Planned Parenthood: Not Goldman Sachs

Kathleen Reeves

Foes are painting Planned Parenthood as an inflated corporation, dangerously powerful and drunk on profits. So the true kingpin of American corporate power is a group of community health clinics providing free and low-cost care?

The lobbyists and Representatives who want to take down Planned Parenthood have embraced a strange rhetoric that fuses “morality” with (purported) fiscal responsibility. And now the governor of Maine, a fiercely independent state that traditionally resists government regulation of bodies and lifestyles, has threatened to drastically cut state family planning funding. The director of Concerned Women for America of Southern Maine, defending the state and federal cuts, takes the fiscal responsibility route. Referring to Planned Parenthood, she says:

“If their argument is the other services that they provide, if it’s that worthwhile as a non-profit, they can do fund-raising. They should not be getting it from the taxpayer.”

Hey, that’s a good idea. In that spirit, I would like to ask the U.S. Government to please cut its defense budget and have bake sales instead—though I suspect that $708.2 billion (page 1-1) will be harder to rustle up than the $75 million that the House of Reps wants to withhold from Planned Parenthood.

And Concerned Women for America might not like that trade, considering their stance on “National Sovereignty.” Yes, in addition to condemning stem-cell research and gay marriage (and gay people), Concerned Women for America wants to remind you that “neither the United Nations nor any other international organization should have authority over the United States in any area.” CWA generally identifies as “fiscally conservative;” they have also supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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While some of Planned Parenthood’s foes are sticking to the old pro-life tactics of demonizing and sensationalizing abortion procedures—Rep. Jackie Speier briefly and brilliantly responded to such a speech, by Rep. Chris Smith—many of those trying to kill Title X are claiming they’re on an anti-business crusade. They’re hoping to depict Planned Parenthood as an inflated corporation, dangerously powerful and drunk on profits. They figure they can tap into anti-Wall Street sentiments—and crazy as it is to align Planned Parenthood with Goldman Sachs, they’re probably can. Anger and fear are not clear-eyed.

In a stupefying move in January, Rep. Smith’s crony Rep. Michele Bachmann sought to associate Planned Parenthood with oil companies, large banks, etc., calling the clinic “big business” and “the Wal-Mart of big abortion.” So the true kingpin of American corporate power is a group of community health clinics that provide free and low-cost cancer screenings to women who can’t afford them elsewhere.

Bachmann is not the only one claiming that Planned Parenthood epitomizes American capitalist greed: Lila Rose, who has led the charge to paint PP as aiders and abetters of sexual abusers and sex traffickers, made sure to call the organization a “corporation” when she talked to the New York Times.

Jackie Speier, in her speech on the House floor, slammed her colleagues for seeking to distract Americans from the problems that they, the public servants, have been elected to solve. Clearly, these colleagues know how this campaign might make them look—petty, misguided, callous, and irresponsible—and so they’ve made a concerted effort to frame it in terms of economics, as a populist, common-sense measure.

Planned Parenthood provides primary obstetric and gynecological care for many women. This includes services that you’d think “pro-life” advocates would support: prenatal care (which can help reduce infant mortality), breast cancer screenings, ovarian and uterine cancer screenings, HIV testing, and contraception.

This is the work Planned Parenthood does, and it’s not making anyone rich. The bottom line is that the Representatives behind this attack don’t want to pay for a low-income woman’s pap smear. But we already knew that.

News Family Planning

Judge Thwarts Ohio GOP’s Attack on Planned Parenthood Funding

Michelle D. Anderson

“This law would have been especially burdensome to communities of color and people with low income who already often have the least access to care—this law would have made a bad situation worse,” said Iris E. Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.

An effort to defund Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates by Gov. John Kasich (R) and the Republican-held legislature has come to an end.

Judge Michael R. Barrett of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio on Friday ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor, granting a permanent injunction on an anti-choice state law.

The court ruling will keep Richard Hodges, the Ohio Department of Health director, from enforcing HB 294.

