Oct 26, 2015
The governor of Texas recently denied Medicaid funding for patients seeking services at Planned Parenthood. Three days later, state investigators showed up at Planned Parenthood health centers in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Brownsville and ordered the centers to turn over patients’ records, including doctors’ orders, nursing notes, and lab tests, as well as the home addresses and telephone numbers of their workers.
The Texas government is using videos of Planned Parenthood workers “selling” fetal tissue to people pretending to be representatives of a biomedical company. Anti-abortion activists claim that these show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale.
This is all a smokescreen. No one profits from working for Planned Parenthood – just the opposite. These under-funded centers stay afloat because of nurses, doctors, and staff members willing to stand up to the threat of violence in order to defend women’s health. In the past decades, anti-abortion activists have murdered doctors, bombed clinics, and repeatedly intimidated women seeking health care – most of whom go to Planned Parenthood clinics for all kinds of health services, mostly not for abortions.
And of course fetal tissue – like other kinds of human tissue – is crucial for medical research. Those who object to its use want to send us back to the Middle Ages, when research even on corpses was banned, and leeches and bleeding were the height of medical technology.
The Texas ban on Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood is aimed at all women’s health, not abortions. The Hyde Amendment has barred federal money, including Medicaid, from paying for abortions since 1976! For decades, this has meant that poor women have a much harder time getting an abortion. But cutting off all Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood means that many women now won’t even be able to get the basic Ob/Gyn care or contraceptives that these clinics provide.
Texas’ attempt to get the records of Planned Parenthood patients and workers just adds to the intimidation. What will they do with these records? Given what anti-abortion criminals have done in the past, demanding these records is an outright threat that anyone who has had anything to do with Planned Parenthood could face violence from the state or from vigilantes.
The politicians who run Texas want to send women back to medieval times, when the leading cause of death was childbirth, and when there was no safe form of contraception, let alone abortion. These barbarians must be stopped.