CLEVELAND ― The Republican Party’s official platform accuses Planned Parenthood of “sell[ing] fetal body parts” after abortions instead of providing health care to women, contradicting investigations that have cleared the organization of wrongdoing.
The new platform, approved by a voice vote at the GOP national convention on Monday, singles out Planned Parenthood for the first time and calls for the provider’s federal family planning grants to be taken away.
“We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide health care,” the platform says. “We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts.”
Republicans in more than a dozen states have investigated Planned Parenthood since last year, when an anti-abortion group released undercover videos purporting to show the family planning provider selling fetal tissue. So far, 13 states that opened probes into Planned Parenthood have cleared the organization of wrongdoing, and eight more states declined to investigate, citing a lack of evidence. A grand jury in Texas that investigated the videos cleared Planned Parenthood and indicted the anti-abortion activist behind the videos.
The new Republican platform comes after presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s announcement that his running mate would be Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), who has led the GOP’s fight against Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights for years.
Planned Parenthood says it sometimes donates fetal tissue for medical research, and receives legal reimbursements for the costs of transporting and preserving the material. But the organization insists it does not sell fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood serves about 5 million patients a year ― most of them below the federal poverty line ― with contraceptives, sexually transmitted infection-testing and treatment, breast exams, pap smears, abortions, and other sexual health services.
“This isn’t just an attack on Planned Parenthood health centers,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood’s political arm, told The Huffington Post in an email. “It’s an attack on the millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood each year for basic health care. It’s an attack on the brave doctors and nurses who have been facing down violent rhetoric and threats just to provide people with cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams. This attack in the party’s platform is despicable. That explains why Trump is seeing a gender gap of historic proportions.”