Since the middle of July, Planned Parenthood has been attacked by the Center for Medical Progress – a non-profit organization whose explicit purpose is to attack Planned Parenthood and the access to family planning and abortion care services they offer. These attacks have consisted of heavily edited, illegally obtained undercover videos which featured Planned Parenthood employees discussing fetal tissue donation.
People of faith know that Planned Parenthood provides individuals and communities access to critical healthcare services. In the midst of these attacks, advocates for reproductive justice, providers of sexual and reproductive health, and allies of Planned Parenthood are speaking out on why they stand with Planned Parenthood (#StandWithPP). The Religious Institute stands with Planned Parenthood. Religious Institute president and CEO Rev. Debra Haffner published this column in the Huffington Post.
In the column, Rev. Haffner underlines the moral complexity of abortion and fetal tissue donation. “I know firsthand that a woman makes the decision to have an abortion with serious reflection, consultation with the most important people in her life, insights from her faith and values and a deep consideration of her very specific circumstances,” she writes. “The real life stories of women demonstrate the morality of decisions about abortion.”
In the column, Haffner also addresses the questions the videos have raised about the tone of the medical professionals in discussing abortion and fetal tissue procedures. She concludes that “providers must recognize that abortion is a complex moral procedure requiring their utmost respect.”
The goal of these videos is not to engender a more holistic moral or ethical conversation about abortion. Rather, “the goal of those behind the videos is putting Planned Parenthood out of business — and ending access to safe and legal abortion.” Planned Parenthood does not receive federal dollars for abortion care services, yet
“stopping federal funding to Planned Parenthood will end access to birth control, Pap smears, STI prevention and cancer screening to millions of women. Playing politics to restrict or deny access to family planning services is morally wrong. It will effectively result in coercing women into childbearing. In the cacophony of views we have heard in the past two weeks, let us remember that Planned Parenthood saves lives, promotes human flourishing and advances the common good.”