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Health, Science & Tech

National 'Women Betrayed' Rally Stages Protest Outside Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood

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Deanna Garcia
/
90.5 WESA

More than 50 pro-life advocates held signs and balloons outside Planned Parenthood on Liberty Avenue urging state lawmakers to investigate the organization and federal lawmakers to take action as part of a national “Women Betrayed” rally that marched on 50 cities Tuesday.

“We are out here to call for a defunding of Planned Parenthood,” said Amee Murphy, rally captain and executive director of Life Matters Journal. “The organization takes over 300,000 of unborn children every year and takes over $500 million of taxpayer funding every year, $7 million of which comes from Pennsylvania taxpayers.”

No federal or state funding goes toward abortions. Planned Parenthood puts the assistance toward patients' preventive care.

“Life-saving cancer screening services, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment and birth control,” said Kim Evert, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania.

Opponents maintain that abortion services are the agency’s bread and butter, and would therefore like to see it defunded, though advocates protesting in Pittsburgh on Tuesday said they're pushing a larger agenda.

“The ultimate goal, in general, is just to abolish abortion,” Murphy said.

Several states are passing laws that restrict access to services and make it difficult for women to get an abortion, while not outlawing it altogether. Pennsylvania was the first state to place restrictions on abortion through the Abortion Control Act passed in 1989 that included provisions requiring a 24-hour waiting period between a positive pregnancy test and an abortion, requirements of notification to spouses or for minors and requiring a physician to outline risks and alternative to abortions.

First, it was the first attempt by a state to limit abortion rights after 1973’s Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. - See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/legal-research/today-in-1989-pennsylvanias-abortion-control-act-becomes-law/#sthash.4mkXX9Sw.dpuf
First, it was the first attempt by a state to limit abortion rights after 1973’s Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. - See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/legal-research/today-in-1989-pennsylvanias-abortion-control-act-becomes-law/#sthash.4mkXX9Sw.dpuf
Evert said outlawing abortion will not mean women will no longer get abortions.

“When women are faced with a difficult situation, a difficult decision, and they decide that they need to terminate a pregnancy, they will do that,” Evert said. “These laws make it more dangerous, they make it more expensive and do nothing to improve the health of women.”

The calls for defunding are not new, but the movement has gotten more attention in recent weeks after the release of hidden video footage claiming to show a Planned Parenthood executive talking about the sale and profit of fetal tissue to fund medical research. Agency officials said the video was highly-edited, and that while fetal tissue is collected, it’s done at the request of the woman having the abortion and no surplus revenue is made.

At least three videos have been released by the anti-abortion group, leading Pennsylvania Republicans to call for an investigation into the agency. Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office, said they can’t investigate without a credible claim of illegal activity.

Abortion has been legal in the United States for more than four decades. Evert said, ultimately, the goals of the anti-abortion and pro-choice movements are not completely out of step.

“If you want to prevent abortion you need to provide long-acting, effective birth control methods and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” she said. “Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization to prevent unintended pregnancy and to prevent the need for abortion services. People who are opposed to Planned Parenthood should get behind us and work with us toward this goal.”