The Republican chaired Oversight and Government Reform Committee wasted the time and money of the American tax payer Sep. 29 in a desperate attempt to frame Planned Parenthood as the immoral, corporate tax sponge.
The goal of this most recent attack on the organization is to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding, piggybacking on a smear campaign revolving around the use of donated fetal tissue, but more broadly due to Republican distaste for the constitutionally protected right for a woman to abort in privacy. This attack comes despite the well documented, oft repeated fact that federal funding only covers abortion in the case of rape, incest, or when abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother.
The vast majority of federal funding for of Planned Parenthood comes in the form of reimbursement for medical services the organization provides for Medicare patients, services which include cancer screening, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning and contraceptives.
Planned parenthood CEO Cecile Richards steadfastly defended her company’s mission and services, which includes the abortion services at the center of the debate, against a committee which from its inception seemed determined not to let Richards speak.
This tactic became clear when republican chairman Jason Chaffetz, a representative from Utah, questioned Richards, repeatedly interrupting her answer to provide his own narrative. The Oversight Committee was clearly designed to dominate the dialogue, trying to press Richards into giving context-free answers in a blatant attempt to incriminate her with willful baby murder.
Chaffetz even took the time to question Richard’s salary, a narrative which some members of the committee rightfully saw as sexist.
“Your compensation in 2009 was $353,000. Is that correct?” he asked.
“I don’t have the figures with me, but —” Richards said.
“It was,” Chaffetz responded. “Congratulations.”
“You’re beating up on a woman for making a good salary,” said Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney. “She heads a distinguished organization that provides health care services to millions of Americans.”
“The disrespect and the misogyny rampant here today tells us what’s really going on here,” said Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly. “This isn’t about some bogus video.”
Connolly merely echoed the sentiment of many Americans who have watched the attack on the organization over the years. There is a hate in this country against an organization which has always legally worked to provide sound, unbiased medical advice to women, a hate which manifests more honestly than pedantic congress hearings when terrorists burn down Planned Parenthood centers, as happened in Pullman last month.
Planned Parenthood delivers reproductive health care, sex education and resources to individuals around the world. Whether or not a person, or group of affiliated people, believes abortion is morally sound should not effect federal funding directed towards a resource that caters to a plethora of vital medical needs. One’s decision to abstain from or choose the procedure is personal.