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Planned Parenthood and its allies are now defending its practices, which have helped to dramatically reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions in the United States, after the group’s fetal tissue program has come under fire. Undercover videos about the tissue transfers have given conservatives a handy excuse to try and “purge” the nonprofit organization’s federal funding.

From The New York Times:

As president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards tries to keep perspective while the group faces one of its biggest political crises. After all, she said on Monday, the founder, Margaret Sanger, was arrested 99 years ago for pamphleteering about birth control.

“There hasn’t been a moment in our history, when we were pushing forward on reproductive health care rights and access for women, that someone wasn’t after us,” Ms. Richards said in an interview.

She spoke at Planned Parenthood’s headquarters [in Washington, D.C.] as she waited for the Republican-controlled Senate to vote on eliminating the organization’s federal funds — a reaction to four videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing fees for tissue from aborted fetuses. Hours later, Democrats blocked the bill on a procedural motion. The vote was 53 to 46, short of the 60 votes needed to proceed. Two Democrats voted with nearly every Republican to take up the measure. Supporters of Planned Parenthood argued that the federal money does not pay for abortions — except in limited cases like those involving rape and incest — and that it reimburses Planned Parenthood only for services like birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screening and preventive exams. … The Senate legislation was drafted at the behest of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, as a response to the serial release in recent weeks of the videos surreptitiously recorded by antiabortion activists, who posed as middlemen seeking fetal tissue for medical researchers.

Read more.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata


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