Forging Debate: Planned Parenthood

forging debate

 

Dr. Omar Hamada

Dr. Omar Hamada

Saving Planned Parenthood isn’t something to brag about

Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) are living proof that saying one is pro-life has become nothing more than political rhetoric to placate conservatives. When politicians talk, most Americans have come to understand it is just that—talk. However, some things are sacrosanct, or at least they should be. Life is one of those things.

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Throughout my career, I have delivered more than 2,000 baby girls and boys. I have dedicated my life to their care and well-being. My wife Tara, a pediatrician, has dedicated her life to helping ensure these miracles self-actualize through God’s guiding hand. If you have never been in an operating-room for the delivery of a new life, the best way of describing the experience is viewing the face of God. In my opinion, it is the closest to God we can get here on Earth. Therefore, I view it as gross maleficence when politicians have the audacity to campaign on life and then quite literally vote to fund the destruction of one of God’s greatest gifts.

Just this month, Planned Parenthood was caught violating federal law by selling aborted fetuses for profit. Saying she wants to buy a Lamborghini, the president of the Planned Parenthood Medical Directors Council was literally caught on video joking about the price of these stolen souls. More than 57 million lives have been stolen since Roe v.

Wade in 1973 and more than $550 Million are stolen from tax-payer wallets every year and given to Planned Parenthood. While United States Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have been leading a crusade against the forced use of our tax-dollars to fund abortions provided by Planned Parenthood, Tenn. Senators Corker and Alexander are no where to be found. In fact, according to Politico, Alexander was literally gloating after he purposefully took hand in defeating the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Corker also refused to support the effort. Rather than join the fight, Senate leaders instead moved to reauthorize the corrupt Export-Import Bank that uses our tax-dollars to fund crony corporatism that pads their campaign war-chests.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will likely bring Paul’s measure to defund Planned Parenthood up for vote, but it will not have the leverage it would have had if it was tied to the highway funding bill. Now our representatives will get to pull yet another fast one on the American people. They will get to vote on Paul’s measure, knowing that it will be easily defeated in the long-run, then run back to their constituents crying about how they tried so hard. How many more souls will be stolen because legislators refuse to represent them due to their inflated egos and political agendas? Who will hold these men accountable? Who will stand on behalf of our most vulnerable and weak? It has become emphatically clear that we cannot rely on Corker and Alexander to take a stand. They have made it known that corporate welfare takes a paramount perch to 53 million stolen souls. Corporate welfare takes precedence over the welfare of the unborn? Yet another great American tragedy is born.

(Omar L. Hamada, MD, MBA, (FAAFP | FACOG | FICS), USASOC, a heavily decorated, veteran Major of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne), is an accomplished physician and business executive in both civilian and military healthcare markets living in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Dr. Tara Hamada, and their four children.)

Zachary Toillion

Zachary Toillion

Planned Parenthood hysteria

After a series of videos were released painting Planned Parenthood in a negative light, Republicans nationwide called for defunding the organization, usually reiterating their belief that government money should never be used for abortion. First off, no federal funds have been used for abortion since 1976 when the Hyde Amendment first became law. In 2010, Barack Obama signed an executive order that reaffirmed the law that bans federal funds from going to abortion.

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Planned Parenthood is a $1 billion organization that receives only about 30 percent of its funding from the government. But what does Planned Parenthood do? Contrary to the belief of many on the right, much more than abortion. Thirty five percent of Planned Parenthood’s spending is on contraception, 34 percent of spending is on testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and infections, 17 percent of spending is on cancer screenings and prevention and 10 percent is spent on miscellaneous women’s health services. Only three percent of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion.

So despite the right trying to tie Planned Parenthood to abortion, the facts could not be clearer. Planned Parenthood exists mainly for family planning and health care, not abortion.

A series of videos surfaced from conservative activists that appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted fetuses over lunch. Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee stated Planned Parenthood was “selling baby’s body parts like the parts of a Buick.” Another candidate, Gov. Bobby Jindal, stated he would have the IRS look into Planned Parenthood his first day in office—an act that would be illegal.

The videos do not show officials selling fetal body parts. This, to put it bluntly, is a complete lie. What the videos show is a Planned Parenthood official negotiating transportation costs for fetal tissue to be used for medical research. Medical researchers have characterized fetal tissue as “essential” to their field. Since the 1930s fetal tissue has been used for such research as vaccine development. Fetal tissue, as well as embryonic stem cell research, remains one of the most promising areas for a potential medical breakthrough. This is what was being discussed in the videos.

