Statement on the threatened government shutdown in attempt to defund Planned Parenthood

We condemn in strongest terms the attempt of a group of extreme right-wing politicians in the House and Senate to hold the government budget hostage or force the defunding of Planned Parenthood health services.

This extreme right-wing campaign against Planned Parenthood, a major provider of health care for women, was sparked by a dishonest and manipulative video attack on the reproductive rights organization. Actors posing as medical researchers secretly videotaped a conversation with a Planned Parenthood doctor about fetal tissue donation for research purposes. A lengthy discussion was selectively edited down to 8 minutes and used to advance the ludicrous claim that Planned Parenthood was involved in selling fetal tissue for profit.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Any fees received by Planned Parenthood for donated fetal tissue are used to cover the additional expenses involved in preserving and transporting the tissue. Fetal tissue research, like abortion itself, is legal. Such research has contributed to lifesaving medical advances.

However, the extreme right-wing politicians in the House and Senate, and those involved in the Republican presidential primary, have seized on this video and are trying to make political hay of it, with investigations and hearings, and now the threat to shut down the government if funding for Planned Parenthood is continued.

It is important to realize that federal funding for abortion services is already prohibited, ever since the 1975 Hyde Amendment. What would defunding Planned Parenthood mean for women?

Only 3% of Planned Parenthood services involve abortion. The remaining 97% include sex education, contraception, cancer screenings and sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment. For poor and low income women, Planned Parenthood often serves as a primary medical care provider.

The hateful video campaign against Planned Parenthood has already led to a violent act of terrorism against a Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman, Washington. Just a few weeks after an anti-abortion rally of 500 people outside the clinic, someone threw an incendiary device into the building on Sept. 4 The clinic building was destroyed.

There is no meaningful difference between the right-wing politicians scheming to hold the federal budget hostage in order to shut down Planned Parenthood, and terrorists who firebomb a womenโ€™s health clinic in order to shut it down.

The heroic doctors, nurses and other workers at Planned Parenthood in Pullman have refused to abandon the women they serve. They have set up a tent in the parking lot where they are answering questions, helping with prescriptions and handing out condoms. They will not back down in the face of terror and they are getting a lot of support from the community, which like most people in the U.S. support reproductive rights. We support these brave workers and stand in solidarity with them.