Should Planned Parenthood continue to receive federal funding?

Ashton Gergen, David Wang

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The national Planned Parenthood organization has been criticized for receiving federal funding, amid controversy of handling fetal tissue for medical research. In September, about 500 people protested outside of the governor's residence calling for an investigation into the organization. Concerns have been made about how Planned Parenthood budgets its funds, and the organization announced recently that it would no longer take reimbursements in procuring fetal tissue.

Defending Planned Parenthood's funding is Ashton Gergen, a junior communications and mass communications major at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.

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When you hear Planned Parenthood, what immediately comes to mind? I am sure with everything in the news, it may have something to do with government funding, with focus on abortion, and fetal tissue donation, claimed-to-be sales. I am sure that there are very few members of society that do not have an opinion on the organization and the funding of its programs. Recent videos have gone up that have made claims about Planned Parenthood’s abortion services, claiming that they are profiting from fetal tissue sales from these procedures. These claims have made major play in the conversations about the federal funding of Planned Parenthood. If we look at Planned Parenthood it becomes clear that the organization does so much good that is not being talked about, and those facts make it clear that Planned Parenthood should continue to be government funded.

Planned Parenthood provides all sorts of services - while specializing in women’s health, only 3 percent of their business is abortion related. The other 97 percent of their services include providing contraception, sexual and reproductive health care, abuse and rape counseling, early cancer screenings, STD care, and prenatal services. 83 percent of their services are used to prevent unintended pregnancy, and have helped to prevent more than 612,000 unintended pregnancies each year. Their focus is clearly not abortions, but they are truly there for women’s health and wellness. They perform nearly a million Pap tests, over 830,000 breast exams each year and nearly four million STD tests and treatments, including HIV.

One of the biggest factors of this decision should be the people involved: patients, doctors, nurses, and their over four million activists, supporters, and donors. One in five women have visited a Planned Parenthood facility at least once in their life, and 79 percent of those who receive care are twenty years of age or older. Planned Parenthood affiliates provide education services to 1.2 million people every year. How can we look at these people being positively affected by Planned Parenthood, and really say that government should stop funding it? What would we be saying to both men and women who do not have anywhere else to go, and how can we leave them without the help they deserve?

Challenging the argument is David Wang, a senior at St. Olaf College majoring in economics and statistics.

The issue with Planned Parenthood is twofold. The first issue is that whether or not government funding goes directly into the funding of abortions the fact of the matter is that the government is still tacitly condoning abortion and by doing so is also putting the money of those who object to such actions to use in an organization that does something they do not condone. Now if this were simply a private organization and not a federal one it would simply become an issue of not utilizing its services as then an individual could sleep easy that they had no financial part in the morally abhorrent act that is abortion.

However this isn't the case, since a) Planned Parenthood is funded by our tax dollars and b) there exists no alternative. Now the question becomes why should Planned Parenthood be the only organization to have this funding? Why can't there be an alternative organization that likewise receives federal funding and offers all the same services as Planned Parenthood minus abortions? Why must individuals who morally oppose abortion be forced to give their money to an organization that facilitates that very thing they oppose? A separate organization would allow the objectors to fund women's health needs while also not blooding their hands with the murder of hundreds of thousands of unborn fetuses a year.

Today's Question: Should Planned Parenthood continue to receive federal funding?