Counterproductive rights

Why defunding Planned Parenthood is a monumental mistake

The House of Representatives voted 241-187 on Sept. 18 to defund Planned Parenthood for a year in order to conduct an investigation about its abortion provider due to videos that recently surfaced depicting aborted fetus parts being donated for research. The notion to defund Planned Parenthood overall has the potential to be one of the most detrimental acts to ever happen in women’s health history. Defunding Planned Parenthood will strip away one of the best institutions in the country to receive low cost reproductive health services thus hurting the millions of women and men who need it for STD screenings, cancer prevention procedures and contraceptive purposes.

Planned Parenthood is an organization whose medical service is “prevention including STD testing and treatment, contraception and accompanying health care, education and information” according to its website. Many people wrongfully believe that Planned Parenthood is only an abortion clinic. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, abortions made up only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s overall services in 2013. The majority of the services (42 percent) centered around STD testing and treatment.

Additionally, 78 percent of Planned Parenthood clients in 2013 had incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. This means that Planned Parenthood was one of their only options to get the proper reproductive health care that they needed. For millions of women, this is the only place they can afford to get a pap smear, a mammogram and STD testing. It is a necessary organization that in 2013 alone provided 10,590,433 services nation wide.

Mainly conservatives in the government, but a few liberals as well, are using these videos as an excuse to shut down an incredibly important facility, because they do not believe in abortion. It is completely understandable why some people do not personally believe that abortion is right, but that does not mean that a room full of mainly men should have the power to make a choice so influential in mainly women’s lives. Women should be in charge of their own reproductive health care, and if their only option is to go to Planned Parenthood, then the government should not stop them from doing what is personally right for them and their future children especially considering that none of the federal funding Planned Parenthood receives goes toward abortion services.

It must be said, however, that the government is fully within their rights to investigate Planned Parenthood’s abortion provider, but the videos that surfaced concerning said aborted fetuses have been grossly manipulated. It is illegal to sell fetal tissue to companies from abortion procedures, however Planned Parenthood was not doing that. They were donating the fetal tissue for research and only asked for the cost of transportation and handling of tissues. In other words, Planned Parenthood was not attempting to make a profit on the fetal tissue.

Unfortunately, the bill to defund Planned Parenthood has been passed by the House, but luckily the Senate still needs to take a vote. If it passes there, President Obama has said that he will veto any legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, so the bill will therefore go back to the House and the whole process will start over again.

What the government and frankly anti-abortion activists need to realize is that Planned Parenthood is not an institution designed to round up all unwanted pregnancies and abort the fetuses. It is intended to educate and to make vital health services available to people who cannot afford to go to a regular doctor. In any event, it should not be up to mostly men to decide what is right for women.