On Tuesday, the debate over funding Planned Parenthood saw civilities fly out the window during a Congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.
The head of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, sat before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for five hours, and Republicans seemed to pull no punches in their attempt to discredit the organization and remove its taxpayer funding.
On Wednesday, Roland Martin, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI, 14th District), and the NewsOne Now panel discussed the Congressional hearing, the GOP’s desire to defund Planned Parenthood, the ongoing pro-life/pro-choice debate, and if the fireworks on Capitol Hill are over healthcare or the lobbying efforts of the organization.
Rep. Lawrence told Martin the volatile Congressional hearing was “driven towards an agenda to attack the right for women to have legal abortions in America.”
“I’ve been in Congress for nine months and I’ve dealt with four bills that have been presented in different kind of wording and different bills that are totally unrelated, to say that it is illegal or we will defund anyone that tries to get a legal abortion in America,” said Lawrence.
Congresswoman Lawrence later explained if any woman has to make the decision to have an abortion, “it should be her decision, between her and her mate, and her and her God.”
“It is not Congress’ decision to be in a room with a woman when she has to make that decision. This is something in America that there has been continuous focus and passion to take away that right,” she said.
Rep. Lawrence also discussed the amount of time Congress is spending trying to defund Planned Parenthood and debating a woman’s right to choose, saying, “We need to concentrate on finalizing a budget, finding money to do our roads.”
She continued, “you see how much time — five hours we spend on this — drilling this woman (Cecile Richards), and continuously saying we’re using federal dollars to pay for abortion and repeatedly we have presented the fact — these are my colleagues and I say clearly, you are more intelligent than this to keep saying something that is erroneous — is a lie.”
To clarify how Planned Parenthood allocates funds, Rep. Lawrence said the $400 million the organization receives from the federal government goes to providing “health services to women, breast cancer screening, Pap smears, treatment for STDs, giving women contraceptives, and [providing] overall women(s) healthcare.”
Lawrence said the women who benefit from the services at Planned Parenthood are women who “do not have healthcare.” According to Rep. Lawrence, Planned Parenthood is reimbursed by the federal government for the healthcare services they provide. If a woman comes in and asks for an abortion, the federal government will not reimburse the organization for it.
Watch Roland Martin, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Tuesday’s Congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood in the video clip above.
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