I Stand With Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 22: Pro-choice advocates participate in protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building January 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Activists from across the nation gathered to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which decriminalized abortion in all fifty states. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Yulisa Vega / Contributing Writer

The war on women’s reproductive rights rages as the House of Representatives passes legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of its $500 million federal family planning funds for a year.

Advertised as a political move to draw attention to allegations of Planned Parenthood staffers’ illegal actions – allegations based on highly edited video footage released by the Center for Medical Progress – the legislation, which passed on Sept.18, was pushed by political conservatives bent on defunding Planned Parenthood even before the recent controversy. The videos have been discredited and debunked as legitimate evidence against Planned Parenthood and yet on Monday evening the Senate GOP was on its fast-track process of planning legislation that would block all funding to Planned Parenthood for a year.

The 1976 Hyde Amendment dictates that federal Medicaid funds can only be used to fund abortions in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother meaning federal money does not go towards just any abortion service.

Planned Parenthood isn’t an abortion clinic; it is a sexual rights and reproductive rights organization that assists over 5.1 million men and women per year, and in fact abortions comprise 3 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood (PP). One of the most sought after services at PP is STI/STD testing, with nearly 4.5 million treatments provided in 2013 alone. PP is a big provider of contraception as well, from oral contraception to contraceptive implants. Not to mention PP provides cancer screenings, breast examinations, and HPV vaccinations. PP also provides services for pregnant women such as pregnancy tests and prenatal services.

If PP were to be defunded, its federally funded nutrition program would be affected. For low-income women, infants and children up to the age of five dependent on free supplemental food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and education, among other support services, the impact would be devastating. Also, for many low-income people of color, Planned Parenthood is their main health care provider. When we consider the statistics, the Center for Disease Control indicates Latinas and African American women have the highest incidents of cervical cancer and breast cancer so affordable access to Planned Parenthood for early diagnosis would be crucial to the quality and length of these women’s lives.

Women’s reproductive rights, or lack thereof, are constantly restricted by legislation. Even in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott passed a 24-hour waiting period before abortions to serve as a “reflection” time for the woman. The law only allowed immediate abortions in case of rape, incest, domestic abuse or human trafficking if women can present doctors with a police report, restraining order or similar documentation. Thankfully, the law was blocked by Judge Charles Dodson this pass July and is still on hold. If the law is placed back into effect, it may cause irreparable harm. This sends out a message to women that says they need to think about the choices they make concerning their bodies.

As a woman, I am offended that my body and my choices regarding it need to be justified. If PP were defunded, I would not be able to acquire affordable health care services because of conservative political figures making more than six-figure salaries telling me what I can and can’t do with my body. According to them, I am entitled to an abortion if I’m a victim of rape, incest, domestic abuse or human trafficking and can prove it.

Overall, Planned Parenthood provides affordable, quality preventive care and treatment to millions of women, men and young people across the country. Defunding PP could have deadly consequences.

3 Comments on "I Stand With Planned Parenthood"

  1. I believe Planned Parenthood (who are responsible for 30% of all abortions in this country) should be defunded while funding to other women’s health services that do not provide abortions should be increased. This would allow new locations to open in the same areas as PPFA without undesirable, and possibly criminal, actions being supported by taxpayer money.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think offering more mammograms and STI testing but less killing and organ harvesting is a position that every American should be able to get behind. Advocates mention "my body and my choices" without recognizing that there are always two bodies involved in an abortion. I think it’s a far more drastic thing to kill a prenatal human being who does not have the luxury of choice over his or her body than to be inconvenienced for nine months. As a human being, I’m offended. I don’t stand with Planned Parenthood; I stand with the infants they’ve killed.

    When you advocate for abortion, you’re saying that stronger people should get to make decisions over the weak and voiceless, even by stripping them of their own humanity. By advocating for abortion, you’re saying that an inability to consent means "Yes". What a feminist point-of-view…

    • Regardless of my "feminist point of view", the article is not pro-abortion but rather pro-choice. Saying PP is administering abortions using taxpayer money is ignoring my mentioning of the 1976 Hyde Amendment which disproves just that.

      And no, there aren’t two bodies involved in an abortion. Just as there aren’t always two consensual bodies involved in sex and really the list just goes on as to what drives women to abort in the first place, no one – especially the government – has the right to question this.

      The pathos in your comment is touching, but it sounds a lot like the pro-life babble occuring a lot in our own GOP infested Congress.

      Thanks for the read,
      – Yulisa Vega, a women’s rights advocate

      • It’s true that Planned Parenthood can’t directly fund most of their abortion business via taxpayer money, and I should have clarified that. At the same time, PPFA as an entity is being funded by taxpayer money, which certainly makes it easier for any non-funded services to operate.

        There is no societal, historical, or legal precedent which contends that personal choices over one’s body are absolute. To name a few examples, drugs, prostitution, polygamy, incest, and suicide are all illegal. Every ideology or society necessarily restricts bodily rights in some form, according to what they judge to strike the best balance between liberty, freedom, morality, and order.

        It seems apparent to me that two bodies are always affected by an abortion (the body of the mother and the body of the unborn child). To artificially terminate the life of one, especially without their consent, would then create a deficit of freedom and a deficit of choice. Even setting aside personal, medical, or religious arguments, it seems most compassionate to me to take an inclusive approach to affirming humanity rather than an exclusive one. What gives the government – or anyone – the right to determine who is ‘fully human’ and who isn’t based on arbitrary thresholds or educated guesses?

        Almost everyone in America today supports women’s rights, and advocating for them is certainly admirable. Therefore, I ask any advocates of women’s rights who may be reading to consider that around 30 million women in this country have been terminated during their most vulnerable moments in life since Roe v. Wade. This year alone, Planned Parenthood has statistically aborted well over 100,000 women who could have grown up to be strong, intelligent feminists such as yourself (if only they had been given the chance).

        Thanks for reading and replying. Though this might not persuade anyone, I hope it might help clarify the position of the "other side".

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