Monday, September 14, 2015

Planned Parenthood Connection To Government Shutdown

As some of us might have heard, the government is most likely to shut down for the second time in two years this late September. The last time the government shut down was in 2013, and it was as a response to the two legislative houses not being able to compromise on what should be included in the Affordable Care Act. One of the biggest reasons for this next government shut down will be: debate over Planned Parenthood.

Most people hear this and are confused about the relation between the two. The reason why the legislative branch is getting divided by this is because of a controversial video that surfaced online where Planned Parenthood executives were trying to sell aborted fetal tissue to make money. The republicans want to completely take away all the federal funds that the government is currently giving to the Planned Parenthood organization, while the White House and Democrats have declared that they will not support any efforts to do so. The reason why September 30 is thought to be the date when the government will shut down is because that is when the existing continuing resolution to this organization ends. In this case, the continuing resolution is a appropriation bill that has been giving federal money to the Planned Parenthood organization for them to use in their operations and other needs.

In this case I agree with the Republicans. Through giving money to an organization, the federal government is stating that it's supporting what that organization is doing and what their goal is. While Planned Parenthood has had good intentions in what they are trying to accomplish in the world, the federal government cannot support an organization, whose representatives, are trying to do something as vulgar as sell aborted fetal tissue for profit. Regardless if you are pro life or pro choice, this is just something that I find unacceptable, and I think that the democrats and Obama should not oppose cutting funds to the organization just because Planned Parenthood has been a supporter of their party.

This issue involves a lot of political conflict because the Democrats have gained a lot of votes and support through their pro choice arguments and affiliation with Planned Parenthood. But now that this has happened, they are put in a spot where they either continue supporting Planned Parenthood, or, they realize that what has happened is too great in magnitude, and they cut their support to the organization. I don't think this will hurt Obama or the Democrats, because it does not mean that they are no longer pro choice so they will not loose their support. It just means that they do not agree with what this organization has tried to do and they do not affiliate with such organizations, which is why I cannot understand why the Democrats will not agree and cut the federal funds.

This argument ultimately leads to the upcoming government shutdown that is to happen in the end of September, and the legislative will eventually have to come up with compromise for this issue. I think a good solution is for the federal government to add some sort of "condition of aid" like they imposed on state grants. A condition would allow the government to support the organization and give them money, but the organization cannot partake in certain actions that the government denies to them.

A few things to think about:

Do you think what the Planned Parenthood organization tried to do by selling aborted fetal tissue is right?

Secondly, should the federal government cut funds to the organization? What other compromises or solution could the Democrats and Republicans come up with so that either the government doesn't shut down, or that the shutdown doesn't last long?

Article links here and here.


Danny Halawi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny Halawi said...

(I'm re-posting my comment, because my last one had an error). I just wanted to start of by saying that I really enjoyed your blog, and your point of view was very interesting. Regarding your first question, I did some research to find out why the Planned Parenthood organization wants to sell aborted fetal tissue, and after reading several articles, the people in the video claimed that selling the fetal tissue would allow for scientific research on future diseases. Although this reason seems somewhat reasonable, there is a huge ethics problem to this like Adjon mentioned, but more importantly there is a health issue to the patient giving abortion. In the video, senior director of the Planned Parenthood organization, Nucatola, wanted to alter the method of abortion so that she could get the heart, liver and lung without crushing the parts. The problem with this though is that this new method causes greater risk on the patient who's giving abortion. In my opinion, the health of the patient is the number one concern and should not be compromised. This makes their plan not right. Regarding your second question, I believe that the most effective action that could solve this problem is implementing a condition of aid like you mentioned. Personally, why I believe this is the best action is because it would appease the Republicans because it is stopping the Planned Parenthood organization from carrying out their plan, and it would also appease the Democrats because they don't want to give up all funds to the organization.

Eric Chen 1 said...

Great insight into the Democrats' dilemma here. Frankly, I think a shutdown over something this minor would be a travesty. As with most things politics related, I think that the best solution is somewhere in the middle. Selling fetus tissue is not acceptable, but planned parenthood is still a vital service for many Americans. Considering the level of forgiveness the government has offered banks and large companies, I think it isn't very reasonable to completely cut off funding. Condition based aid or some other form of coercion would be acceptable and ideal here. Political maneuvering to manipulate party appearances may delay the issue, but I doubt that Congress and the White House will allow this issue to cause a shutdown.

Adjon Tahiraj said...

First of all both your comments were very well thought out and insightful.

I agree with what you have said Eric that this should not be an issue to cause a shut down, but what was my fault in failing to mention in the post is that this is one of the few big reasons the government is palling to shut down. So this doesn't necessarily have to be the only thing the government has to work on to get a resolution in.

