Every State Investigation Into Planned Parenthood Has Found Zero Wrongdoing, So Let's Pay Attention To That — Not The Politicians Trying To Score Points
In the last month, state officials across the country have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion group released a number of "sting" videos that purported to show that the organization illegally sells fetal tissue — a claim it has denied from the beginning. So far, the investigations haven't found any evidence of wrongdoing. Some state officials have even investigated PP clinics that don't provide abortions, and others have still defunded the organization even if it passed investigations, and even if tissue donation was illegal in their state. Simply put: Though investigations have found that Planned Parenthood is innocent, state officials haven't treated the organization as such.
South Dakota, Massachusetts, and Indiana have all cleared their Planned Parenthoods of wrongdoing. Meanwhile, officials in Delaware, Minnesota, Idaho, Washington, New York, and Virginia have declined to investigate, saying that they know there is no issue with the nonprofit's tissue donation program. So far, every state that has investigated has "found area Planned Parenthood affiliates to be in full compliance with state laws and regulations." Additional investigations are underway in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that the organization is not surprised by the investigation's findings so far, because it has always done things legally (shocker!):
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, intended to deceive the public with patently false claims in order to pursue an extreme political agenda.
Still, it's not clear that the investigations will do any good. Some state officials have still moved to defund Planned Parenthoods in their state. This includes 2016 Republican presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, even though the organization isn't allowed to perform abortions in Louisiana. Officials in Arkansas, Utah, and New Hampshire also moved to defund their Planned Parenthoods, even though the federal government has said it is against federal law to do so. Further, in all of these states, there are no allegations of wrongdoing against their Planned Parenthood affiliates. In Arkansas, for example, the state’s Republican governor simply "believes the health care organization represents the wrong values,” and should therefore lose its state funding.
In some states, officials are ending Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood. Strangely, though, this won't affect the purported problem of fetal tissue donations. Alabama, for example, moved to end its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that the state doesn't have a tissue donation program.
Unfortunately, stripping Planned Parenthood of funding won't affect people with private insurance who seek abortions. (Abortions make up three percent of Planned Parenthood's services.) Instead, stripping the organization of federal funding, or ending its Medicaid contract, will affect low-income women who get basic healthcare services from it, such as birth control consultations, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screening. Thus, these moves might not last long, since states cannot legally discriminate against qualified Medicaid providers.
Regardless of these latest actions, Planned Parenthood is still widely supported across the U.S. Think Progress notes that the organization is still polling better than all of the 2016 GOP candidates.