There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the idea of defunding Planned
Parenthood. The legislation being proposed on the subject are just measures being
taken in order to place women in a box and continue to cultivate our society’s
We live in a patriarchal world—one that caters to and is ruled by men. Women,
because of this, have been perpetually tied to their reproductive organs. Seen as
sexual entities that produced children and were there to be impregnated by the
man, women’s bodies were controlled by men. Historically, women did not have
access to procedures, resources or medications to control her reproductive health.
This controlled relationship between men and women has translated into the
This historic relationship rears its ugly head when it comes to the issue of abortion
and women’s reproductive health. Something that was once controlled by the man
has gradually become something a woman can take care of herself. She does not
need a man to get pregnant, she can use birth control to prevent herself from getting
pregnant, she can raise a child on her own without the help of a man and she has
control over how she chooses to take care of her reproductive health. This causes
men to feel uncomfortable because of the loss of their historic control over women.
Of course, not all men feel this way and there is a large amount of men who are in
favor of a woman’s right to choose, whether it be regarding abortion or
reproductive health in general. However, it’s important to recognize are the patterns
in place. Men are in fact the ones creating the majority of the legislation regarding
women’s health. Considering the historic patterns of men’s control over women, we
need to be careful of how women are being represented when it comes to issues
related to their bodies.
resources to prevent unintended pregnancies, provide pap tests and breast exams,
treat and test for sexually transmitted diseases and provide programs that educate
people on the subject nationwide. Three percent of the listed services include
abortions, leaving the overwhelming majority of the services to providing affordable
healthcare to people who need it.
The national mania over the issue of abortion causes that three percent to create an
upheaval in the Republican Party. This steers the argument away from Planned
Parenthood and towards abortion exclusively, which ignores the potentially
devastating loss of other services provided by the organization.
Federal funding provided to the organization, however, is restricted under United
States law to only “be used for abortions [if] the pregnancy threatens the woman’s
life or was caused by rape or incest” according to Ms. Richards in an article
regarding the subject. This crumbles the Republican’s argument that Planned
Parenthood should be defunded because they do not want federal money being used
for abortions. Most of the federal money is in fact being used on the 97 other
percent of services provided by the organization unless an abortion falls within
Without Planned Parenthood, not only would millions of people be without sexual
and reproductive healthcare, but also taking away this organization would limit
women’s ability to gain access to affordable healthcare services. In an article by the
Washington Post, Cecile Richards, the president of the organization is quoted
stating, “In their obsession with attacked women’s access to health care, extreme
members of Congress would take basic health care away from people who need it
most—those who are struggling to get by, who rely on Medicaid or have no health
insurance, and those who live in areas with few medical options.”
The legislation concerning the defunding of Planned Parenthood is not the first to be
introduced by men in regards to having control over women. It is no different than
their use of legislation to prevent women from voting or owning property. This is a
trend that is threaded throughout history where men instate legislation that, in
some way or another, puts women in a box.
The Blunt Amendment, which was proposed in 2012 and sponsored by male senator
Roy Blunt, is a good example of men pushing to continue this legislative trend. This
amendment was to essentially make it possible for one’s boss to decide what
healthcare services would be provided to employees based upon their own
personal, religious and moral beliefs. The bill stated “nothing in this title shall be
construed to require an individual or institutional health care provider, or authorize
a health plan to require a provider, to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific
item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.”
Statistically, because of gender inequality in our patriarchal society, it can be proven
workplace. If this amendment were to pass, men would have been making the
majority of decisions about women’s access to health care, and more specifically
reproductive healthcare. It is important to consider the dynamic this presents.
Although men do not experience reproductive health in the same way as women,
they still try to control how a woman’s reproductive health is handled.
Although this amendment was not put into place, it is important that we recognize
these dynamics and trends when they emerge to ensure legislation like this does not
box women into a patriarchal society where men decide their fate.
Social patterns such as this illuminate our society’s path for the future, and the
defunding of Planned Parenthood is an example of a pattern that would send us
down a path into the past.