After Senate Fails to Defund Planned Parenthood, States Take Action
America’s biggest abortion clinic is still embroiled in the firestorm that began with the release of two undercover videos. The gristly videos showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing a morbid topic: the harvesting and sale of fetal tissue. While the Senate failed to pass legislation on Monday that would have eliminated all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, individual states have taken matters into their own hands.
A vote on Wednesday in New Hampshire blocked a third – nearly $650,000 – of Planned Parenthood’s state funding. Frank Edelblut, New Hampshire State Representative, hopes that other states will be encouraged by his state’s actions. He announced that he was “very pleased” by the Executive Council’s vote.
Maggie Hassan, the state’s Democratic Governor, was not so pleased with the council’s decision. “It is clear that today’s vote is the result of an ideological and political attack against Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions,” she said, “as there have been no allegations or evidence that Planned Parenthood of Northern New England has done anything but follow New Hampshire law and help thousands of women and families access health care.”
Two days before the decision in New Hampshire, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal canceled his state’s agreement between Medicaid and Planned Parenthood. Robert Bentley, Republican Governor of Alabama, announced on Thursday that his state would follow suit. He sent an official letter to Planned Parenthood this week notifying them that they will no longer be reimbursed for health care services provided to Medicaid patients. “I respect human life and do not want Alabama to be associated with an organization that does not,” said Bentley.
According to reports, however, the state of Alabama has paid surprisingly little to Planned Parenthood on behalf of Medicaid patients in the past few years. “We are disappointed that Governor Bentley has been distracted by a deceptive attack against our organization instead of staying focused on what really matters to women in Alabama. What Alabamians need is more access to health care, not less,” said Staci Fox, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Southeast. She argues that without Planned Parenthood as a part of Medicaid, uninsured and low-income women and families will not have access to important medical procedures such as cancer screenings, and STD testing.
In Texas, Planned Parenthood is under criminal investigation on account of their “repulsive and unconscionable” behavior. The investigation began after the fifth in a series of shocking videos suggesting the abortion giant profits from the sale of “intact fetal cadavers,” tissue, and organs.
The newest video, shot in secret at the Gulf Coast Planned Parenthood Center in Houston, Texas, was released by an anti-abortion organization Center for Medical Progress. “The people of Texas will not accept this callous attitude toward human life, and I will not accept it,” said Dan Patrick, Republican Lt. Governor of Texas.
Devon Anderson, Harris Country District Attorney, is taking a more realistic approach. The most recent video “has obviously been edited,” he says. “They’ve chopped it up. So we need to see it from beginning to end, to make sure we know the context of all the statements that have been made, and that’ll be the starting place for the investigation.”
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood agrees that the secret videos were edited and claims the company does not make a profit on the sale of fetal tissue. “The footage released today doesn’t show Planned Parenthood staff engaged in any wrongdoing or agreeing to violate any legal or medical standards,” reads an official statement released by Planned Parenthood. “Instead, the latest tape shows an extremely offensive intrusion and lack of respect for women, with footage of medical tissue in a lab. These extremists show a total lack of compassion and dignity for women’s most personal medical decisions.”