August 19, 2015 — Many U.S. residents say they support federal funding for Planned Parenthood to provide women's health exams, screenings and contraceptive services, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, Reuters reports (Stephenson, Reuters, 8/19).
An antiabortion-rights group called the Center for Medical Progress recently released a series of misleading videos targeting Planned Parenthood that depict Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donation. CMP secretly filmed the videos by meeting with Planned Parenthood staff while posing as buyers of fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities. The organization said it does not profit from fetal tissue donations and only receives reimbursement for costs associated with such donations, which is legal. Meanwhile, supporters of Planned Parenthood said the videos are part of a decades-long campaign against the organization (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/18).
Overall, the poll found that U.S. residents support federal funding to health centers that provide women's health services, particularly funding for Planned Parenthood clinics that offer such services.
According to the poll, 73% of respondents said they support federal funding for unnamed groups to provide women's health exams, while 69% said they supported such funding for prenatal services and 59% said they did so for contraceptive services. However, a greater number of respondents said they supported federal funding for such services if they are provided by Planned Parenthood, the poll found. In total, 54% of respondents said they support federal funding for Planned Parenthood, while 26% said they oppose it.
Meanwhile, the poll found that 34% of respondents who saw CPM's videos said their opinion of Planned Parenthood remained unchanged. In addition, once the videos were described to respondents, 34% said the group should continue to receive federal funds.
According to Reuters, the poll's findings show that conservative lawmakers' efforts to defund the organization could be problematic in the 2016 presidential election, given U.S. residents' support for Planned Parenthood's provision of health care services (Reuters, 8/19).
LA Times Columnist Says StemExpress' Decision To End Planned Parenthood Relationship 'Product of Pure Harassment'
In related news, Michael Hiltzik in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times' "The Economy Hub" discusses how "[a]nyone concerned about scientific research, especially work aimed at developing cures for serious disease, should be appalled" that StemExpress felt it had to terminate its relationship with Planned Parenthood after facing backlash because of CPM's misleading video campaign.
According to Hiltzik, "StemExpress isn't terminating its relationship with Planned Parenthood because it thinks the relationship led it to do anything wrong" or because it thinks Planned Parenthood "has done anything wrong." He notes, "Absolutely no evidence has been presented that Planned Parenthood has broken the law regarding the acquisition or distribution of fetal tissues." Rather, StempExpress' decision was "the product of pure harassment by antiabortion activists, conniving with opportunistic politicians," Hiltzik writes, adding, "Patients of all kinds are the losers, as is the respectability of our political process."
He continues, "Among the most disturbing aspects of this affair is its effect on the legal and often necessary use of fetal tissue in biological research," which is "needed in work toward cures of muscular dystrophy, diabetes, degenerative eye disease and other conditions." He writes that the campaign against Planned Parenthood "threatens this whole line of inquiry, because any business or nonprofit that serves these researchers will have to ask whether it's worth trying to resist political pressure or the threat to employees' safety" (Hiltzik, "The Economy Hub," Los Angeles Times, 8/18).