On Thursday, September 10 between 9 and 10 PM, Joy of Resistance will answer the question “Who is behind that attacks on Planned Parenthood?” We’ll be speaking with RH realitycheck reporter Teddy Wilson, who has examined the background of those behind the sting operation that started the latest round ot right wing attacks on the nations largest health provider for women. We’ll also speak with Sunsara Taylor, who has been involved in analyzing and fighting the anti-abortion movement over the last 20 years. She recently returned from Mississippi, where she and others spoke with the women of that state about their experiences with abortion.
Planned Parenthood is a 100 year old women’s reproductive health organization, that operates over 700 clinics throughout the country. Only half of those clinics perform abortions: PP also provides pap smears, breast cancer screenings, contraception, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, and more. Last year it provided services to 2-1/2 million people–as well as Sex Education to 1-1/2 million people.. It is often the point of entry to healthcare services for low income people.
Panned Parenthood is currently under attack from every direction. Although the Senate defeated attempts to defund it in early August, the attacks show no signs of abating. Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee started hearings to investigate PP, even though the videos that started this latest round, two months ago, have been shown to be heavily doctored and therefore not fit to use as evidence–according to Fusion GPS, a professional analyst of videos.
Five states have now voted to defund Planned Parenthood by revoking state Medicaid contracts that finance it. For instance, Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana has shut down Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding by his state. Also in LA, where PP is building a clinic, locals have greatly delayed it by pressuring local construction companies not to work on it. The clinic site has also been outright vandalized a few times. The PP website database has been hacked a number of times recently. And, of course, the rhetoric has been intense (“sale of body parts”, etc). Some state lawmakers have compared Planned Parenthood to “ISIS”, “the Nazis” and “crack dealers”.Ted Cruz has urged ministers to preach against PP from their pulpits.
Cecile Richards has repeatedly stated: “We have followed all guidelines”. Using human tissue in some kinds of necessary research has been done since the 1930’s–leading to advances in polio, rubella and varicella vaccines. Dr. Willie Parker, a doctor. performing abortions, says that often women say to him: “is there any way I can donate this tissue for research?” This research HAS gone to study Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimers, Muscular Dystrophy and many kinds of dementia. It used to have bipartisan approval, but now ihas been labeled by the right “an immoral practice”–however, Nancy Reagan broke w/ Republicans to defend stem cell research (which uses human tissue) as her husband dealt with advanced Alzheimers. The New England Journal of Medicine and other medical organizations have issued statements defending Planned Parenthood and saying that it did nothing wrong in terms of medical ethics.
This is all happening in a context in which 84% of clinics performing abortions have been subject to some kind of attacks and more state restrictions were enacted between 2011 and 2013 than in the previous 10 years.