The attached letter appeared in the March 1 edition of The East Hampton Star
Betraying His District
I recently wrote to Congressmen Zeldin to voice support for Planned Parenthood and to urge Mr. Zeldin to vote against defunding the organization. Reading his reply, I could not fathom Mr. Zeldin’s failure to comprehend the crucial role Planned Parenthood plays in providing a wide range of healthcare needs to women and men.
Mr. Zeldin proclaims to support the notion that “women must have access to the highest quality of health care from providers maintaining the highest standards of excellence.” However, he then boasts that he “successfully advocated to ensure that the federal tax dollars [intended for] Planned Parenthood are redirected to [other] women’s health care centers” while an unspecified “investigation into Planned Parenthood is completed.” According to Mr. Zeldin, redirecting Planned Parenthood’s funds to other health care centers “would provide increased healthcare options and greater access to care.”
Mr. Zeldin’s attempt to justify his vote is rife with mistruths and unsupported assumptions.
First, I am aware of no valid pending investigation of Planned Parenthood unless Mr. Zeldin has bought into the politically motivated, and now completely debunked claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue, first asserted by former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. (Notably, the creators of the video upon which this claim was based have been indicted.)
Second, 25% of the funds Planned Parenthood receives are Title X (the nation’s federal family planning program) grants, which are competitively awarded – which means that Planned Parenthood provides better care than other providers. This shows that there are no health care providers in our district that can provide a comparable level of experience and reputation for quality care to handle the needs of district residents who use the services of Planned Parenthood.
Third, the remaining 75% of the funds Planned Parenthood receives from the federal government are reimbursements from Medicaid – which covers aid provided to the poor. Notably, no federal monies are used by the group to provide abortions – so this is a red herring.
Fourth, in states that have denied funds to Planned Parenthood, the result was a decrease in health services across the board. The remaining health care facilities lack the capacity to fill the health care gap that would result if Planned Parenthood shut down.
In short, the success of the health care system depends upon Planned Parenthood’s participation in it. Shut it down and the entire system will unravel. We should all recognize that Mr. Zeldin’s vote has betrayed Long Island and the nation.