Let’s start with two facts. 1.) Federal funds do not pay for abortions at Planned Parenthood. 2.) Abortions represent 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.

Three percent and no federal funds for that 3 percent.

The other 97 percent of what the organization does? According to National Public Radio and the Washington Post, that looks like this:

42 percent – STD/STI testing and treatment.

34 percent – Contraception/birth control.

20 percent – Cancer screening and women’s services.

1 percent – Other services (not abortion).

So when there is talk of defunding Planned Parenthood and when that talk succeeds, that means women (and men), mostly low income, are deprived of screening for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

It means that women (and men), mostly low income, are deprived of access to birth control and contraception counseling.

Eighty percent of Planned Parenthood users are over 20 years old and 75 percent of them have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line. According to the Washington Post, Planned Parenthood estimates that it prevents over 620,000 unintended pregnancies a year and 220,000 abortions.

If the thing that offends so many is abortion, why not strengthen rather than weaken the organization that does so much to prevent low-income people from unwanted pregnancies and unnecessary abortions?

Many on the right (including political candidates seeking to grandstand) and many in the anti-reproductive-choice camp have jumped on the current bandwagon and argue that the made-in-secret and highly edited tapes about Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue to research labs justify defunding the organization.

Planned Parenthood, when it sells fetal tissue, does so with the consent of the parents and within federally established guidelines. Fetal tissue research has benefited virtually every person in this country, according to Alt Charro, J.D. writing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Charro also notes that the secret film is a betrayal of those whose lives could be saved by research and that that’s a violation of the most fundamental duty of medicine.

It was a cheap publicity trick aimed at discrediting an agency that helps stop the spread of sexually transmitted disease, reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions and provides cancer and health screening for men and women and mostly low-income men and women.