WASHINGTON, D.C. — Officials with Planned Parenthood, the low-cost healthcare provider that has become a lightning rod for right-wing vitriol in recent weeks, have announced that they will no longer accept reimbursement for fetal tissue transportation, and more changes are reportedly on the way, including one involving the distribution of firearms to any woman who comes to a clinic seeking an abortion.
The issue of Planned Parenthood’s activities surrounding the procurement of fetal tissue has come to a head thanks to “sting videos” released by the Center for Medical Progress, a right-wing, anti-abortion group that claims their videos show that Planned Parenthood sells aborted fetal tissues for profit — despite the fact that several state investigations as well as other independent fact-checkers for various news outlets being unable to find any evidence to that effect whatsoever — and the policy change toward reimbursements is a direct result of the furor over the videos, which culminated in a grueling congressional hearing where Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was grilled by Republican lawmakers over her company’s finances for several hours.
Now, Richards says her organization has decided to run a pilot program in a select number of their clinics in red states — states that voted Republican in the last couple of presidential election cycles — that would give guns and abortions to low-income women. The firearms given to women seeking abortions would be small, semi-automatic handguns, Richards told reporters, and they’d be engraved with various pro-feminist messages.
“We know that even after we stop accepting normal reimbursement for fully-legal and ethical fetal tissue transportation that many on the right will still insist that we’re horrible,” Richards said at a press conference held at Planned Parenthood’s D.C. headquarters, “so we thought that maybe we could give away guns with the abortions we provide and maybe that would score us some points, since you know, providing low-cost or free healthcare services to poor people — like Jesus Christ did — isn’t good enough for them.”
Ms. Richards says the ultimate motivation for her group giving out guns to abortion seekers is a “visual demonstration of how Constitutional rights work.”
“Who knows,” Richards said, “maybe this program will help certain conservatives finally understand that both their guns and my vagina are constitutionally-protected from governmental overreach. But I won’t hold my breath, obviously.” She says however, she will not be “holding [her] breath” that conservatives will “suddenly realize they are just as passionate about their guns as we are about our uteri” but that “in times like these, you do what you think might work.”
Reporters asked if Richards is worried about contributing to the gun violence problem in America while making her own political point about abortion to which she replied, “We’re not worried about putting a bunch of guns on the street because as we’ve said over and over again, abortion services make up roughly three percent of what we do here.” She argued that Planned Parenthood “really won’t be handing that many guns out,” but the organizations executives “also figured [its] detractors would rather we hand out guns than provide safe access to medical procedures that are completely legal, so, YOLO.”
Richards says that this is just one of many new tactics her group is keeping in its back pocket. She said that more than forty years of anti-abortion rhetoric has had to keep her and her group on its toes, but that if the guns and abortions program “doesn’t get us some inroads with conservatives,” Richards said, they have “considered actually performing abortions with the firearms and then claiming that the babies we aborted were all going to vote Democratic, that should seal the deal since they hate Democrats more than they have an ideological problem with female sexual autonomy.”
“The bottom line is that somehow, some way we need to convince these allegedly pro-life people that their guns and our bodies are both protected by our founding documents,” Richards said, “and of course I’d rather not be giving out guns to make my point, but what other choice am I given? These people literally view the Second Amendment as being more important than every other right we enjoy as Americans. So my window of opportunity to make rational arguments is just about closed, and I need to start using some other tactics, or we’re headed for another few decades of a slow, pervasive erosion of our sexual freedoms others fought so hard to secure.”