State Rep. Larry Pittman (R) had a strong reaction to a recent email from Planned Parenthood that appealed state legislators not to cut funding to the organization. Pittman responded to the email, which was sent to each member of the NC House of Representatives Health and Human Services Appropriations committee at the end of May, with allegations that Planned Parenthood is a “murderous organization”:
PITTMAN: [Planned Parenthood] is a murderous organization…getting wealthy on murder for hire. It deals out nothing but deception, death, personal devastation, and moral degradation. Never will I agree to give that bloody, indecent, immoral organization one penny. I will not be satisfied until it is outlawed.
North Carolina’s Planned Parenthood clinics are facing budget cuts that will essentially serve to defund the organization, a tactic that Republicans across the country are using to attack Planned Parenthood. The Republican-controlled legislature passed a budget in July that strips state funding for the organization and its affiliates.
Some North Carolina residents are criticizing Rep. Pittman’s harsh email response, pointing our that “regardless of anyone’s stance on abortion, the point of this story is how unprofessional and inappropriate our elected government official has acted.” When the Independent Tribune asked Pittman to comment on this criticism, he simply doubled down on his overblown rhetoric:
PITTMAN: My sources tell me that 75 percent of [Planned Parenthood’s] income comes through abortions. To say that they would try to reduce the incidence of abortion is like saying a baker would go around trying to get people to stop eating bread.
Pittman’s sources are wrong. Nationwide, abortion services contribute to just three percent of Planned Parenthood’s total health services. In North Carolina alone, Planned Parenthood’s health clinics provide over 18,000 tests for sexually transmitted infections, over 11,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings, and contraceptive services to more than 61,000 women.
This is not the first instance that Pittman, who is running unopposed for reelection in his district, has circulated his radical anti-choice views over email. In January, he sent an email to every member of North Carolina’s General Assembly to say he favors bringing back public hangings for abortion providers.