Democracy Tree: Attacks on Planned Parenthood bogus, unfair

Amy Kerr HardinPer usual, Michigan Republican lawmakers have proposed a spate of legislation in response to the deceptively edited Planned Parenthood tapes. A package of bills was introduced this week to prevent the dismemberment of aborted fetuses for the purpose of selling them for profit.

Let’s go over this one more time for those Republicans still confused about the issue:



Planned Parenthood of Michigan does not transfer fetal tissue for research. They don’t even give women the option of doing so. Period.

That didn’t stop Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-25) from demanding an inquest into Michigan Planned Parenthood, outraged at the possibility that perfectly legal medical science could be occurring in the state. Desiree Cooper, spokesperson for the organization, explained to MLive:

“State Sen. Phil Pavlov’s call for an investigation of Planned Parenthood is unwarranted as our organization does not offer patients the opportunity to donate fetal tissue.”

Numerous states have launched investigations of Planned Parenthood to determine if they have broken any laws. GOP operatives tried, they really tried, to find wrong-doing, but to no avail.

Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice-President at Planned Parenthood, described it this way:

“In every state where these investigations have concluded, officials have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. We’ve said all along that Planned Parenthood follows all laws and has very high medical standards, and that’s what every one of these investigations has found. This campaign by anti-abortion extremists is nothing less than a fraud.”

At the federal level, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fast-tracked a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, apparently forgetting that he was among a group of Republican lawmakers who voted in 1993 to lift a Reagan-era ban on fetal tissue transfer. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan similarly voted in favor of allowing the research.

And, currently the subject of an official Michigan House probe over their saturnalian conduct, Tea Party lawmakers Cindy Gamrat (R-80) and Rep. Todd Courser (R-82) weren’t invited to the above mentioned GOP Anti-Choice party. Yet still morally outraged over imaginary baby parts, they launched a social media campaign vowing to introduce legislation to restrict abortion.

Courser’s trap and snap scheme

Courser, given his keen interest in all things vaginal, wants to turn the probe on Michigan’s women with a return to a legislative thrust for transvaginal ultrasounds required for all abortions. His fury over women exercising reproductive autonomy is cataloged on Facebook with a long list of demands. Besides the forced up-vagina snapshot, Courser wants an inspector to be present during the full procedure to photographically document the entire process including pictures of the fetal remains in the same frame as all those present, medical personnel included.

These kinds of draconian measures are appropriately termed “TRAP laws” — Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, and they’re all the rage among those bent on restricting women’s reproductive rights, although they rarely stand up to a court challenge.

Gamrat and the X-factor of willful ignorance 

Unfamiliar with the basics of health care law, federal funding through Title X, or what occurs and does not occur in Michigan, and steadfastly remaining unfazed by her ignorance, Gamrat announced via Facebook last week that she was poised to strip Michigan Planned Parenthood of federal funding:

Gamrat Facebook post

Gamrat’s proposed legislation not only lacks the underpinning of fact,

Title X Michigan infographic


if enacted, would be in violation of federal law. Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, acting under the Department of Health and Human Services, notified authorities in both Louisiana and Alabama that their effort to terminate Medicaid agreements with Planned Parenthood was a violation of federal law. Reuters reports:

Federal law requires state Medicaid programs to cover family planning services and supplies for anyone of child-bearing age. Ending the agreements with Planned Parenthood would limit beneficiaries’ access to care and services from qualified providers of their choice, according to HHS.

Title X in Michigan

So, if Michigan Planned Parenthood is not trafficking in baby bits, just what form of evil are they doing in these clinics?

They operate largely through Title X funding, with none of the federal dollars going to abortion services. The Guttmacher Institute compiled the most recent comprehensive data for each state and county in the United States. Here’s Michigan’s stats:

(Click HERE for the state-by-state searchable infographic database. Click HERE to find information by county.)

Title X under federal fire

The Guttmacher Institute explains the importance of Title X for women’s health care:

Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated entirely to

family planning and related preventive health care, serving 4.6 million clients in 2013 and helping women to avert one million unintended pregnancies.

The Title X national family planning program was created 45 years ago with broad bipartisan support. Today, Congress has Title X—still the only federal grant program dedicated entirely to family planning and related preventive health care—in its sights for severe funding cuts or even elimination.

Between these restrictive proposals and the possible cut in federal funding — this is nothing short of legislative misogyny, which will most certainly lead to more, not fewer, abortions. Title X funding for family planning averted an estimated 345,000 abortions in 2013.

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