As a registered nurse, health care is my passion. So I was surprised when an MSNBC host asked me last week how I, “as someone who has taken a pledge to provide the best health care possible to those in need,” could possibly support defunding Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation.
The news anchor was right about one thing. I proudly took an oath more than 40 years ago to “devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.” Those words still have deep meaning for me now that I’m in Congress. It is because of that vow, not in spite of it, that I am leading the fight to defund Planned Parenthood today.
We’ve known all along that Planned Parenthood performs more than 327,000 abortions a year, all while receiving some $500 million in annual taxpayer funding. Two months ago, however, we gained a new understanding of the organization’s disrespect for human life with the release of undercover videos implicating Planned Parenthood in the illegal trafficking of aborted babies’ tissue and organs.
The activities seen in these videos are the antithesis of health care: abortionists haggling over the cost of aborted babies’ tissue, an employee bragging about selling “fresh” body parts, and a doctor’s insinuation that the abortion giant regularly skirts federal law — noting that the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is “up to interpretation.” (Hint: It’s not.)
The most fundamental axiom of health care is “First, do no harm.” By allowing unborn lives to be aborted in the womb, sold for profit, and forcing taxpayers to help pay the bills of the organization that leads this practice, we have turned this principle on its head.
So what about the other health-care services offered by Planned Parenthood? Mammograms — a vital preventive-care tool for women — aren’t among them. The group’s own spokeswoman confirmed to PolitiFact that mammography is not in use at a single one of Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide. As for other preventive services, such as cancer screenings and prenatal care, they’re on the decline according to Planned Parenthood’s own reporting, while abortions have continued to increase.
#share#Beyond Planned Parenthood’s poor delivery of health care, we now have reason to believe that the organization may have violated federal law. House committees are conducting a full review of Planned Parenthood’s activities, but, in the meantime, there are more than enough lingering questions to reroute this money to other health-care providers until these concerns are fully addressed.
That is why I authored the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, legislation the House will act on this week to place an immediate one-year moratorium on all federal funding to the organization while Congress completes its investigations.
I have been a part of the pro-life movement long enough to know how the facts get muddled by the Big Abortion industry and its defenders in Washington, so let me be clear: My legislation does not cut a single dime from public-health funding.
#related#In fact, this bill will ultimately increase available funding to community health centers by $235 million during this one-year period. The legislation further prioritizes women’s health care over abortion by reallocating federal funding to the more than 13,000 facilities nationwide that provide preventive care to those who need it most and do not perform abortions.
Congress faces big challenges this fall, but nothing could be more important than how we treat a human life. This is why I devoted my career to health care, it is why I serve in Washington, and it is why I authored this bill.
We must wholeheartedly reject the lie that Congress cannot address the atrocities at Planned Parenthood while also protecting access to women’s health care. We can, and we will.
— Diane Black, a Republican, represents Tennessee’s sixth congressional district.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its initial posting.