The 2015 law, sponsored by Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Margaret Conditt (R-Butler County), would have redirected $1.3 million in state and federal taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood’s 28 clinics in Ohio.

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The law would have required the state department to keep federal funds and materials that the health department receives from being distributed to entities that perform or promote non-therapeutic abortions, or maintain affiliation with any entity that does.

Funding that would’ve been cut off from the state health department went to the Violence Against Women and Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention acts, the Infertility Prevention Project, Minority HIV/AIDS and Infant Mortality Reduction initiatives, and the Personal Responsibility Education Program.

Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit argued that the Republican legislation violated the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Barrett had temporarily blocked the law after Planned Parenthood affiliates filed the lawsuit and requested a preliminary injunction. The judge had issued an opinion contending that some legislators passed the law to make it difficult for people to access abortion care, as Rewire reported.

Iris E. Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, praised the judge’s temporary order.

“This law would have been especially burdensome to communities of color and people with low income who already often have the least access to care—this law would have made a bad situation worse,” Harvey said in a statement.

Kellie Copeland, NARAL Pro Choice Ohio’s executive director, said in a statement that the Ohio legislature passed the anti-choice measure in an effort to appeal to conservative voters in early primary states during Kasich’s presidential campaign.

Copeland said that while the legislation made no effort to reduce the number of abortions performed, “it actively blocked critical health care for low-income women and families.”

Planned Parenthood said those services included 70,000 free STD screenings, thousands of HIV tests for at-risk community residents, and the largest infant mortality prevention program in the state.

In the 23-page court order and opinion, Barrett, an appointee of President George W. Bush, acknowledged that the law would have deterred “patients from seeking these potentially life-saving services.”

Planned Parenthood noted that the recent ruling in Ohio makes it among the ten states where courts have blocked anti-choice laws following June’s landmark Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

News Violence

Admitted Planned Parenthood Shooter Again Deemed Not Competent for Trial

Jessica Mason Pieklo

A Colorado judge ruled Thursday that Robert Lewis Dear Jr. remains not legally competent to stand trial on charges related to a November 2015 clinic siege that left three dead.

A Colorado judge ruled Thursday that Robert Lewis Dear Jr., the man who has admitted to killing three people during a siege of a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, is still not legally competent to stand trial. Dear faces 179 criminal counts, including murder and attempted murder, for the November 27, 2015 attack.

This was the second time Judge Gilbert Martinez has made such a determination. In May, Martinez made the ruling following two days of hearings where forensic pathologists told the court that Dear’s extreme political beliefs amounted to a delusional disorder sufficient to render Dear incompetent for trial.

Dear had previously told law enforcement officers and state mental health evaluators that he believed the federal government was persecuting Christians.

During Dear’s May competency hearing, Dear argued his attorneys were seeking a ruling of legal incompetence over his objections. Dear said during that hearing that he instead wanted to put forward a defense during trial that his actions were legally justified to prevent the greater evil of Planned Parenthood “selling baby parts,” a claim based off a series of discredited videos that claimed the reproductive health-care provider was illegally profiting from fetal tissue donations.

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Multiple state and federal investigations have not found any wrongdoing with regard to Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donation program.

Dear’s proposed “justified homicide” defense is the same on that Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in 2009, tried to raise during his trial. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman had also advocated for the murder of abortion providers under the theory that killing abortion providers prevents the so-called greater harm of those providers performing legal abortions. He has since walked back those statements. Newman is an advisor to David Daleiden, the anti-choice activist behind the videos Dear referenced to law enforcement.

Dear’s Colorado siege was not his first alleged anti-choice action. Court records show Dear had superglued locks at an abortion clinic in South Carolina and deeply admired Paul Hill, a former minister who was executed in 2003 for the 1994 murders of Florida abortion provider Dr. John Britton and Britton’s bodyguard.

As a result of Thursday’s ruling Dear will remain in a Colorado state mental health facility until his next evaluation by the court, which will take place in November.

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