“Let me be perfectly clear — Planned Parenthood does not sell fetal tissue. But, none of these truths, these facts, seem to stop some politicians from using these tapes to advance their own agendas.” — Jim Norton, Interim President and CEO of West and Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood.
The 2015 Planned Parenthood Healthy Families Luncheon in Traverse City today was packed with supporters — opening their checkbooks, and eager to share their stories and concerns over the recent smear campaign ignited by the misleading and heavily edited tapes released by the bogus organization, the Center for Medical Progress.
Fully one-third of the Tuesday afternoon event’s attendees were new supporters, energized by the injustice perpetrated against such an important family health resource. Similar rallys have taken place in Grand Rapids, Marquette, and Petoskey, with another upcoming gathering in Muskegon this year.
Jim Norton, the Interim President and CEO of West and Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood, slammed the extremists at the Center for Medical Progress for their unscrupulous tactics and specious claims, explaining that its leadership has close ties to known terrorists who have committed serious crimes, including violence and fraud — setting-up phony companies and using fake government I.D.s to conduct illegal covert surveillance.
Norton abandoned his prepared remarks after discussions with participants during the reception prior to his taking the podium. He went off script to recognize the grievance and outrage over the callous political pandering which has put Planned Parenthood funding at risk. He opened with acknowledging that “unfortunately, not everyone shares our vision”, personally admitting that the “job can be challenging, lonely, and sometimes scary.” Expressing his own frustration, he explained that fighting these swift-boat tactics “takes time, energy, and money away from the important work we should be doing.”
Michigan supporters of Planned Parenthood are not unique in their concern. Nationally, the organization has a long history of broad public patronage. In the wake of recent GOP efforts to defund the free healthcare provider, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found results that Republicans should take seriously — Reuters suggests that there are political “risks for Republicans criticizing Planned Parenthood as part of the 2016 campaigns.” GOP leaders mistakenly took the feigned outrage over the Center for Medical Progress’ doctored video tapes as license to move to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, in spite of the fact that no federal dollars go to abortion services. By a margin of slightly over 2 to 1, poll respondents favored continuing federal funding of Planned Parenthood services.
Michigan’s Planned Parenthood is not standing still, they are adapting to meet the new challenge. They had previously been comprised of six affiliates, but through consolidation, are now two — West and Northern Michigan, and South Michigan. These two organizations just filed the necessary paperwork to merge into one stronger and more resilient whole — uniting their human capital and resources to protect the vital services they perform.
For more information on how to support Michigan Planned Parenthood click HERE.
Amy Kerr Hardin