By Susan Gallagher and Wilson Hicks
We were very distressed to read Chrystal Perrow’s letter in the Methow Valley News, titled “Planned Deception” because it is her letter, not Planned Parenthood, that deceives. In fact, her letter repeats accusations and inflammatory statements about Planned Parenthood that in our opinion go beyond simple deception into evil lies.
In 2015 Planned Parenthood was accused of “killing babies” and “selling their parts” in a doctored video. It was quickly and thoroughly shown to be a naked attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood and create hysterical opposition to them in advance of the 2015 federal budget process.
The faking of the video was exposed by a variety of news sources and in addition Congress’ own Congressional House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Read their press releases and website postings from 2015. Its worth noting that the film and filmmaker were exposed by a committee which was at the time dominated by Republicans. Unfortunately, our own representative in Congress, Dan Newhouse, did not do a diligent review of the issue. He jumped on the anti-Planned Parenthood bandwagon and boasted on his website of co-sponsoring HR 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood bill of 2015, which ultimately failed. He’s still an opponent of Planned Parenthood without offering any valid argument for his position.
Contrary to Perrow’s assertion, the government does not give Planned Parenthood money for abortions. Planned Parenthood receives federal money from two sources: Medicaid and Title X family planning funds. Most of Planned Parenthood’s services involve various medical services for women (and even some men). Sixty percent of the patients use Medicaid to pay for medical services at Planned Parenthood just as they would at another medical provider. A woman’s Medicaid insurance will only pay for her abortion in case of rape, incest, or when her life is endangered. Planned Parenthood also receives federal funds directly via Title X money for family planning programs. No Title X funds are used to pay for abortions.
Also contrary to Perrow’s letter, Planned Parenthood’s primary mission is not abortion. Abortion is a very small percentage of the total services provided.
Another deception in Perrow’s letter is when she states that Planned Parenthood “kicks back millions” in federal tax dollars to politicians. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the health care provider and nonprofit which receives Medicaid reimbursements and Title X funds, does not contribute to politicians. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Super PAC, which do not receive government funds and are legal political organizations, do support political candidates who are working to support women’s health and reproductive rights and protect Planned Parenthood from these types of attacks.
Planned Parenthood has helped millions of women in this country during the past decades. The vast majority did not receive abortions but rather birth control and other medically necessary care. Far from being founded to “exterminate” babies, Planned Parenthood was founded by birth control pioneer, Margaret Sanger, in 1916 when both birth control and abortion were illegal. Abortion was illegal in most of the United States until 1974.
Finally, Perrow is correct that many Planned Parenthood clinics are in poor neighborhoods. Even Sanger’s first birth control center was in a poor neighborhood because she felt strongly that determining and taking control of the number of children born into a family was vital to the well-being of these families.
Government funds make up about one-third of Planned Parenthood Federation’s income. More comes from the donations of individuals and organizations. Donors can restrict what their donation will fund if they wish. We are proud to say that we donate unrestricted money monthly to Planned Parenthood. We started following the election in 2016 and we will continue while hysterical attacks on Planned Parenthood continue.
Abortion is a difficult and serious topic that has divided many in our country and deserves civil discussion. Having an abortion is not a decision that any woman makes lightly. Letters spreading false information about one of the providers who has been taking care of the total health of women in a supportive and non-judgmental way for decades does not contribute to a real discussion or debate on the central question of abortion.
It often takes more words to tell the truth than a lie.
Susan Gallagher and Wilson Hicks live in Twisp.