The controversial hidden-camera video attacks on Planned Parenthood may be new, but the conservative vendetta against the healthcare provider is decades old. The Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group that released the videos, succeeded in raising alarm around Planned Parenthood's use of fetal tissue for medical research. But that wasn't enough to shutter the doors of the hundreds of Planned Parenthood health centers across the country. The Senate failed to pass a motion to stop all federal funding for Planned Parenthood on Monday. Can America stop trying to defund Planned Parenthood now?
Pro-life organizations and religious Republican politicians have opposed Planned Parenthood from the beginning because its clinics offer safe and legal abortions to women. This ignores the fact that the healthcare provider is exactly that — a healthcare provider. Yes, Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, but it also offers other essential medical care, such as contraception, cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Planned Parenthood's fearless leader, Cecile Richards, said it best in her Washington Post op-ed last week: "While our opponents have been working to create scandal and panic where none exists, doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood health centers have continued to provide care to thousands of women, men, and young people every day."
Because of the Hyde Amendment, no federal funding goes toward abortion services. Federal money is used to provide vital reproductive health services to millions of low-and-middle-income women throughout the country. Something many Planned Parenthood haters don't realize is that, if it was defunded, abortion rates in the U.S. would probably increase, not decrease, because women would lose access to affordable birth control. Since this contradicts everything pro-lifers are fighting for, here's a better solution: If you're morally opposed to Planned Parenthood, don't go there for your medical needs. It's that simple. Planned Parenthood should continue serving women for years, and we should all just accept that and move on with our lives.
All the time and energy some Republican politicians and pro-life advocates continue to waste trying to defund Planned Parenthood could be put to much better use. Let's be honest; America is full of problems that Congress should be dealing with, and taking away women's health care access is definitely not one of them. The continuous war against Planned Parenthood serves as a great distraction from America's real issues, but it's time to get back to reality, and that reality is that Planned Parenthood isn't going anywhere.
So can we all agree to stop trying to take away its money now? The anti-Planned Parenthood advocates fought a long, hard fight, but it's time to wave that white flag and surrender.