To date, six undercover videos have been released by The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), and it is these videos which have touched off the current push to defund Planned Parenthood.
In the context of the videos and in the surrounding debate, it is alleged that Planned Parenthood has violated two laws:
It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.
(Related) The term valuable consideration’ does not include reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.’.
No alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue.
In brief: 1) You can’t sell fetal tissue at a profit, you can only recover your costs, and 2) You have to do the abortion the typical way, you can’t change the way you’re doing the abortion in an attempt to obtain tissues.
What CMP and their allies claim is that Planned Parenthood breaks both of these laws, and the videos prove it. We will return to this claim.
Since they believe the claim is self-evidently true, they are seeking to defund PP. But what does that mean?
Two bills have been introduced in Congress, one in the House and one in the Senate. The bill in the Senate was recently introduced in a procedural vote, to see if it would garner the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster, and the measure failed 53-46. Therefore, there has been no federal law passed to defund PP.
The House bill calls for the prohibition of federal funds given to any women’s health agency that provides abortions; the Senate bill is limited to defunding Planned Parenthood. Both bills provide for the funds to be redistributed to other women’s health agencies; neither bill affects the legal right of women to have an abortion.
PP received $528.4 million in fiscal year 2013-14, according to their own annual report. This comprises about 41% of their total revenue (see page 20). Naturally, this would be a significant blow to their budget, and defenders of PP argue it would be unjust. This objection will be treated in a later post.
Ultimately, it is a matter of fact that if Planned Parenthood has broken the law, they should be held accountable. No friend of justice will debate this.
In the following posts, I will seek to show, in light of CMP’s videos, that there is reasonable cause to believe that PP has broken the law. Then, I will argue that nothing short of federal defunding will rectify the situation, until or unless PP should give up providing abortions.