Unfortunate mistake regarding Planned Parenthood

Susan Paigen


I noticed a very unfortunate error in the description of next week’s debate on defunding Planned Parenthood. The third sentence states “But the real issue that made congress decide to defund Planned Parenthood was the controversial abortion program funded by taxes” (italics mine). There is no federal government funding for abortions (“paid for by taxes”) performed by Planned Parenthood or anyone else, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. This has been prohibited by law for many years. (17 states provide less restrictive Medicaid funding for abortions exclusively from state funds, a situation that would not be changed by additional federal restrictions.) All the federal government funding that Planned Parenthood receives is for other approved health services it provides, primarily insurance reimbursement for women’s and family health services provided to Medicaid recipients.

This is a particularly problematical mistake since it perpetuates the falsehoods that fueled the drive to defund Planned Parenthood in the first place.

It is also not true that “congress decide(d) to defund Planned Parenthood”. The House of Representatives passed a measure to defund PP but the Senate did not, meaning the measure failed.

And from an opinion perspective, I would like to add that I, and many other people, feel that the congressional attacks on Planned Parenthood are motivated by a desire to restrict not just access to abortions, by putting the organization in such financial straits that they’re forced to close more facilities, but to restrict access to contraceptive coverage as well. PP is a major provider of contraception, at no or reduced cost for many women, many of whom are not on Medicaid.