Planned Parenthood fight hits home for LIers
Local Planned Parenthood officials say the move by congressional Republicans to defund their organization would have dire consequences for men and women who use the nonprofit's services.
JoAnn Smith, of Nassau County's Planned Parenthood, says patients would lose access to screenings for cervical, breast and testicular cancers.
The Nassau branch has about 14,000 patients, she says. In addition to providing abortions, the clinics offer HIV and STD testing, which can costs hundreds of dollars from a regular gynecologist's office.
The organization receives $450 million in federal funding, but conservatives have been fighting to cut that ever since videos surfaced online that suggested Planned Parenthood sells tissue from aborted fetuses.
"It would be a disaster for the people we serve," Smith says. "They really do rely upon us, and they need us."
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was on Capitol Hill Tuesday to defend the organization during a congressional hearing.
"The outrageous accusations leveled against Planned Parenthood based on heavily doctored videos are offensive and categorically untrue," Richards testified.
Republicans blasted Richards and brushed off her claim that the videos were misleading.
Back on Long Island, some residents say they support the institution.
"They help too many people -- and too many people don't have the money to get help elsewhere," says Cindy Lavdas, of Hicksville.