In the past year, Planned Parenthood has made headlines for more reasons than one. Most recently after an anti-abortion group released a series of videos claiming to prove that planned parenthood sells fetal tissue. The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group from California, released the videos in attempt to further deter support of the largest provider of women’s health care in the U.S. The real truth of the matter? Women getting abortions have the choice of donating the tissue from that procedure to help with medical research. The film succeeded in its intention to spark controversy, bringing the nationwide debate about Planned Parenthood back to surface. Presidential Republican candidiate and senator Ted Cruz declared his disapproval of the organization, even opting to shut down the government to force the defunding. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush added to the discussion whether or not Planned Parenthood should receive federal funding, “I’m not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”
The motivation behind the disapproval for Planned Parenthood mostly stems from an anti-abortion stance, a strong belief that women should not have the right to choose what they do with their bodies. As for the main topic of abortion in general, it’s going to exist whether or not they are accessible. The importance is making sure that there are safe and legal ways for it to happen.
Restricting access doesn’t make abortion go away- it only makes it unsafe. But abortion isn’t even the real issue here: it’s women’s health in general. Planned Parenthood does more than just perform abortions and even provides services to men as well. 2.7 Million people visit the offices annually, most of them in need of general health services that are out of their natural reach. One in five women have visited a Planned Parenthood in their lifetime, a number that proves just how necessary and accessible the offices are.
As for abortion statistics? A mere 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions, something that isn’t even included in the federal funding. An abortion can cost anywhere from $350-$500, not exactly an easy form of birth control as many anti-abortion advocates have argued is. Planned Parenthood provides crucial screenings for STDs and even cancer, along with providing contraceptives to those in need. When it comes down to it, the opposition towards PP is not simply an argument against abortion- it’s an attack on women’s health as a whole.
I stand with Planned Parenthood for many reasons. As a young woman, I understand the importance of having access to both sex-related and general health care. While I am fortunate enough to have these tools within my reach, I know that there are many women who don’t have the same readily-available resources. Planned Parenthood is not perfect. In their decades of existence, there has been more than a few instances of controversy. But there is tangible evidence that the organization has done its good. The politcally motivated arson attack on a Washington clinic (so much for pro-life, right?) only emphasizes how important it is to speak up and show support. It’s not about forcing ideas on other people, it’s about the ability to choose, something that we as women are constantly fighting for. And if we don’t, nobody else will.