by Marie Fester
On September 29th, the U.S. congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood’s (PP) eligibility for funding began (C-Span). The hearing was spurred by the Center for Medical Progress’ release of video’s claiming that PP was selling fetal tissue for profit this past summer (The New Yorker). The CMP is an anti-abortion group that has been conducting a “sting” operation to try and catch PP doing something that they could be defunded for (The New Yorker).
Planned Parenthood receives approximately $500 million in federal funds, most of which are reimbursements for Medicaid users (CNN). The non-profit organization made $127 million last year, house republicans are accusing them of wasting money on “blowout parties” and paying “exorbitant salaries” (The Globe and Mail). According to Cecile Richards, the president of PP, profits are spent investing in new facilities and education (The New Yorker).
Medicaid payments cover preventative healthcare, birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and much more. Abortions represent less than 3% of planned parenthood’s services. Furthermore, they are only covered by Medicaid if they are the result of rape, incest or have the potential to kill the mother. Last year alone, the amount of men who went to planned parenthood nearly doubled over 80% of services they used were related to STI screenings (The Guardian, The New Yorker).
Republicans currently hold that they want to shut down the government’s funding to Planned Parenthood. Democrat Peter Welch has argued that while this debate is about abortion, the consequences would affect women’s health in general (The Globe and Mail). An investigation by the Missouri Attorney General found no evidence of fetal tissue sale for profit by Planned Parenthood (CNN).