Could the Government Shut Down Over Planned Parenthood?

IMG_7031Republicans in Congress are refusing to support any federal budget proposal that provides funding for Planned Parenthood. If they don’t budge, they could shut down the government for the second time in two years.

The trouble started after the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-choice group, released a series of heavily doctored videos in which Planned Parenthood staff allegedly discuss the sale of fetal tissue with someone posing as a potential buyer. Though Planned Parenthood in no way profits from fetal tissue donations, the videos resulted in renewed efforts from conservative lawmakers to defund the healthcare provider.

Several congressional panels are now investigating Planned Parenthood, and the beleaguered organization submitted a report to Congress arguing that “the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries.”

The national consensus seems to be that defunding Planned Parenthood isn’t worth a government shutdown. According to a recent CNN poll, 71 percent of Americans believe avoiding a shutdown is more important than eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.

President Obama has come out in support of Planned Parenthood, urging Republicans to not let this turn into another budget showdown:

You’ll recall two years ago Republicans shut down the government because they didn’t like Obamacare. Today, some are suggesting the government should be shut down because they don’t like Planned Parenthood. That’s not good sense, and it’s not good business.

He then accused Republicans of being cavalier with the economy:

The notion [that] we play chicken with [an] $18 trillion economy…all because of an issue around a woman’s health provider that receives less than 20 cents out of every 1,000 dollars in the federal budget—that’s not good policy-making.

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive healthcare services and education to more than 5 million women and men across the globe each year, and 1 in 5 American women will visit a Planned Parenthood clinic in her lifetime.

For many women, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can access contraceptives, and for low-income women, losing Planned Parenthood could mean losing their only healthcare provider.

Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement:

Quite simply, attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on women’s health. Instead of this folly, lawmakers should be focused on improving the quality and value of health care, making our country’s workplaces more fair and family friendly, and putting real economic security within reach for every family.

Photo courtesy of Joe Fenstermaker via Creative Commons 2.0.





Associate editor of Ms. magazine