Why I stand with Planned Parenthood

By Lauren Vincent

A piece of legislation was passed in the House of Representatives last Friday that will cut federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. According to ABC News, there was a majority of 240-185, with just seven Republicans voting against the measure and 10 Democrats voting in favor.

The name Planned Parenthood is synonymous with abortion in the minds of many. And yes, that is a major part of what they do – providing a legal surgical procedure to women of different backgrounds and incomes. But this is totally and completely irrelevant from an objective standpoint, because this has already been denied by a previous law. Title X of the Public Health Service Act provides federal funding for family planning services, but Section 1008 says that no Title X funds can be used “in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” Since Title X forbids the government to provide money to organizations like Planned Parenthood for actually providing abortions, this withdrawal of funding will not directly affect that part of what they do.

 Planned Parenthood is a viable alternative for low-income individuals to have equal access to contraceptive care and health treatment, as well as a place where young women of any income can go for sexual health assistance without judgment. It is a trusted organization that also lobbies against the inequality of care in this country with regard to gender and income.

 The federal funding through Title X mainly provides birth control. Planned Parenthood not only prescribes and provides various means of birth control, its staff of medical professionals assists in choosing the best method for each individual. Birth control prevents unwanted pregnancies, which reduces the amount of abortions sought and performed. According to the Guttmacher Institute, advocates of sexual and reproductive health, “46 percent of women who have abortions had not used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant. Of these women, 33 percent had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy, 32 percent had had concerns about contraceptive methods, 26 percent had had unexpected sex and one percent had been forced to have sex.”

 Not to mention that safe sex is helpful in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and infections, which Planned Parenthood also deals with. The health centers provide testing for diseases like gonorrhea and herpes as well as for HIV/AIDS. These inconvenient medical problems exist. Denying a trusted treatment center funding to deal with them will not change that.

 Also, Planned Parenthood assists those who wish to carry pregnancy to full term with their prenatal care. It also provides women with breast cancer screenings as well as HPV tests, vaccines and other gynecological issues. It even offers services dealing with men’s sexual health.  They have a Latino Outreach Program which attempts to address the disproportionate amount of STDs in Latino communities, and offer advice on such issues as healthy body image and relationships.

 Planned Parenthood is a health center, one which happens to provide and support the practice of abortion, which is also performed at hospitals. It is absolutely absurd to randomly pull government money from a hospital, so why do it in this case? Obviously there is an ulterior motive to this which is to find any way possible to make obtaining an abortion more difficult for women.

 Many behind this bill have cited the scandals linked with the organization in its recent history. There have been videos released of men claiming to be pimps coming into centers asking for help providing abortions for the teenage girls in their sex trafficking rings and Planned Parenthood managers have complied and assisted these people in covering up their crimes. These people have been fired and the PPFA has investigated the allegations of sex trafficking and reported to federal authorities, according to their press release and to the Washington Times. These were individuals showing irresponsible behavior, not the actions of the organization itself. During the three-hour-long debate over this vote, Representative Jackie Speier not only shared her personal experience with abortion but also pointed out that energy corporation Halliburton has been linked to many illegal scandals but still receives government money. The moral high ground is not the position which those against Planned Parenthood stand upon, it is simply an agenda pushing bill which will do nothing but harm.

 I’m not arguing in favor of abortion here by any means, though I am pro-choice. It’s legal and will undoubtedly stay that way. I’d just like to see the government officials elected to act in their constituents’ interest actually do so, instead of wasting time fighting ideological battles that they’ve already lost.

Lauren Vincent is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]