By Raegan McDonald-Mosley, M.D., M.P.H.
“The ongoing smear campaign against Planned Parenthood focused on the minuscule role that the organization, where I am the chief medical officer, plays in providing postabortion tissue to researchers completely misrepresents the work we do every day.
“Through fraudulent, unethical, and perhaps illegal behavior, opponents of safe and legal abortion surreptitiously obtained hundreds of hours of video footage of discussions with various Planned Parenthood staff members…. My colleagues — national leaders in the field of reproductive health who have been misrepresented by the contrived scenarios and doctored videos — have endured harassment and threats that have no place in a civil society. They have become collateral damage in these attacks, which ultimately harm the women, men, and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood for affordable, specialized, high-quality health care.
“Through close coordination with federal and state politicians who want to make abortion illegal, these doctored videos have been used to try to block people from getting their care from Planned Parenthood and to further restrict access to safe and legal abortion throughout the United States.
"In the wake of these attacks, the health and medical community has attested to Planned Parenthood’s critical role in providing reproductive health care to millions of Americans — care that could not be replaced if our opponents succeeded in eliminating Planned Parenthood health centers from our country’s already tattered health care safety net…. The health and medical community has also spoken out about the value of fetal tissue research, with many biomedical researchers reaching out to implore us to continue to allow fetal tissue donation at the small number of health centers that currently make it available to patients — in other words, not to bend to these political attacks. I want to make it clear that we will not back down from advancing women’s health in every way we can, nor will we bow to political pressure.
“To be clear, Planned Parenthood’s policies and practices related to fetal tissue donation have always met and exceeded all relevant legal requirements. Now we are going above and beyond the law, tearing down the smokescreen that opponents of safe and legal abortion have used to try to interfere with the work we do on behalf of millions of women, men, and young people and making it clear once and for all that our work in this area has nothing to do with money.
“As the charade continues, we’d like it to be evident to everyone what this attack on Planned Parenthood is really about. It is not about ethical research practices; it is about abortion politics.
“It is the dignity I see in every patient I’ve ever treated — and the chilling memory of what it was like to see women die needlessly from unsafe abortions — that steels my resolve to ride out this latest smear campaign, the 15th this organization has experienced in the past 10 years. It is the remembrance of the women I treated abroad and the gratitude of my patients every day that gives me the faith I need to know that at the end of all this, Planned Parenthood and the millions of people who rely on us will ultimately triumph.”
Dr. McDonald-Mosley, a board certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist dedicated to improving the reproductive health outcomes for women in her community as well as in other underserved regions of the world, is the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
To read her full commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, click here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsb1513242?query=featured_home&&
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
October 14, 2015