Planned Parenthood defunding incites debate: Program lacks support, should not have public funding

By Joe Nolan, Staff Writer

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It is nothing short of irresponsible to pour the American people’s money into a controversial and inefficient organization that performs procedures the public cannot agree on.
According to a 2010 Gallup poll, Americans are split right down the middle on the abortion issue, with 46 percent of Americans pro-life and 45 percent pro-choice. President Obama said on the campaign trail that determining when life begins is “above my pay grade,” yet he promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would expand women’s abortion rights if it passed.
So why is the federal government funding an organization that performs services that neither the American people nor the president are consistent on? The House recently raised that question, and it resulted in a decision to defund Planned Parenthood, an abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood operates on a $317 million budget, funded by taxpayer money. Despite abortion being such a controversial issue, Planned Parenthood continues to be the nation’s leading abortion provider and runs 800 clinics across the country.
The house has approved a bill that cuts off funding for Planned Parenthood because it is not doing its job. Yes, it provides women with necessary health care, but it is also going a step further—a step Congress never intended the organization to take.
According to Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which helps fund Planned Parenthood, federal funds cannot be used to even advise an abortion. The bill prohibits the nation’s leading abortion provider from even mentioning abortions. We can only expect Planned Parenthood to break the law because it wants to continue providing abortions while simultaneously receiving federal funding.
These conflicting interests have landed the family planning organization into trouble. Leaked undercover videos reveal Planned Parenthood employees giving illegal advice to patients about having abortions. According to a March 8,2008 Los Angeles Times article, a lawsuit currently accuses Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles of overbilling state and federal governments for its own profit.
Still, defenders of Planned Parenthood insist that millions of poor women will go without basic health care if it is defunded. Although Planned Parenthood’s provision of contraceptives and screenings for diseases would reach fewer women, this would alternatively give rise to new federal or state programs to administer these needs—programs that will hopefully follow the law.
Whether one believes in the methods used by Planned Parenthood or not, Congress has consistently refused to use taxpayer money to fund abortions. As Planned Parenthood continues to advise and perform abortions in the US, it should lose federal funding and be replaced by a more responsible, law-abiding organization.