ENNIS — Several residents expressed their concerns about the federal government providing funding to Planned Parenthood at a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Joe Barton on Thursday in the Ennis Public Library.
According an article from the New York Times, controversy surrounding the women’s health organization came about after hidden camera video was released claiming that it profits from the sale of fetal tissue within the past couple of months. The article stated a movement has been started to defund the not-for-profit organization.
Barton told the audience he is in favor of removing federal funding from the organization. He added he believes that the practice of selling body parts is not only illegal but also immoral.
“The loophole they use is the current law for federal research purposes you can charge a fee to basically transfer an organ to a research facility,” Barton said. “You are not technically selling a body part. You are paying a fee for delivery.”
Barton said they (congress) were going to work to try and stop that practice and say that can’t be done in any shape, form or fashion. He added he believes there will be an amendment to move the funding from Planned Parenthood to other women’s health organizations in the future, which can provide similar services. Some of these organizations included faith-based groups, non-profits and county hospitals.
According to the Planned Parenthood website, some of the services the group provides include affordable birth control methods and education, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing, HIV and AIDS education and other health services for women, men and teens.
Planned Parenthood stated in a press release published Aug. 28 that an expert has “determined that the secretly-recorded videos were heavily edited and ‘significantly distort and misrepresent’ actual events.” Experts from the FBI National Academy, noted that supposed “‘full footage’ that the group, Center for Medical Progress, has released is edited, inaccurate and unreliable, as are transcripts the group has produced,” according to the press release.
Barton went on to tell the audience that currently Planned Parenthood receives about $528 million in funding and performs around 30-40 percent of the abortions in the country. He added that federal dollars are not supposed to be used for abortions.
“What Planned Parenthood does is they take the federal dollar and use it for all the other services and use the private dollars for abortions, which is technically legal.”
One of the audience members asked Barton about the bill H.R. 3134, which is the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015.
According to the Congress.gov website, the bill “prohibits, for a one-year period, the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics, unless they certify that the affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period. The restriction will not apply in cases of rape or incest or where a physical condition endangers a woman's life unless an abortion is performed.”
Barton said he is in favor of totaling defunding the organization. He stated some legislators want to take gradual steps in order to make some changes.
“There are people that don’t like what Planned Parenthood is doing. But because of their districts and personal beliefs they are not ready to go cold turkey and terminate funding for Planned Parenthood,” Barton said. “This is a way to get them to vote for the end result, for them stopped for now and do the investigation. I want to stop it now. I don’t need to investigate it. I think that it is wrong. We need to stop it and change the law so that it does not happen again.”