Over the past few months, there has been a steady buildup of pressure against the Planned Parenthood Federation for America. This pressure has resulted from a number of videos released by an organization called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). As stated on its website, “The Center for Medical Progress is a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. We are concerned about contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity, and we oppose any interventions, procedures and experiments that exploit the unequal legal status of any class of human beings. We envision a world in which medical practice and biotechnology ally with and serve the goods of human nature and do not destroy, disfigure or work against them.”
The videos released by CMP focus on what they allege is the illegal profiting from the sale of human body parts taken from aborted babies. According to 42 U.S. Code § 289g–2 (a) Purchase of tissue: “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” Of course, allegations have gone back and forth as to whether or not Planned Parenthood has actually received profit from its exchange of human tissue, even though footage shows several top-level executives stating that they received compensation for human baby tissue. These allegations have had governmental reverberations and, though an initial attempt to defund Planned Parenthood failed, actions are still being taken towards that end.
However, irrespective of what the House of Representatives, the Senate or the President have done, are now doing or will do, the videos released by CMP acutely show one thing: Planned Parenthood is not the golden champion of women’s rights that it pretends to be. It is a business and it wants to make money. Why else would top executives talk about the exchange of body parts in monetary terms? Why else would they be so careful about the way they perform abortions, taking care to leave all sellable tissue intact (both examples from videos found at CMP’s website)? But Planned Parenthood has gone farther than that by creating its own customers. They begin by teaching sexual education, leading to promiscuity at a very young age, and resulting in unplanned pregnancies. When young women come to Planned Parenthood pregnant, Planned Parenthood then advises abortions at a rate of 174 abortions to 1 adoption. This is done with the help of $528 million per year, $1.4 million per day, of taxpayer money.
Nonetheless, this writer is not an ignorant, closed-off fool. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, it performs STI/STD testing and treatment, contraception services, cancer screening and prevention and other services that are considered valuable. But one procedure that is often championed as a valuable service of Planned Parenthood, mammograms, is not offered by the organization. In response to the question “Where Can I Get A Mammogram?” on Planned Parenthood’s “Mammograms at a Glance” section on its website, the organization advises that someone interested in the service should “ask your healthcare provider, health department or staff at your local Planned Parenthood center about where you can get a mammogram in your area.” There is also a myth that says that without Planned Parenthood, there would be no access to health care, particularly for women. That is simply false. Compared to Planned Parenthood’s 700 centers throughout the country, there are over 8000 federally funded Community Health Centers in America, with one only 18 miles away from campus in Pittsfield. Additionally, there are over 3000 pregnancy health centers across America waiting to help women work through their pregnancies.
The point is that women have other options for health care and pregnancy resources. They don’t only have to go to Planned Parenthood, which, as the numbers show, heavily pushes for abortions instead of adoptions. Writing frankly, if Planned Parenthood is all about giving women a choice, then it is quite interesting that it would give preference to that option which brings in more money for it. Let’s not dress up Planned Parenthood as a beacon of women’s rights any longer. It certainly does provide some valuable services, but it also actively sells abortions and humans.
Luis Urrea ’16 is a psychology and geosciences double major from Houston, Texas. He lives in West College.