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What I Wish GOP Candidates Knew About Planned Parenthood

When I hear ill-informed politicians/gynoticians speak, it gives me the same feeling as when I watched Kim Kardashian cry after losing her diamond earing swimming in Bora Bora: hilarious entertainment and a sad realization that there are actually people who are completely out-of-touch with the world. It’s even more upsetting knowing that some of these people want to run our country—that’s enough to make me Kardashian Kry.

To reinforce my previous statement, here are some of my favorite quotes from Republican candidates:

    “Many in the Christian faith have said, ‘Well that’s okay, Contraception is okay.’ It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

—Rick Santorum

Fact Check: It is a fact that adults and teenagers will continue to have sex, whether or not politicians agree with it. The danger comes when politicians substitute proven and effective contraception with passe values that they want everyone to adopt. The state of Colorado conducted a six-year experiment that resulted in a 40% plummet in their teen pregnancy rate after introducing long-lasting birth control.

 

“I don’t think there’s any numbers out there that suggest that access to contraception actually reduces the number of abortions.”

—Rick Santorum    

Fact Check: Actually, plenty of studies out there conducted by respected institutions clearly shut down that argument, which a simple Google search can uncover. For example, a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St.Louis shows that providing women free birth control reduces abortion rates by 62% to 78%. The Colorado study mentioned earlier found a 42% decrease in abortions after introducing birth control.

 

   “I’m not sure we need half-a-billion dollars for women’s health issues”

—Jeb Bush talking about Planned Parenthood

Fact Check: Yes, the Federal Government does give Planned Parenthood half-a-billion dollars. But, we actually need it for both men and women’s health issues.

The federal government funds Planned Parenthood through Medicaid and Title X provisions, which primarily serves lower-income Americans. The bill that passed through the House of Representative last week seeks to defund federal assistance to Planned Parenthood.

As you can see, abortion—which is the chief reason Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood—only makes up 3% of their services. The rest are in the form of life-saving and pregnancy prevention services, which accommodates both genders, not just women. Furthermore, Title X does not allow federal funds to be used for abortions, and Medicaid only allows it in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the mother’s life. Therefore, most of the federal money that the House wants to cut will directly affect every other service that isn’t abortion.

Jeb Bush has since said he “misspoke,” but I think it reveals something very clear: he treats women’s health without the respect and thoughtfulness it deserves.

 

While doing my research, I was curious to see what the notorious Donald Trump had to say about this. I was preparing the spitfire I was going to type up against his usual extremist remarks. I could only imagine the worst. However, his comment surprised me:

 “There’s two Planned Parenthoods, in a way, you have it as an abortion clinic. Now that’s actually a fairly small part of what they do, but it’s a brutal part. And I’m totally against it and I wouldn’t do that. They also, however, service women.”

—Donald Trump

The mild nature of this quote shouldn’t overshadow the very racist and misogynistic things he’s said before. So, here’s a link that you should consider if you’re tempted to check off his box on the ballot: 18 Real Things Donald Trump Has Said About Women.

It’s hard to believe Donald Trump actually said something right about women’s health, but the truth is Planned Parenthood, no matter what anyone’s views on abortion is, does a lot of good for women and men, especially those who are in need of support (financial or moral). My friends from high school and I were very fortunate to grow up in New York City, where Planned Parenthoods operate with limited restrictions and solid state backing. There’s one in almost every borough, including my own. Planned Parenthood serves as a safe-haven and valuable resource for women and girls. My friends and I know that if we were in any trouble or—better yet—if we were seeking a way to avoid trouble, there is a place we can go where we wouldn’t be judged, harassed, belittled, or coerced. Teenagers, minorities, and the disadvantaged benefit the most from Planned Parenthood. They’re the people who need protecting. Their choices and privacy need to be protected, and by protecting federal funding for Planned Parenthood, we can do that.

 

Now after reading this, I hope there’s a deep and burning passion to go over to Washington and block the entrance to the Oval Office from any politicians who are against women’s choice and healthcare. I totally encourage that passion, but since the GoBus doesn’t stop at Washington DC, we should turn to more practical options:

Writing to your local congressman/woman

Go forth and swarm their inboxes with letters and emails, just like Kenyon does to ours.

Voting!!!!

Remember Ladies (and Lords), this isn’t the 18th century. You don’t have to be a white, land-owning male to participate in the government. We have a voice, but one of the only ways we can be heard is by voting. If you haven’t registered to vote, you can do so by printing out and filing this form and giving it to the K-Dems manning the voter registration table at Pierce, or fill out the form at the table right then and there. FYI: you must re-register to vote every year you’re at Kenyon because your housing changes, thus you must register with your current residential address.

 

Once you’re registered to vote, you have the power to re-elect our Senator, Rob Portman, who voted to defund Planned Parenthood. If you’re like 65% of Ohio voters, though, you oppose his vote, and if you’re like 64% of Ohio voters, you would be less likely to reelect him if he votes to shut down the government to do so.

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or refrain from political affiliation, polls show that support for women’s health care transcends party lines, with 54% of voters supporting Planned Parenthood. Politicians who are willing to shut down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood aren’t listening to voters.

Crying won’t get Kim’s diamond earring back from the bottom of Bora Bora’s sea, and not being politically active won’t affect positive change. With that said, I’m going to end this article with the same words I shouted across Pierce when I was manning the voter registration table: Have a Voice! Register to Vote!

 

Resources: Time, Huffington Post (this article and this article), NPR, Reuters, Planned Parenthood Action, PP Action Tumblr, Think Progress, Daily Signal

 

Image Credit: Buzzfeed, NPR, Planned Parenthood Action, Tumblr, One Million Moms

I'm a first-year at Kenyon College. I was raised in Staten Island, New York. I'm a Scorpio. I'm a delicate balance between introvert and extrovert. I'm into Environmental Science and Politics. I'm super excited to be part of Kenyon's Her Campus team. Go Ladies!
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