An effort by Senate Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood failed Monday evening when a procedural measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed. Good. The bill, introduced in the wake of several undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing what the organization does with the tissue from aborted fetuses, was uncalled for, wrongheaded and a transparent case of partisan grandstanding.
The problem is, the measure could still be resurrected – possibly barnacled to some bigger, must-pass bill. So far, despite some casual and even irreverent remarks from Planned Parenthood officials in the videos – and some assertions from the filmmakers – they do not offer any credible evidence that Planned Parenthood profits by selling fetal tissue or does anything more than donate it for research purposes and then recoup its costs. That is not illegal or, for that matter, objectionable. Nor do the videos make a compelling case that Planned Parenthood is altering its abortion procedures to harvest more usable fetal tissue or organs.
Fetal tissue donation takes place at Planned Parenthood clinics in only three states and only with the consent of patients. The tissue is used by research groups to study medical conditions including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, brain tumors and spinal cord injuries. Neither the clinics nor the patients benefit financially.
In fact, the money that Planned Parenthood receives from the federal government may not be spent on abortions except in cases of incest, rape or danger to the life of the woman. Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million in U.S. government funds in 2013, mostly through the Medicaid program. It provides a range of services – breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, HIV screening, birth control, well-woman exams – as well as abortions.
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This excerpt is from the Los Angeles Times