Everyone needs sexual health care– every age group, every gender and sexual orientation needs sexual safety, education, and general reproductive health check ups: Planned Parenthood offers exactly that.
Yet, conservatives have been on a recent rampage to cut off all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even threatening to shut down the government if the funding vote is not in favor of their party.
Planned Parenthood is funded federally for the purpose of providing general sexual health care, reproductive safety, cancer screening/prevention, and in moderation, yes, abortions. Defunding would simply result in a step back for sexual health care and access to resources for education and affordable care for women, men and teenagers in desperate situations.
The testimonies made thus far revolved around the controversy of abortion, but abortion equals roughly only three percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood.
If the federal government cuts funding to Planned Parenthood it affects those who need financial help. Most other independently owned facilities don’t offer sexual healthcare on a sliding scale. Teenagers who feel unsafe telling their parents they’re sexually active and therefore can’t run their visits through their health insurance; or people that cannot afford birth control, or STD scans or general reproductive health check ups won’t have the opportunity to receive care simply because they do not make enough money.
And having an abortion through Planned Parenthood isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many conservative testimonies make it sound as though you walk into a Planned Parenthood facility and say “I’d like an abortion, please” and then you walk out 20 minutes later no longer gestating: this is not true.
Before an abortion is done, patients must attend an options counseling session, have a blood draw pregnancy test performed by a professional and then actually find a Planned Parenthood facility that performs abortion procedures if they choose to continue.
There is at least one Planned Parenthood facility in all 50 states, but on a average only a fraction of the facilities in every state provide abortion services. Most Planned Parenthood facilities are set up for just general sexual healthcare and screenings.
It’s falsely believed that Planned Parenthood only provides care to women; but men avidly seek Planned Parenthood for STI tests, contraceptive care, cancer screenings and other sexual health concerns.
The majority of pro life advocates argue that there are other facilities around the nation that function the same way as Planned Parenthood but instead do not provide abortion care.
In fact, Planned Parenthood is the only nationwide organization set up to provide overall sexual health and women’s reproductive health in the United States. Defunding it would send the nation back to the ages of hiding STI’s and back alley abortions using clothes hangers and unsterilized needles (not safe or sanitary). Defunding Planned Parenthood would be detrimental not just for women but for teens around the country and the populous as a whole. It wouldn’t lessen the need for care, but simply make it inaccessible.
Also, even if it was simple, it’s not the decision of the federal government to decide what a woman should or shouldn’t do with her own body. Whether she, as an individual, decides that an abortion is ethical or not is her decision. Defunding simply makes her decision more complicated, but it won’t change the results.