100 years

Planned Parenthood Celebrates Centennial, While Opponents React

Planned Parenthood celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend and recognizes from whence they have come, tracing the roots of the organization back to a time when women were not able to vote and to when contraception was illegal. Services of the organization include birth control, sex education, and abortions, and it has remained intact despite facing protests, violence and being vilified by way of efforts by Congress and numerous states who sought to see funding cut.

Although some branches have been impacted by these efforts, such as in Texas and Wisconsin, following facilities closing when the states cut funding, most of the Republican-headed efforts to take away funding have been thwarted and Planned Parenthood, although investigated, have not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, stated “I do believe we are in a stronger place today than a year ago, or five years ago.” The organization has received strong support from Hilary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Yet foes of Planned Parenthood see the milestone as tragic, and continue to vilify the organization, which is the leading provider of abortions in the nation. Eleven anti-abortion groups issued joint statements about the anniversary, noting it is “a tragic milestone for our nation and a reminder of the millions of unborn children who will never have a birthday.”

Additional complaints about Planned Parenthood, come in regards to how the group presents itself. Kristi Hamrick of Americans United for Life, spoke on the subject.

“They put themselves in role of martyr while at the same time making money hand-over-fist. The thing they’re really good at is public relations and marketing and making money.”

The organization has played a great role in popularizing birth control and legalizing contraception, which then led to the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade within the Supreme Court from which the ruling made it legal for women to have an abortion. The Associated Press shares about the history of Planned Parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood dates its beginnings to Oct. 16, 1916, when Margaret Sanger, her sister and a friend opened America’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn. It was a challenge to mores and laws of the time, four years before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. The clinic was raided, and Sanger was convicted of disseminating birth control information. Undaunted, she founded two organizations that later merged to form the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger’s personal legacy is complicated. She opposed abortion — and yet the organization she founded now provides about one-third of America’s estimated 1 million annual abortions. Her views on eugenics and racial issues remain a subject of bitter debate to this day.”

Clinics of the organization have repeatedly been targets of bombings and arson, as well as protests. Three people were killed last fall by a gunman, while nine others were injured, at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. The charged attacker said he acted due to his anti-abortion stance.

An escalation of threats began in 2015 when the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, released video recordings that allegedly showed Planned Parenthood members selling fetal tissue to researchers for profit, which is against federal laws.

However, investigations into the accusation produced no evidence of any wrongdoing on the matter as of yet. There is still one more case being investigated which David Daleiden, the activist who initiated the investigation by sharing the undercover videos, believes will “spell the end of Planned Parenthood’s ‘abortion empire.'”

The organization relays that affiliates in two states do continue to donate fetal tissue to medical researchers, but they no longer accept any reimbursement to cover any costs of such programs.

There have been great efforts made against Planned Parenthood to cut federal funding, that amounts to about one-third of the $1.3 billion budget. President Barack Obama vetoed a bill proposed by Republicans in congress in January.

[Featured Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]

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