This Little Planned Parenthood Went to Market

I’m pretty used to people either loving or hating Planned Parenthood. Every few months, I see people taking sides on whether to support or protest the organization.

While I have been an open supporter of what Planned Parenthood does and use them frequently for my own women’s health needs, I have to admit that I’ve largely stopped paying attention to the near constant chatter about them.

There’s one that just won’t go away though. It’s actually gotten to be quite a big issue leading up to a hearing and a more than usual likelihood of Planned Parenthood losing funding.

So I grumblingly decided to do my civic duty and looked up the infamous “expose” that has embroiled the non-profit in scandal.

It’s not surprising that everyone is taking sides.

“They’re good.”

“They’re bad.”

“They didn’t do it!”

“Yes, they did!”

Based on the vitriol, I expected the video to be disturbing and the issue at least a little more controversial than the typical mud-slinging.

But…I’m completely nonplussed.

It’s hard to tell what people are actually upset about: the fact that fetal tissue is valuable and useful to science or the fact that a non-profit has found a way to supplement their expenses. I’ll assume both.

While everyone is freaking out about whether Planned Parenthood was selling “dead baby parts” or not, I’m sitting here in my own little world thinking, “Who cares? Why is this such a big deal?”

I’d probably feel more horrified to find out that they weren’t doing anything with the fetal tissue, that it was just being thrown away. To me, that’s far more disrespectful and uncivilized than taking it and using it to study diseases and develop treatments.

Perhaps that comes from my own health history and the anger I still feel that my blood, though perfectly normal, had to be thrown away rather than donated because it was being removed as part of a treatment. In fact, I almost might go so far as to say that it should be required by law that medical uses be the default of anything that comes out of the human body, be it an organ, fetus, or tumor, if at all possible. It’s abhorrently wasteful to choose the dumpster over the lab.

From my vantage point, Planned Parenthood wanted to be able to do something valuable with the tissues they were extracting. I say, “Good for them.”

Regarding the money part…well, I wish we lived in a world in which non-profits were genuinely non-profits who didn’t have to compete on the market, but the reality is that non-profits have to compete for funding just as vigorously as any capitalistic enterprise. They have to vie for funds from the government as well as private donors, and sometimes that’s not enough. Every non-profit is always looking for ways of bringing in money without “making a profit.”

Add in the begrudging funding that Planned Parenthood receives anyway and the threats of defunding they’ve been facing in various states, and I’m sure it would be safe to say they are more aware of their funding needs than ever. For Planned Parenthood to continue to provide low-income women affordable services (like pap smears, cancer screenings, birth control, and even abortions), they are going to have to be creative about off-setting the medical costs they accrue.

From what I have seen so far, they weren’t trying to use fetal tissue that women hadn’t consented to have used. Nor were they trying to make an astronomical profit off of what they were doing with the fetal tissue.

They were merely trying to cover their costs and perhaps supplement some of the other services they provide to women who don’t have access to health care coverage or who have to pay out of pocket for various reasons.

How fucking dare they!

Do what? Survive in a vicious non-profit market and a political climate that shames and punishes women and women’s health care facilities for deigning to have the option of a perfectly legal abortion?

I would hope they dare.

I don’t give a rat’s ass, in the end, whether Planned Parenthood actually received compensation for tissue donations or not because, either way, it doesn’t fucking matter to me. I’m happy to re-evaluate my stance if more information comes to light to indicate malicious or abusive behavior on their part, but as it stands right now, I don’t think they did anything wrong, even if it’s true.

Does that make me a horrible human being? Well, if being a horrible human being means that I allow an organization to recoup its costs to some extent and encourage the use of fetal tissue for science and medicine, then so be it. I’ll be a horrible human being. And I’ll be proud of that.

I stand with Planned Parenthood.