But What Does Planned Parenthood Actually Do?

As you've probably heard by now, the GOP is in the process of trying to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that educates and advises on contraception, family planning and reproductive health.

Who is Planned Parenthood really?

As one of the nation's leading providers of quality and affordable healthcare (as well as the nation's most prominent provider of sex education), Planned Parenthood is more often than not the only source of family planning and sexual health resource available to the women, men  and teens in which they serve.

Now, as with most people, I'm sure the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the words "Planned Parenthood" was, of course, abortion. (Of which accounts for only 3% of the 10.6 million services they provide on a yearly basis. [2013])

But let's take abortion out of the equation for a second. What else does Planned Parenthood do?

1. Tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases/infections, as well as education and steps to prevent the contraction of such.

2. Offers and provides contraception (especially to those who do not have access to thus otherwise) in order to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, etc.

3. Performs cancer screenings (again, especially to those who would otherwise have no ability to receive such services), including breast exams and Pap tests.

4. Pregnancy tests and prenatal services provided to those who, again, would not otherwise have any other access to basic health and reproductive care.

5. Counseling available to women, men and teens in terms of reproductive education, guidance, crisis intervention and so on.

For those of you that work better with visuals, here's a chart breaking down services provided by Planned Parenthood.

But let's get back to that word from earlier, the one that seems to put so many people off. Ah yes, the A-word. Abortion. While Planned Parenthood is obviously well known for providing abortions, as stated earlier, it's more widely used by the public for its providing of contraception in order to PREVENT said abortions. By defunding Planned Parenthood, we are literally creating more unwanted pregnancies to be aborted. In 2013, Planned Parenthood prevented 345,000 abortions because they were able to provide these women with contraception. Not to mention that Planned Parenthood cannot use any of its government funding toward abortion services. According to the Department of Health and Human Service's, Medicaid funding is restricted by the Hyde Amendment to only abortion cases involving rape, incest and endangerment to the life of the mother. 

Why does this matter? While ObamaCare's initial plan included an expansion of coverage for free sexual and reproductive health service, millions still fall in the Medicaid gap in states (including Kansas) that did NOT expand to Medicaid. This means MILLIONS of men and women have yet to obtain any health insurance as a whole, let alone the most basic and vital sexual health and contraceptive needs in order to lead a normal and healthy life.

By defunding Planned Parenthood, we are denying basic human rights. We are denying not just women, but men and teens the ability to access basic care to prevent diseases, infections, unwanted pregnancies and an education. Pro-life, pro-choice, it doesn't matter. The lives we should be focusing on in this scenario are the ones that will ultimately be negatively affected if this passes: low-income American women. But as proved time and time again in the history of our country, women's rights aren't a priority. It's not about whether we're liberal, conservative, christian or athiest, it's about being American citizens that deserve access to basic health care needs. It's about women's reproductive rights and sexual health being THEIR choice, not the choice of upper-class, middle aged, straight, white men. Women are not second class citizens, and it's time we recognize that.

----Also, for those of you that read on the internet that Planned Parenthood is "selling fetus body parts," please read this, or this, or even this and many other fact filled articles, and try to remember that not everything you read on the internet or hear on Fox News is true.