Stand With Planned Parenthood

In January 2017, a bill introduced into Congress fanned the flames of the ongoing left-wing vs. right-wing war on abortion rights and altered the perception of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA) in the media. These days a simple internet search for “Planned Parenthood” turns up numerous articles on its current funding status. This bill aims to prohibit PPFA or any of its affiliates from any federal funds unless they give up abortion services and advocacy (like the global gag rule). While President Trump’s goal for this bill falls under a pro-life agenda, the consequences of such defunding would be detrimental to the organization and its millions of patients, 60% of which rely on public health programs like Medicaid and Title X for their preventive and primary care. In fact, for the past several years, ill-advised politicians have been using the abortion argument to vehemently oppose Planned Parenthood. This all comes with a complete disregard for the many services the organization provides and without realizing, due to their own elite financial statuses and excellent insurance coverage, that these healthcare services are relied on by so many for their affordability.

The problem is that so many people don’t know the consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood, since they are uninformed—or choose to ignore—how federal funding is used by the organization. Most of the funds given are from Medicaid and Title X reimbursements for medical services and care. Federal tax dollars haven’t paid for abortion services since the Hyde Amendment of 1976! A statistic projected by the Congressional Budget Office shows that denying Planned Parenthood health centers from Medicaid reimbursements for 10 years would cost taxpayers $130 million more in annual taxes and increased unintended pregnancies. It seems that taxpayers would actually be better off if funding continued. However, it’s clear that this issue is about more than just money: it’s about the age-old anti-abortion fight.

So why should I care? I am a 19-year-old Caucasian female from a supportive, privileged family who has insurance and the means to pay for healthcare. However, despite not having a direct need for Planned Parenthood currently, I am a compassionate human who doesn’t want to live in a world where backward lawmakers have control over access to health care and reproductive rights.

The reason I support Planned Parenthood isn’t because they provide abortions. I support Planned Parenthood for the numerous other services they offer to men, women, and families nationwide who are in need of basic health care. EVERYONE should have the access to health care, regardless of where they live, their socioeconomic status, race, age, sexuality or gender.  If defunded, millions of people—skewed significantly towards low income people and people of color—would lose the health care they rely on from Planned Parenthood. The effects would be devastating to communities already facing extreme health care access barriers.

Action must take place to contest the Trump administration. The argument—abortion is wrong and should not be funded by taxpayer dollars—is a matter of opinion. However, cutting funds to such an organization because they offer abortions, as one of more than ten services they offer, is simply ridiculous. My goal isn’t to preach about why I think women should have the freedom to make choices about their reproductive health care, but rather to educate others on why the “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice” war shouldn’t impact the millions of people needing birth control, general health care, sexual and reproductive health education, and lifesaving cancer screenings.

Regardless on your views of abortion, or your political standing, support Planned Parenthood and protect your fellow human’s rights to health care. Planned Parenthood has helped change the lives of millions of people each year, and can continue to do so with our support. Open up conversation with your friends and family. Educate them about what federal funding really means for Planned Parenthood and all of its patients. Together we can stop Congress from creating a national health disaster. It’s time to fight for reproductive health and family planning in America.