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#WomensHealthAwareness: What Really Is Planned Parenthood?

For years now, anti-abortion politicians have been rallying to defund Planned Parenthood. Now that Donald Trump and Mike Pence, two politicians who are outspoken about their anti-abortionist beliefs, hold the presidential and vice presidential office, defunding Planned Parenthood is much more likely. If you’re like me, though, you might not be too sure about what Planned Parenthood actually does outside of abortions. So I did what all generation Z-ers would do; I googled it. Here’s what I found:

 

1) Planned Parenthood provides many services outside of abortion.

According to their website, their services include:

  • Abortion Services
  • Abortion Referrals
  • Birth Control
  • Emergency Contraception (Morning-After Pill)
  • General Health Care
  • HIV Services
  • LGBTQ+ Services
  • Men’s Health Services
  • Patient Education
  • Pregnancy Testing and Services
  • STD Testing, Treatment and Services
  • Women’s Services

It’s a long list, right? Planned Parenthood provides extensive and inexpensive healthcare. While they conduct abortions, they also provide cancer screenings, STD testing, birth control and more. When politicians talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, they’re not just talking about ending abortion, but basic health care.

2) Abortion is NOT the most popular service.

After seeing the long list of services Planned Parenthood provides, this might not surprise you, but the majority of Planned Parenthood services are not abortions. According to a 2014 statement by Planned Parenthood, abortions take up only three percent of their services. In contrast, 34 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are dedicated to contraception. Planned Parenthood, or PP, prevents more unintended pregnancies through contraception than abortions. If PP were to be defunded, thousands of women would have unintended and unplanned pregnancies. This could result in women resorting to much unsafer methods of abortion that could endanger their lives.

3) The majority of Planned Parenthood’s Patients are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

According to the same 2014 statement, 79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. People without healthcare are able to get health services through PP. Depending on income, services are heavily reduced or even free. In 2014, Planned Parenthood provided services to over 4.5 million individuals. If Planned Parenthood were defunded, more than 4 million Americans, many of whom are at or below the poverty level, would be without healthcare.

4) Planned Parenthood isn’t just for Americans.

Planned Parenthood was established 102 years ago. For roughly half that time, PP has been working globally to ensure that people have access to health care in the most neglected areas. PP has partnerships with more than 100 organizations in Latin America and Africa. These partnerships provide grants to local organizations, in hopes of bolstering health care access. Anti-abortionist politicians are largely Republicans. Ironically, if they defund Planned Parenthood, many neglected peoples in Latin America and Africa would be without health care, even though Republicans like to paint America as “saviors” to the impoverished. (George Busch’s PEPFAR program, anyone?)

5) The myths about Planned Parenthood are just that: myths.

In the past five years, there have been outrageous claims about what Planned Parenthood does. In 2015 and 2016, protests against PP peaked as rumors circulated that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue. All investigations have come up with no evidence that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue. We’ve already debunked the myth that the majority of PP’s services are abortions. Planned Parenthood also only gives abortions in the first trimester. Once the fetus is viable (meaning it could survive outside of the uterus), Planned Parenthood does not provide abortions.

Whether you are pro-life, pro-choice, anti-abortion, etc., you should know that Planned Parenthood does much more than abortions, and that defunding PP would have severe consequences. They provide extensive health care to women and men, many of whom lack the income to pay for healthcare at other clinics. If Planned Parenthood were defunded, many low-income people would be without healthcare, the number of unintended pregnancies would rise, potentially leading to dangerous abortions, and many more services, like HIV testing and cancer screenings, would be unavailable to over 4.5 million Americans. After learning more about Planned Parenthood, I know this much: I stand with planned parenthood.

 

For more information, check out some of these sources: 

Planned Parenthood – Our Services

Planned Parenthood 2014 Statistics

Planned Parenthood – Who We Are

Planned Parenthood Global

The Cut

NPR

Gennifer Eccles is an alumna at UNC Chapel Hill and the co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Chapel Hill. She studied English and Women & Gender Studies. Her dream job is to work at as an editor for a publishing house, where she can bring her two majors together to help publish diverse, authentic and angst-ridden romance novels.
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