Planned Parenthood provides vital services to millions of underserved women in the United States. Despite the difference that the organization makes in the lives of so many, Republicans – beholden to the anti-choice extremists in their party – have made it a key tenet of their platform to gut Planned Parenthood funding, even though abortion accounts for a small fraction of the organization’s scope of services.
In an effort to combat the pro-choice movement’s argument that Planned Parenthood plays a profoundly important role in safeguarding the health of women regardless of their socio-economic status, conservative lawmakers in Texas gave $1.6 million to the Heidi Group last year – a radical conservative group led by Carol Everett – with the goal of promoting and elevating women’s clinics that do not provide abortions.
During the debate in Texas on a controversial proposed law that would require burial for fetal tissue and remains, Everett famously worried that water systems could become infected with HIV and STDs from buried remains that came from infected women. Clearly, a director whose stereotypical conception of poor women and those who receive abortions – along with her thoroughly unscientific grasp of reality – is hardly an ideal champion for women’s health.
Fast-forward to the present, and it appears as if the anti-choice funding for Heidi Group has resulted in little more than wasteful spending. According to the AP, the organization has “done little of the outreach it promised, such as helping clinics promote their services on Facebook, or airing public service announcements. It hasn’t made good on plans to establish a 1-800 number to help women find providers or ensure that all clinics have updated websites.”
Conservatives have long-argued that abortion is not a legitimate medical service, and that it should be provided separately from other forms of care. The big issue with the kind of crisis pregnancy centers that the Heidi Group supports don’t have medical personnel on staff.
While lawmakers waste money pandering to anti-choice activists, women are caught in the middle, and resources that otherwise could have been spent on medical care is instead being misspent by a conspiracy-minded organization clearly unequipped to accomplish it modest goals.