Planned Parenthood: Not Political, Just Practical

Planned Parenthood has provided extensive resources to millions of Americans over the past one hundred years. They strongly believe in protecting and advocating for every person’s individual rights, as well as providing access to outstanding reproductive, sexual, and personal healthcare. While the focal point of their services tends to be abortion, in actuality abortions only account for three percent of the total care options offered. In addition to abortion, Planned Parenthood clinics provide birth control, STD testing/treatment, feminine health exams, screening for types of cancer, treatment for infertility, hormone therapy and so much more. These services are not limited to women and have successfully assisted many. Abortion has politicized into a hot button issue that has been, and is, the root of the pro-choice versus pro-life debate. This debate and fundamental opposition in viewpoints can exist, as everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, without attacking Planned Parenthood and those who are pro-choice. 

It seems completely backwards that an institution dedicated to informing about and serving the public with resources for sex education and reproductive/personal health is continually threatened due to a small portion of what they do holistically. Wouldn’t all of their resources on some level in turn lower the need for abortions anyway? The answer is yes, aside from extreme circumstances including offenses such as rape or incest. Knowledge is power; an individual who has access to sex education, forms of birth control, and is aware of the assistance available to them, is far less likely to need an abortion in the first place. It’s apparent and highly evident that those in positions of political power may have a personal bias or vendetta against abortion and Planned Parenthood due to conservative views or intertwined religious ties. This is unfortunate in numerous ways as there should always be the rightful separation among church and state but with the topic of abortion, the lines are inexplicably blurred. It is perfectly acceptable to be personally against abortion and if that’s the case for you individually then it’s a good thing you have every right to never have one just as much as others have every right to have one. 

Eliminating Planned Parenthood as an establishment and even defunding/limiting their resources and outreach would be extremely detrimental. Hypothetically, eradicating Planned Parenthood would leave thousands of women and families with little to no access for reproductive, sexual and personal healthcare. There could be many other negative implications as well. As if losing an outlet for healthcare isn’t enough, a devastating result of this could be a potential spike in attempted at home abortions and seeking out amateur assistance which can be extraordinarily dangerous and unsafe. No person should ever have to consider putting themselves in harms way because a primary resource to receive access to a safe abortion has been taken away. Generally speaking, it’s a difficult decision for a woman to proceed with an abortion due to fear of being scrutinized and the emotional toll. Someone considering the serious and irreversible of a choice of abortion, (before it is too late in the pregnancy term,) must have a valid reason. It is not up to, nor should it ever be up to anyone else, or the government for that matter, to decide what that validity looks like. One may simply be too young to take on the ultimate responsibility of parenthood, may be financially unstable, the pregnancy could have been unplanned, it could be the result of undergoing a traumatic instance of rape, sexual assault, or incest, the list goes on and on. The point is, it’s no easy feat to make such a life-altering decision. So why would someone if it wasn't out of absolute necessity? Aside from that, why should Planned Parenthood be attacked obviously solely for the reason that they provide abortions when in reality they do so much more overall. There are many reasons as to why someone may have an abortion and that is, and should always be, without a shadow of a doubt, an untouchable right of a woman to be in control of her decisions and own uterus! 

To draw on a current example for comparison during these times there has been a presence of people out there who have been deemed as “anti-maskers.” We’re all well aware of the reach of the global pandemic Covid-19 and the fact that we must do everything, (like simply wearing a damn mask,) in our power to protect ourselves, others and do what we can for the greater good. “Anti-maskers” stand on the grounds that having to wear one is an infringement upon their rights. So riddle me this, If a mask mandate or requirement by our government is infringing upon rights, then how is controlling women’s reproductive rights a function of the government? There’s definite background as to why unfortunately this is the case to an extent. Predominantly those who hold power, (and that are mostly men??) within the government seemingly try to make these decisions for women and are more than likely religious/ conservative. This means they’re personally opposed to abortion and the use of birth control methods due to religious reasons, but that should in no way influence the general rights and access for those who don’t subscribe to the same beliefs. Access to abortion can feel especially concerning with recent events such as the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett by Donald Trump to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg only a matter of hours after Ginsburg was laid to rest. Coney Barrett, a federal judge, conservative, and devout Catholic, if officially appointed would bring the Supreme Court to a 6-3 majority in favor of conservatives. 

The following is some food for thought. While the pro-life movement pertains to just abortion and opposing its legality, there are other aspects that arguably could be encompassed by considering oneself to be pro-life. For example, there are around 400,000 children currently in the foster care system. Our collective focus and efforts should go towards those children's lives who are already living and the flawed system, like many others in this country, foster care. Are you pro-life and support the death penalty? What about the Black Lives Matter movement? If you’re truly pro-life then your beliefs shouldn’t be a conditional thing based on the lives that you selectively want to support and advocate for. Ultimately, it is fine to be pro-life and believe in the inherent value of life, even unborn fetuses, when it comes down to an individual level. No one has the right to inflict that belief on anyone else. The basis of the pro-life movement is anti-abortion and is simultaneously entwined with religious/conservative roots. Planned Parenthood should not be dismantled or threatened as a major resource for healthcare because a minority group of people has a personal problem with it.