, they themselves are victims of Roe v. Wade whom we must care for. They operate not from a place of hate but from a true desire to help women but have simply fallen prey to our distorted culture. As a result it is important to continue to pray for an end to abortion but not to forget to also pray for the conversion of those who have fallen victim to the abortion industry.