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Do Women Need Planned Parenthood? (Part II)

The on-going Congressional investigation [1] into Planned Parenthood’s alleged illegal sale of baby parts and misuse of federal funds has resulted in the introduction of new legislation, the creation of a special investigative panel, and testimony on Congressional record by Planned Parenthood President, Cecile Richards, demonstrating that: (1) women do not need Planned Parenthood for access to health care, and (2) Planned Parenthood’s half-a-billion dollars a year in federal funding would better serve American women if those funds were re-directed away from Planned Parenthood to comprehensive community health centers.

The Facts On Planned Parenthood

Testifying under oath before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Richards [2]admitted the following facts:

Fact #1: Planned Parenthood does not, and has never, performed mammograms 

When asked if Planned Parenthood facilities offer mammograms, Richards had to admit that they do not: “We do not have mammogram machines at our health centers,” she testified.  Previously, Richards publicly stated [3] that if a bill defunding Planned Parenthood “ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.”  Her testimony under oath proves her prior claims to be false.

Fact #2: Planned Parenthood offers no other surgical procedure other than abortion

When asked what surgical procedures are offered by Planned Parenthood, Richards responded that “we provide surgical abortions, and we provide, uh, colposcopy, we do a variety of services.”  Colposcopy, however, is not a surgical procedure but a cervical examination, leaving abortion as the only surgical procedure offered.

Fact #3: Planned Parenthood makes 86% of its money from abortion

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) pointed out that, according to statistics reported by Planned Parenthood, over 86% of the organization’s non-government revenue each year comes from abortion, even if it reports that abortion accounts for just 3% of its services.  Richards attempted to explain the cause for this large disparity, but she did not deny the 86% figure and the fact that Planned Parenthood makes most of its money from abortion.

Fact #4: Community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities

When asked if community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities in America, Richards stated that she was “happy to admit that.”  As Rep. Lummis pointed out to Richards, community health care centers outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1, and offer comprehensive preventative and other health care services to women (such as mammograms) that Planned Parenthood simply does not offer.

Why Women Do Not Need Planned Parenthood

American women do not need Planned Parenthood for access to healthcare.  Existing community health centers far outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics, and offer more women’s health and preventative services.  For example, in addition to its lack of mammogram services, Planned Parenthood largely does not offer any other pre-natal care for pregnant women other than abortion.  In fact, according to Planned Parenthood’s 2013-2014 Annual Report, abortion accounts for 96% of services provided to pregnant women.  Even for those who are pro-choice, what constitutes “women’s health care” encompasses significantly more than just abortion.

Women have a wide variety of better options than Planned Parenthood for real women’s health care.  Research [4] by Alliance Defending Freedom shows the extensive availability of comprehensive community health centers, mapping out the number of those centers per state in comparison to the number of Planned Parenthood facilities in the same state.

I offer below a select sampling of this research:

Planned Parenthood Table [5]

Last week, Planned Parenthood sent a letter [6] to the National Institutes of Health, announcing that it will no longer be accepting payments for fetal organs and tissue.  At the very least, the letter reveals Planned Parenthood’s previous lack of oversight and adequate policies on the illegal sale of fetal organs and tissue.

The investigative videos showed Planned Parenthood senior officials stating that the organization did not have any written policies on the sale of aborted baby organs and tissues “by design,” specifically in order to avoid media and legal attention.  Planned Parenthood’s new policy of not accepting payments would be, it appears, its first written policy on this issue.

This change in policy is another positive result of the Congressional investigations.  However, it does not change Planned Parenthood’s liability for any previous crimes that may have been committed.

Planned Parenthood receives half-a-billion dollars a year in federal funding.  In light of the criminal investigation against it and the availability of better alternatives for real women’s health care, it would be prudent for Congress to re-direct Planned Parenthood’s half-a-billion taxpayer dollars to entities worthy of such funding.