The Pence administration is doing it again. Another witch hunt, fueled by the right-wing. This time, the target is Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK).

A short time ago, the news broke nationally that a right-wing group had established a clandestine identity, infiltrated certain Planned Parenthood clinics in California and Colorado and publicized that these clinics were engaged in some nefarious sale of fetal body parts. In fact, the patients of these Planned Parenthood facilities were donating fetal tissue to research facilities.

These reports were discredited by the national media. This group of zealots had cut and pasted portions of videos and taken conversations out of context, all in order to conduct its war on Planned Parenthood. And take note: this is not merely a war on abortion services, but a war against an organization that has become an icon for providing low-cost services like contraception and cancer screenings to millions of women across this country.

Enter Governor Pence, who responded to this discredited video by ordering an investigation of PPINK facilities in Indiana. According to his statements, he sent notifications to not only the Indiana Department of Health, but also county and federal prosecutors. This is despite the fact that PPINK does not participate in any tissue donation programs.

The governor’s war on PPINK is not new. As a Congressman, he was responsible for a 2011 bill that would have prohibited any federal funding, including Medicaid, to the organization for health care services such as cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing, and the testing and treatment for any other sexually transmitted diseases. In its response at the time, the national headquarters of Planned Parenthood reported that this would have cut off 48% of its funding nationally, and left millions of patients without their main source of health care.

We’ve seen firsthand in Scott County what happens when Planned Parenthood loses funding. The Scottsburg Planned Parenthood closed in 2013, leaving the county without an HIV testing facility or a source for HIV education. Two years later, the county is in the midst of an HIV epidemic.

Governor Pence should stop this grand-standing at the Hoosier taxpayer’s expense. Thousands of Hoosiers depend on PPINK for low-cost, quality health care. 

Sen. Tallian represents Senate District 4 which encompasses portions of northern Porter County and Michigan, Coolspring and New Durham townships in LaPorte County. For more information on Sen. Tallian, her legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s4.

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