It’s difficult not to view Gov. Mary Fallin’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood on a state level as a political gesture based on conservative ideology.
Fallin wants to terminate the state Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, which provide women with reproductive-related health care and other screenings. The organizations don’t perform abortions here. Fallin claims an audit has shown there have been billing errors made by the two organizations, but the reported information has been extremely vague.
An attorney for the Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Tamya Cox, recently claimed she has provided information to the state showing the billing errors are substantially lower than the audit claims. Here’s a story about the issue
What we do know for sure is that some Republicans, including U.S. Sen. James Lankford, have been viciously attacking Planned Parenthood on a national level after heavily edited, fake videos surfaced supposedly showing Planned Parenthood officials “selling” fetal tissue for research. Planned Parenthood doesn’t sell fetal tissue. It has, in the past, charged money for preparing and delivering medical specimens used in stem cell research to recoup expenses. Planned Parenthood has since announced it will no longer accept money for providing the fetal tissue.
— PP Global (@ppglobe) December 10, 2015
Generations of Oklahoma women have used Planned Parenthood for contraceptive services and health screenings. Many of these women turned to Planned Parenthood because they couldn’t find other access to reproductive services or they felt more comfortable going to one of its affiliates rather than a primary care physician or other types of physicians. Anti-abortion extremists have been attacking the organization for just as many generations. Many people have suggested or posed the idea that the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that killed three people is related to the recent anti-abortion rhetoric generated by the fake videos and used by prominent, conservative politicians in this country. That would definitely include Lankford.
Regardless of the national debate over abortion, denying Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood here so it can no longer help lower income women would severely limit overall health-care options. Why would anyone want that to happen in a place notorious for a lack of medical access and poor medical outcomes? We should be expanding Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood here, not trying to defund it.
If there are real billing errors then, by all means, fix those errors and adjust the amounts accordingly, but the question remains whether that’s the driving issue here or if Fallin and other political leaders are driven by a narrow ideology that tries to demonize an organization that has done so much good for women over the decades while supporting laws that wind up putting guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
Oh yeah, in a related matter, the abortion rate in this country is significantly declining as mass shooting incidents climb in numbers unfathomable just a few years ago. According to a ThinkProgress post:
Even though it’s unclear exactly what’s contributing to the recent drop in abortions in each state examined by the AP, the correlation between increased access to contraception and a decrease in unplanned pregnancy has been significantly documented over the last two decades. Teen pregnancy rates have been dropping to historic lows, a trend that has been connected to the change in social norms surrounding contraception and increased birth control availability.