Planned Parenthood has been a hot topic this presidential election season. 2016 Republican candidates have been adamantly pushing to end government funding to the women’s reproductive health organization. GOP supporters and pro-life advocates are thrilled at the notion of eliminating the funding backing this “heinous” organization. On the surface, it seems like a good thing to those sickened by the thought of a fetus being aborted.
Americans who support this motion are, quite frankly, ill-informed on the actual functions of Planned Parenthood. The organization, mostly known for performing abortions, provides so much more in terms of female health care. In fact, only three percent of their services include abortions, according to their website. Looking at this matter holistically, three percent is a rather small portion of a national organization.
In addition, Republicans frequently criticize that the government is supporting these fetal abortions. Planned Parenthood does indeed receive government subsidies and The Washington Post recently analyzed the organization’s 2013-2014 recent fiscal year, however, they noted that abortions were not, in fact, funded by the United States government. They notes that only 41 percent of Planned Parenthood’s funds come from the government; the rest comes from private or corporate donors.
So, who are the conservatives pushing for the removal of government funding to Planned Parenthood really hurting? They’re not hurting the women who aren’t ready to have a child and make the decision to have an abortion; they’re hurting the average American woman in need of reproductive health assistance but cannot afford it or do not have access to it in any other way.
34 percent of their services include the distribution of contraception to sexually active women to help avoid unwanted pregnancies. Without access to birth control, pregnancies will skyrocket and abortions will still happen somehow in someway. As a Christian who values human life even from the start in the womb, I do not support abortion, but I acknowledge that there is no way to get rid of it. A woman will still look down at that pregnancy test, thinking about how she cannot handle a child at this point in her life. Whether abortions are legal or not, she will find a way to terminate the pregnancy (most of the time, this endangers the mother’s life if this is not properly done with the correct medical attention). Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, an outspoken Christian, stated in an interview on The View that while he is pro-life, he is not opposed to birth control. It is vital in avoiding mothers from having to make the tragic and difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy.
42 percent of women who go to Planned Parenthood are being tested and treated for STDs. Again, this is a major problem facing women’s health in this country. Without proper testing and treatment, a woman could be infected with a disease without knowledge and transmit it further. STDs are dangerous and sometimes can go unnoticed and if it is serious, the woman’s health and potentially life could be endangered.
Planned Parenthood’s services, however, don’t all pertain to sexual activity. Nine percent of their services include cancer screenings for things such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, etc. To me, any organization that provides free or affordable cancer screenings needs to be federally funded. Planned Parenthood states on their website that if any woman has any doubt in her mind, they will test her because their goal is to catch it early so it is more likely to be treated with a higher chance of survival.
While it is true that Planned Parenthood would take a blow if stripped of all federal funding, that won’t stop abortions from being performed. It will, instead, be taking away money from these other important services that Planned Parenthood has to offer for the average woman.
If you consider yourself to be pro-life, this goes beyond a fetus in a womb. It also means you are for all women in this country. Planned Parenthood cannot be depleted of federal funding, as it will only harm the health of thousands of American women.