Planned Parenthood Is Barely Discussed At The Democratic Debate & People Aren't Happy
Tuesday's Democratic debate was a mixed bag for Planned Parenthood supporters — only Hillary Clinton directly addressed Planned Parenthood and women's rights. The publicly funded health organization has been under intense scrutiny in the last several months after a series of videos was released by anti-abortion activists that showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing fetal tissue donation. Anti-abortion Republican candidates have responded to the videos by demanding an end to all federal funding for Planned Parenthood (although Daily Show host Trevor Noah amazingly slammed that hypocrisy).
To Planned Parenthood's credit, they are doing everything they can to divert political attention away from their organization. On Tuesday morning, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, told the National Institutes of Health that the women's health center will no longer be reimbursed for donated fetal tissue, despite the complete legality of the practice. Richards said in her letter to the NIH director that the motivation for the change in policy was to "take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion agenda." The decision proves that Planned Parenthood is more interested in protecting public health than winning a PR battle. The news of the policy change, which would theoretically end the conservative debate for defunding, may have impacted the decision to not ask questions about women's rights.
However, a social media firestorm erupted after the lack of debate on Planned Parenthood, from both progressives and conservatives wanting clarification on the Democrat Party's commitment to reproductive rights. Only Clinton made her beliefs known in the debate, and the four other candidates have all stated in the past their support for women's right to choose. But viewers showed that they wanted more discussion on this key issue.
Clinton's remarks gained some of the biggest cheers of the night — if the audience is any indication, the Democratic Party stands with Planned Parenthood and with Clinton, at least on reproductive rights. But more clarification on specific policy and legislation is still being called for on social media.
The next Democratic debate is scheduled for Nov. 14, and will be moderated by CBS News' John Dickerson. Hopefully, the hosts will be paying attention to social media to see what the American people feel was missing from this key debate.