By: Heather Sandell, Ellen Yoon, Pooja Kulkarni, Andrew Thompson
(Margaret Sanger 9/14/1879 – 9/6/1966)
Margaret Sanger, a sex educator, nurse, writer, and birth control activist, first established Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the United States. Planned Parenthood is important because it provides education regarding sex education. It also screens for cancer, birth control and STD testing, and provides abortion services for women. Planned Parenthood also provides services for women who have health problems. Therefore, Planned Parenthood places a great importance to many individuals and communities.
We selected the topic because one of the group members came across the video and wanted to expand on the research. We were able to find information easily regarding both sides of the case (anti-abortionists versus pro-choice). It is important to talk about the story because it pertains to certain states banning abortion because of the information captured in the video. People should be aware of the video content and how it is negatively impacting individuals, communities, and especially Planned Parenthood.
Through multiple media and news outlets, it became known that Planned Parenthood was under attack by anti-abortion activists through a release of a video. Anti-abortion activists, Sandra Merrit and David Daleiden, released covertly filmed videos of officials from Planned Parenthood attempting to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue. The Federal law allows human fetal tissue to be used for research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited. Planned Parenthood denied accusations regarding the issue. Anti-abortion activists posed as biotech representatives and met with Planned Parenthood officials. Their stated goal was to discuss the transfer of fetal tissue to the company for research purposes only. However, the anti-abortion activists secretly recorded the conversation and posted it online.
The release of the video has resulted in many controversies regarding states and funding towards Planned Parenthood. The President of Planned Parenthood Cecil Richards sent a letter to Medicaid agencies stating “to defund her group are illegal.” Federal Medicaid Director Vikki Wachino forwarded letter to Medicaid agencies in all 50 states, this letter warned them about cutting off funds. At least 24 states have moved to restrict access to care at the group’s clinics through Medicaid and other public funding programs since mid-2015. (CNN) Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit; the crimes involved, fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording and trespassing. (US NEWS) Planned Parenthood is asking for financial restitution for the illegal and fraudulent alleges. (More information on the states’ stances can be found on Raw Story here: https://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/planned-parenthood-hits-back-at-conservative-states-for-trying-to-block-funding/)
In result, In January 2016, courts in Houston indicted the activists for “tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.” Daleiden and Merrit both created and presented fake driver’s licenses with fake addresses to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was not charged, as it is only illegal to profit off of organ/tissue sale. Planned Parenthood follows standard procedures in donating fetal tissue. (More information on the indictment can be found in this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/us/2-abortion-foes-behind-planned-parenthood-videos-are-indicted.html?_r=0)