Planned Parenthood is right, 'Non-negotiable'

The following is excerpted from a Washington Post editorial.

It’s pretty clear that a proposal floated by the White House to safeguard federal funding to Planned Parenthood if the group stopped providing abortions never stood a chance of even being considered by the group. “Non-negotiable,” said one Planned Parenthood official. But the fact that the idea was broached at all is significant as the latest sign that Republicans recognize the problems — and likely political repercussions — of cutting off funds to an organization that is held in high regard by the American public for providing critical health care services.

Weakening or destroying Planned Parenthood has been high on the GOP agenda for years, and with the party in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, the threat is real. The bill released Monday by House Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act includes a provision that would block people with Medicaid coverage from receiving care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

“Defunding” is a misnomer since the group doesn’t receive a blank check or a line-item appropriation from the government but instead is reimbursed, like any other health care provider, for preventative health care, including birth control, cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment.

Except in very rare instances, no federal money pays for abortions, a fact that underlies the illogic of the Republicans’ ideological attack on the organization.

No doubt the White House understands it’s between a rock and a hard place in trying to satisfy the GOP’s conservative base by living up to its campaign promises while most Americans are opposed to stripping Planned Parenthood of federal funding.

It’s time for the White House to go back to the drawing board to figure a way out of its dilemma. Stop the grandstanding and allow this respected health organization to continue its work unimpeded.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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