Planned Parenthood is grey area in presidential debates


The Planned Parenthood location on East Seventh St. is one of the three remaining locations in Austin, Texas.

Following the 2015 release of secretly recorded videos displaying employees of Planned Parenthood talking about the organizations research on aborted fetal tissue, the Republican Party has taken an aggressive stance on Planned Parenthood (PPH). Now, it’s one of the most controversial subjects of the 2016 presidential race.

Despite PPH President Cecile Richards’s statement that the video was “heavily edited” and “fraudulent,” the majority of Republicans have pledged to fight against the continuation of federal funds to the organization. Since the video’s release, the conversation about defunding PPH has become a common policy urged by Republican candidates.

The divisive subject has caused commotion not just for Democrats versus Republicans, but also Republicans versus Republicans. For example Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has received heavy criticism for his inconsistent stance on PPH. On one hand Trump has made aggressive statements about PPH’s abortive actions, arguing that he is pro-life and stating his plans to defund the organization upon entering the White House. But in classic Trump fashion he has also articulated contradictory statements that arguably pose him as a pro-choice candidate.

At the Houston Republican Debate on Feb. 27 Trump said, “millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood.”

He continued, “I would defund it because I’m pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.” These statements have made Trump the number one target from his opponents pinning him as a fraud and having a “democratic stance” on the issue.

I cannot believe I am about to ask this, but is Trump actually right about something for once? Is it possible that some of the orthodox principles of the Republican party are outdated? In my opinion, I think that abortion is unpleasant and I have historically identified as “pro-life.” However, as I have grown older I realize that the subject is far from black and white.

While I think that abortion is unfair to the potential life of the child I also understand that there are certain situations that are more complex than they seem. For instance, is it fair to legally prevent a victim of rape from choosing to not have a child resulting from the assault? Is it humane to force a victim to have a child that may be the creation of incest? Of course these are very specific examples of why abortion is so sensitive, however they illustrate the reality that abortion should not be written off as some partisan issue. The subject is poignant.

Furthermore, there is the undeniable fact that stem cell research progressing from the tissue of aborted fetuses is revolutionary to the fight against cancer. I understand the troublesome nature of using these fetuses for research, however I do not think that it should be completely rejected because Republicans have historically been against it.

Maybe my feelings towards PPH derive from the open-minded theme of my generation. As a millennial, it is not uncommon for me to have a broader perspective on these traditionally controversial issues. I firmly believe that abortion should have regulatory measures including facility standards, legitimate doctors, mandatory educational processes for patients and parental permission for minors. Furthermore I think abortion should be decided by states and have federal provisions meeting these regulations I have mentioned.

Ultimately, I do not think abortion should be completely illegal. I believe the Republican Party should be focused on making abortion as safe as possible instead of fighting to eliminate it. In a world where science and technology are evolving concurrently, there is no need for the related political policies to remain outdated.