Since its inception, Planned Parent has struggled to survive. In 1916, only nine days after being founded, a police raid shut down the first Planned Parenthood. The clinic operated clandestinely, handing out pamphlets to women on reproductive health and contraceptives. About a little over a century later and Planned Parenthood remains under attack.
In recent years, Planned Parenthood has been subject to both violence and attempts to defund it. The attack on Planned Parenthood is part of a larger move to strip women of their reproductive rights. One priority of the Trump administration is to reverse Roe vs. Wade and they are progressing towards this goal by making abortion even less accessible and affordable than it already is!
Trump has already signed an order depriving international family planning organizations of funding. Vice President Mike Pence, a staunchly “pro-life” politician became the highest ranking official to appear in person at the annual “March for Life” demonstration. In Congress, Pence was a leader in efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and co-sponsored “personhood” legislation calling for Constitutional rights for fetuses.
Only a year and a half ago, under the Obama administration, the anti-choice group “Medical Progress” created a completely fake video purporting that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal remains. The fake video inspired a wave of anti-choice protests and attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. The campaign pushed Congress and several states to launch investigations of the accusations against Planned Parenthood. By September 2015, the House approved a bill to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood. However, the Senate blocked the effort. The acts of violence perpetuated by Robert Lewis Dear, Jr, in 2015 at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, where Dear opened fire on innocent bystanders killing killing three people injuring nine, reflected these governmental and clandestine attacks.
Anti-choice extremists releasing completely fallacious videos resulting in legislative attacks on Planned Parenthood is nothing new. The years 2007 to 2012 saw a slew of fake videos inciting Congress to act on false evidence. In 2007, Mike Pence (then a member of Congress) introduced the first federal “defunding” legislation after bogus videos about Planned Parenthood were released to the public. Later 2011, after more fraudulent videos were released, the federal government almost shutdown in failed attempts of to “defund” Planned Parenthood by congress.
There have been devastating consequences in cities where these extensive wars on Planned Parenthood succeeded. A little town in Indiana called Austin saw a spike in HIV cases after five Planned Parenthood clinics in rural areas were gutted of their funding. Similarly, Texas experienced an increase in HIV cases since the state opted to allow its 28-year HIV-prevention contract with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast expire. The move was based on the 2015 attacks on Planned Parenthood via fake videos by anti-choice activists who were later indicted in Texas on felony charges.
On February 11, anti-choice groups staged nationwide protests demanding that Planned Parenthood be defunded. It is important to note that counter actions by pro-choice groups and individuals greatly outnumbered these protests, showing the pathetic following that the anti-choice movement really has. The current political momentum among the masses is towards resistance to the Trump agenda which represents unbridled capitalism and unleashed racism and misgyny. Now is the time for militant resistance not only to the attacks on Planned Parenthood but to defend and extend reproductive rights including but not limited to birth control and abortion on demand.