healthcare, Planned Parenthood, War on Women, Women — October 9, 2015 at 11:50 am

Attacks on Planned Parenthood continue despite no evidence of illegal activity


Between a nationwide protest on Saturday and a pledge from lawmakers to keep digging for evidence of wrongdoing, the healthcare organization faces ongoing scrutiny.

Facts are facts, but opponents of Planned Parenthood won’t let a little thing like the truth get in their way. Instead, they’d rather keep wasting taxpayer resources and harassing patients seeking legal healthcare services.

As Chris wrote here earlier this week, two Michigan state departments that reviewed practices at Planned Parenthood after legislators called for an investigation found no evidence that the organization is illegally handling fetal tissue.

According to MLive, the departments of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and Health and Human Services issued a joint statement saying, in part:

LARA and MDHHS have thoroughly reviewed our regulatory oversight regarding the investigations and inspections of licensed facilities and individuals and there is no evidence to date that illegal practices are occurring.

Of course, the fact that Planned Parenthood does not offer fetal tissue donation services in Michigan — a practice that’s legal and vital to advancing medical research and treatment — didn’t stop lawmakers from wasting time and money on a witch hunt. What’s more, Michigan Senator Peter MacGregor has stated his intent to keep investigating the issue through the Senate Oversight Committee.

Federal investigations have also found no proof of wrongdoing. The chair of the U.S. House Oversight panel, Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz, said that no evidence has been found to show that Planned Parenthood violated any laws nationwide — after more than two months of investigations by his committee. But that isn’t stopping the House from embarking on two more investigations, one by the House Judiciary Committee and the second by a “select investigative panel.” There seems to be no apparent reason for this, other than badgering Planned Parenthood to appease the GOP anti-choice base and wasting taxpayer dollars.

In response to the findings of the Michigan investigation, Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan CEO Lori Carpentier issued this statement:

Recent media reports have quoted top state officials stating there is no evidence to suggest that Planned Parenthood in Michigan is violating any laws. We are gratified by these public disclosures given the widespread misinformation about who Planned Parenthood is and what we do.

After serving the people of Michigan for nearly a century, Planned Parenthood remains one of the most trusted names in reproductive health care. We have earned that trust by safeguarding the health and safety of our patients. To that end, we have had a long, cooperative relationship with state regulatory agencies including DHHS and LARA. Like all health care providers, we share their concern for the people of Michigan and respect their oversight and licensing responsibilities.

We have received all the required approvals from regulators to ensure that our patients can count on the utmost in care at Planned Parenthood’s 21 health centers, and will continue to live up to the standards set forth by the state.

At least on Saturday, October 10, however, it’s going to be difficult for Planned Parenthood to serve its patients. During this nationwide day of protest against Planned Parenthood, Michigan is expecting high volumes of protesters at many of its locations statewide. Most of its health centers will be closed on Saturday, but the Lansing health center — which does not provide abortion care, but offers other healthcare services Planned Parenthood provides thanks, in part, to the federal funding it receives — will be open.

Planned Parenthood has notified its patients and will have escorts on site, just in case, although many patients may avoid seeking care that day to avoid walking the gauntlet of hateful, screaming anti-choice protestors.

“Where else in the United States are patients threatened and intimidated for seeking health care?” says Desiree Cooper, Director of Community and Media Relations at Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan.

Here’s Planned Parenthood’s official statement about the protests:

At Planned Parenthood, our nurses, doctors, and staff work tirelessly to ensure that women and families are always able to access affordable, high-quality health care in a safe and caring environment. That’s what we’re focused on today—and every day.

We are also proud to provide women seeking safe and legal abortion with high quality and compassionate care, and will not participate in shaming or intimidating women who come to us for the medical care that they deserve.

We do more to prevent unplanned pregnancies and abortion than any other health care provider. In fact, the overwhelming majority of our services are preventive — including contraception, lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

While we respect the right of the protesters to free expression, we stand by the right of our patients to be able to get health care without fear of violence, harassment, or intimidation. If these protesters were truly committed to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, they would work with Planned Parenthood to increase access to affordable birth control and comprehensive sex education.

I’ve seen pro-choice activists coordinating counter protests at Planned Parenthood locations across Michigan. I hope you’ll join me in thanking them for taking action to say they stand with Planned Parenthood.

[Photo credit: Anne Savage Photography.]