When did "women's health" become reduced to just contraception and abortion? So much so, that all knees bend at the altar of Planned Parenthood, which works hard to ensure that this remains the case.
Karen Handel most recently made this point to me, and she's well-suited to do so. This past year, she was at the center of a firestorm over Susan G. Komen for the Cure cutting its ties with Planned Parenthood as part of a grant overhaul. (The former Komen executive has since authored a book, "Planned Bullyhood," whose title well captures what happened.) Komen's singular purpose is to find a cure for breast cancer. Period. Or it was, until Planned Parenthood incited a public firestorm, essentially shaming Komen into rescinding its rejection of the controversial organization.
A bill to defund Planned Parenthood has just been filed in the House of Representatives. Similar legislation is filed every year, but this year's is a little different.
Consider its sponsor, for one thing. Rep. Diane Black is a nurse from Tennessee with extensive experience in, and a deep concern for, health care. Black stresses that "dollars are not being taken away from good family planning services" if the bill were to become law. Women's health, including contraceptive drugs, would not be under assault. Money would still be made available -- but to groups whose lifeblood isn't abortion.
Last year, Planned Parenthood received $542 million in taxpayer support and performed 333,964 abortions. Dissension in the ranks has been an underreported story. Planned Parenthood of South Central New York announced late last year that it was separating from the national organization due to a requirement that all affiliates perform abortions.
Planned Parenthood's increased focus on abortion comes at a time when its other health services are dwindling. According to an analysis by the Susan B. Anthony List based on Planned Parenthood's most recent annual report, the group's cancer screening and prevention services have dropped 29 percent since 2009, with even contraception services decreasing 12 percent.
"Even people who are pro-abortion can agree that we shouldn't be using taxpayer dollars" to fund the country's largest abortion provider, Black insists. But it's tough to get the word out, especially with Planned Parenthood flexing its enormous P.R. muscles to quash dissent.