The Truth Behind Planned Parenthood’s Controversies

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or Planned Parenthood, was established in 1916 when Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. Originally named the American Birth Control League, the non-profit organization's services now expand far beyond birth control. According to Planned Parenthood, its services include birth control, emergency contraception, general health care, HIV services, patient education and STD testing. Planned Parenthood even offers health care for men, including STD testing, cancer screenings and routine checkups. Planned Parenthood also offers high-quality care for members of the LGBT community, such as hormone therapy for transgender patients. 

The non-profit's history has been filled with controversy and attacks that still occur to this day. However, many of the controversies have to do with myths about the organization. 

The main controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood is that they are the largest provider of abortion care in America. After Roe v. Wade decided that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman's right to an abortion in 1973, Planned Parenthood began offering abortion services and giving their patients abortion referrals. 

Many people have differing opinions on whether or not abortion should be legal in the United States. However, some have created false rumors about Planned Parenthood to sway others’ opinions. Some have claimed that Planned Parenthood receives funding from the federal government for their abortion care. 

Although Planned Parenthood did, in the past, receive federal funding through the Title X program, that funding was never used for abortion care. Abortion care from Planned Parenthood is paid out-of-pocket from patients, with private health insurance or through abortion funds. Using Medicare or Title X money for abortions that are not deemed medically necessary is explicitly prohibited. 

Now, Planned Parenthood does not accept any federal funding. After the Trump administration decided Planned Parenthood could not receive federal funding if they gave referrals to patients for doctors that perform abortions, Planned Parenthood withdrew from the Title X Program. 

In 2015, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-abortion organization, released videos that they said proved Planned Parenthood was selling fetal parts harvested during abortion care. These videos were found to be altered after an investigation done by Fusion GPS, a commercial research and strategic firm. 

The Committee on Oversight and Reform also investigated the claims made by the CMP. The CMP claimed that "the undercover videos show Planned Parenthood trafficking in fetal tissue for profit violation of federal law." The Committee found that the videos had no credible evidence and that Planned Parenthood was not violating any federal law. 

Planned Parenthood does receive reasonable reimbursement for its fetal tissue donation, but that is permitted under federal law. The Statute on Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research of 1993 allows fetal tissue to be donated and allows those who donated to be reimbursed. However, Planned Parenthood only receives the amount they spend on the fetal tissue. It does not make any money on fetal tissue donation. 

The CMP also claimed that the videos proved Planned Parenthood obtained the fetal tissue without proper consent and that Planned Parenthood participated in partial abortions, but the Committee on Oversight and Reform also found this to be incorrect. The Committee on Oversight and Reform stated that there was no credible evidence to support these claims. 

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