Taken from the September/October 2015 issue of the Women's Health Activist Newsletter.
Using hidden cameras, a fake business name, and false identities, anti-abortion operatives pretended to be employees of a company that obtains fetal tissue for use in scientific research. They culled a few minutes of video clips from their surreptitious recordings, released it publicly, and claimed that Planned Parenthood “sells baby body parts.”
The reality, as is clear from the unedited tapes, is that Planned Parenthood was respecting the wishes of women who not only needed an abortion but also wanted to help researchers by donating their tissue.
The fact that these claims are clearly wrong hasn’t stopped abortion opponents from using the edited videos to launch a new round of attacks against Planned Parenthood. Within just a few days of the video’s release, several states had launched investigations and Members of Congress had introduced bills to defund Planned Parenthood by banning it from the Medicaid and the Federal family planning program (Title X).
This is wrong. Abortion is legal, common, and necessary. One-third of all women in the United States have abortions before age 45. Without abortion, women can’t plan their families or their education. Without abortion, families’ economic security is undermined. Abortion providers should be respected just like every other health care clinician. Abortion care should be covered by health insurance just like miscarriage and childbirth are.
Many supporters are rallying round Planned Parenthood — which it deserves. Cutting off funding and trying to shut down clinics is completely inappropriate. Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong, and plenty that’s right. It’s the single biggest provider of reproductive health services in the country, and a source of primary care for many women who still lack insurance. We #StandwithPP because it deserves our support.
In addition, though, the Network is also rallying round women. The heart of these attacks is an attack on women. Abortion opponents want women to carry every pregnancy to term, no matter what the consequences are to her or the children she already has. Abortion opponents also want to reduce women’s access to contraception, which will just increase the number of unintended pregnancies. We work for a society in which every woman is able to have the children she wants, when she wants them, and also has the resources to raise her children in a healthy, safe environment.
That means we support health care for all, prioritizing spending for health and human services, and making abortion affordable and accessible for women no matter where they work, how much they make, or where they live. Earlier this summer, I was proud to stand with Representatives Lee, Schakowsky, and DeGette and dozens of our allies in support of the EACH Woman Act, which will put an end to all federal restrictions on funding for abortion care. The Network will #StandwithWomen because we know that keeping abortion care available is #4EACHofUs. I hope you’ll join us.
Cindy Pearson was the NWHN’s Executive Director from 1996 to 2021. One of the nation's leading advocates for women's health, Cindy often testified before Congress, NIH and the FDA and was frequently featured in the news as a consumer expert on women’s health issues. When she retired, Cindy received a Congressional Resolution in honor of her outstanding contributions to the health of women and girls.