For thousands of women and countless others, Planned Parenthood is one of the biggest names that comes up when they think about women’s health. Planned Parenthood is an organization that contributes to health services in the following ways: providing reproductive and health services, advocating for public policies that support their mission, providing sex education materials and courses, and also promote sexual health issue research (HowStuffWorks). Since the founding of the organization in 1916, Planned Parenthood has been under political fire due to their “distributing of obscene materials at the clinic”. The clinic was providing birth control, birth control advice, and birth control information.
Since 1916, feminist movements have made an enormous amount of advancement towards equality for women. In 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified and granted women the right to vote. It reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Other big wins came from those movements as well. In 1973, Roe v. Wade affirmed the constitutional right to access of safe and legal abortions in the United States. To this day, Americans overwhelmingly side with the decision and support it.
In recent years, Planned Parenthood has come under attack, and thousands have rushed to support defunding the organization. But what does this really mean? In 2014, Planned Parenthood received $553 million from government funding—which comes to a whopping 40% of their total revenue for that year. The misconception that thousands of people have is that Planned Parenthood is accounted for in the congressional budget (meaning that money would be set aside specifically for them). However, Planned Parenthood doesn’t just receive a giant wad of cash from the federal government at the beginning of each fiscal year. Instead, the federal funding comes from reimbursements for services provided by the organization.
The biggest argument that people use to argue for the defunding of Planned Parenthood is that, “the government shouldn’t be paying for your abortion.” Here’s the thing—they aren’t. Federal funds are prohibited for abortion services. These reimbursements are instead used for anything from cervical cancer screenings to STI testing. “According to a Planned Parenthood spokesperson, about 75% of the $553 million was reimbursements through Medicaid, as nearly two-thirds of Planned Parenthood patients rely on public programs like Medicaid for their healthcare” (Dias).
Federal dollars are allowed to be used towards abortion in only three dire circumstances due to the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976. The three dire circumstances being: “when continuing the pregnancy will endager the woman’s life, when pregnancy results from rape, and when pregnancy results from incest” (Planned Parenthood). This amendment hurts women in need of abortions who have no other choice than to carry the pregnancy to term, pay for care out of pocket, or turn to unsafe and illegal ways to terminate.
Planned Parenthood is a major provider in women’s healthcare and services. Planned Parenthood prides themselves in offering all people—no matter what—affordable and quality healthcare. In fact, Planned Parenthood health centers have risen to 600 in number across the United States. Additionally, 1 in 5 women have chosen them for health care at least once in their lives (Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc).
The organization serves women and other young people disproportionately, and provides services with compassionate and nonjudgmental care. Planned Parenthood health centers offer countless services aside from abortion, abortion referrals, and abortion-related services. Birth control is the next largest service they provide. Their websites (and offices!) list all the different types of birth control available to you, and will help you choose what it right and best for you. Currently, they offer services such as implants, the patch, the pill, the shot, sponges, vaginal rings, cervical caps, and the list goes on. Additionally, they provide the “morning-after pill” or emergency contraceptive, as well as HIV services, LGBT services, men’s health services, patient education, pregnancy testing, and STD testing, treatment, and vaccines. Additionally, pelvic exams, cancer screenings, and countless other services are accounted for through the organization.
Planned Parenthood is an organization that has come under fire for what feels like ages now for being “baby killers” and “family haters” when in fact, they are anything but. As an organization, they are there to serve their patients, and allow them to make a safe choice without being judged or coerced into one. In addition, they provide sex education and birth control methods in order to decrease the need for abortions in the first place.
There are so many other myths about this organization. This organization is about choice and the empowerment that choice gives women. Not because they are somebody’s sister, potential mother, or somebody’s daughter. Because they are a person.