And Danny, I appreciate you doing research into the video. I think what most people are upset by, especially the republicans, is that a lot of people see the act as selling baby human parts for profit is unacceptable no matter under what conditions. Unless the tissue studies prove that the tissue will help cure a disease that could not be cured any other way, most people would see selling aborted fetal tissue as something very unethical. An what you mentioned about health risks also factors into the equation.

Alton Olson said...

I want to clear up a couple of things regarding this issue.

Right now, Planned Parenthood is not allowed to sell aborted fetal tissue for any sort of profit. They can collect a fee for donating it for research, but this fee is reported to only cover the cost of transportation and other expenses. Some people seem to think these fees are not accurate to these expenses, and that Planned Parenthood is taking a slice off the top (Planned Parenthood has denied this).

The people arguing to cut all support for Planned Parenthood seem to all be people who were already previously anti-abortion. They're also focusing on the statement that, yes, they do get reimbursed for fetal tissue in order to cover the expenses required to store, transport, and use it - and they tend to ignore the fact that women have to give permission for their aborted fetus's tissue to be used in research. Check out this article from, which refers to fetal tissue as "baby parts":

While I do agree that selling fetal tissue for profit could incentivize abortion or certain unsafe abortion procedures, I don't agree that this kind of issue is a reason to cut all Planned Parenthood funding. From what we know for sure, what's going on is perfectly legal, moral, and justified and some people are just choosing to overreact in what's already a highly polarized and misunderstood debate.


Monica Mai said...

I agree with Alton that the selling of fetal tissue is not a reason to cut all Planned Parenthood funding. Plus, according to this article (, the claim that they are selling aborted fetal tissue is unsubstantiated. Either way, as Alton said, women give their consent for their the tissue of their aborted fetus to be used in research. Though, I still believe it's an inadequate reason to cut Planned Parenthood spending because that is cutting back on women's healthcare.

The government shutting down could have disastrous consequences, and to avoid this, the Republicans should find concrete evidence that Planned Parenthood is indeed selling aborted fetus tissue to make money. And, like Alton mentioned, Planned Parenthood can only sell it for research purposes with the permission of the mother. So, in agreement with Alton once again, I believe people are blowing this issue up over a lot of unsubstantiated claims. I do think that a condition of aid would be the next best solution though, as Adjon stated, if the threat of the government shutting down becomes more apparent.

Louis Villa said...

Aside from the conversation on whether or not the selling of the tissue is moral or not, I think that there are better ways to deal with the conflict than cutting funding to the organization. Abortions are a small part of what the organization does. They also help screen for cancer and provide contraceptives. These service help many people make the choices they want about their lives. Taking away these choices seems unproductive. It seems like the issue could better be solved by firing the people responsible if selling the tissue is actually an issue. Finally, with a looming government shutdown, politicians should try to put aside their differences and debate the issue at some other point. It seems unlikely this will happen with our political culture but there is always a chance.

Lea Tan said...

I agree with Louis that it seems counterproductive to cut all funding to Planned Parenthood. People seem to associate this organization purely with abortions, but the organization clearly provides many other beneficial services. Like Louis mentioned, they screen for cancer and provide contraceptives, but they also help with general health care, men's sexual health, sexual orientation, and STDs. To eliminate all of these services over one issue seems a bit extreme. I believe that many people use abortion as a way to fight for their opinions and against others because it is a super polarized issue that can sway people one way or another over other conflicts.
In regards to selling aborted fetal tissue, I don't think that it's completely immoral. It would be immoral if Planned Parenthood purposefully encouraged women to receive abortions and give them permission to use the fetal tissue just so they could profit. However, without substantiated evidence of this happening, I think that the government should continue to fund Planned Parenthood, at least with a condition of aid.

Steven Lee said...

To clear up the air, the videos produced that "exposed" planned parenthood is actually proven to be heavily edited. Also when the people talking about how PP was "selling" fetal parts, it is actually about the shipping and handling fees, NOT for the actual fetuses themselves (it is against the law). Furthermore, according to the Hyde rule, Planned Parenthood does not take federal money and provide abortions with it. As for the case with abortions, only 3% of PP services actually go into abortions and a majority of what they do is actually providing contraceptives to poor women AND men. If the GOP stops funding to planned parenthood, they would actually be going against their ideology since PP also helps in sex education, thus creating more unwanted pregnancies which leads to more abortions. The Republicans need to stop playing party politics with women's health and should not be holding the government hostage over a video that has been proven to be heavily doctored.