Planned Parenthood is a convenient boogeyman when it’s presented as an abortion-obsessed organization selling the body parts of fetuses. Unfortunately for many Republican politicians, this is nowhere near reality.

Rep. Andy Holt

Rep. Andy Holt

Tenn. Rep. Holt investigating Planned Parenthood

Over the course of the past few weeks, we have seen multiple heart-breaking videos that tell the true story of Planned Parenthood. As it turns out, violating federal law, harvesting stolen souls for profit and attempting to cover it up as some conspiracy theory is just another day at the office of Planned Parenthood. An effort to defund Planned Parenthood was recently defeated in the U.S. Senate, but that doesn’t mean the State of Tennessee cannot act.  

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I, for one, am sick and tired of being told by Washington politicians that they are going to do something and yet they never get the job done. Therefore, I am launching my own investigation into Planned Parenthood’s funding in Tennessee. Once again, Tennessee will lead where Washington fails to.

Time and time again, the argument has been made that Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services for women, not just abortions and we cannot allow them to close their doors because women will go without healthcare. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Obamacare was sold to the American people as solving this issue of people going without healthcare. So, is Obamacare failing or is Planned Parenthood lying? You tell me.

Then we are told that the Hyde Amendment (federal law) and a mirroring state law prohibit the use of tax dollars given to Planned Parenthood from being used to perform abortive procedures. That’s like saying money we send to Iran cannot be used to develop a nuclear bomb because they are only allowed to use the money to pay the light bill on their nuclear facilities. Last time I checked, using tax dollars to pay the rent on an abortion clinic is money being used to provide abortive services.

Enough is enough. I began working with legal services, TennCare and the Department of Health to see exactly how many federal or state tax-payer dollars have been given to Planned Parenthood through means provided by the state of Tennessee. I expect full cooperation from all parties I am working with. If I find one red cent of tax-payer money going to Planned Parenthood, there will be legislation introduced next session to outlaw it. Mark my words.

I will not allow myself or my constituents to be complicit in the profiteering of stolen souls.

Zack Plaster

Zack Plaster

Standing room only

Tennessee politicians, such as State Rep. Andy Holt, are using recent allegations against Planned Parenthood facilities in another state to undermine the necessary work being done by branches in our region. The allegations of fetal tissue being sold for profit is unsettling, but even more unsettling is the manner in which Tenn. lawmakers jump at the chance to defund Planned Parenthood.

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Planned Parenthood facilities in Tenn. do not participate in any type of tissue donation, in compliance with the 1989 state law. Yet, our representatives still want to conduct intrusive searches, block funding and cease the medical treatments of their constituents. With only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s annual budget allocated for abortion services, it is clear that halting operations will only serve to strip women of much-needed screenings and medical treatment. In an effort to minimize the number of abortions being performed in our state, representatives are willing to cut back access to a number of other critical medical treatments.

Representatives spearheading this movement demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of the day-to-day operations in Planned Parenthood facilities. Representative Andy Holt has accused PP of “harvesting souls for profit,” but ignores the 97 percent of their budget that goes towards preventative care, STD testing, screenings for cholesterol, anemia, high blood pressure and diabetes. Beyond medical treatments, Planned Parenthood also provides counseling resources for teens who have suffered from body image issues, abusive relationships and sexual assault. Services like these not only prevent unwanted pregnancy, prevent the contraction and spreading of STD’s, but empower and educate our citizens.

In a state that consistently ranks highest in teen pregnancy, these preventative services are crucial. But Planned Parenthood also supports women who have chosen to have a child by providing affordable neonatal care. Planned Parenthood staff members and doctors provide unbiased, truthful information to every patient and ensure that each individual fully understands the process that they are about to undergo, whether that is carrying a baby to term or ending the pregnancy. The variety of crucial services provided by Planned Parenthood is expansive and their commitment to helping young men and women is paramount to any other aspect of their mission statement. Tennessee representatives are so focused on preventing abortions that they ignore all other aspects of Planned Parenthood programming.

This tunnel vision is inexcusable when what is at stake is the physical and mental health of young men and women across Tennessee. We cannot allow ourselves to live in a state that constantly tries to diminish women’s access to healthcare. We cannot allow our lawmakers to control our access to health care based on personal beliefs and misinformation. It is time to stand with Planned Parenthood and demonstrate to our representatives that we are not joining them on this witch hunt. If you believe in affordable health care, women’s rights and comprehensive education, then now is the time to leave your seat, leave your complacency and embrace your anger against the injustices being committed by our representatives. I stand with Planned Parenthood—I hope you will join me.


 

 

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