Planned Parenthood is no stranger to controversy. But the women's health organization has found itself in the middle of particularly intense backlash over the past couple of weeks, facing attacks that range from vicious videos to the (failed) attempt of Senate Republicans to advance a bill cutting off the organization's federal funding.
Comedian Cameron Esposito counts herself among the many outraged by these attacks. But rather than simply express her frustration, the performer took to the stage this week to thoughtfully explain exactly why opposing this organization and the important work they do is so ridiculous.
"Three percent. That's the percent of what they do [that] is perform[ing] abortions," Esposito says of Planned Parenthood's work.
She then points out that the bulk of Planned Parenthood's work is distributing contraception, "which, by the way, one of the best ways to prevent abortions — contraception."
Esposito's numbers are correct: In addition to providing abortions and contraception, Planned Parenthood also teaches sexual education to more than 1 million students every year and offers health care services like Pap tests, breast exams and cancer screenings.
But even though abortion is just one service the organization provides, Esposito notes, it's an important one that should be kept available to women.
"Women deserve access to abortion services" she asserts, adding, "We fucking do because we're not incubators." If guys oppose abortion, she continues, they should be forced to also raise children resulting from unplanned pregnancies and stay "stuck with" the women they impregnated forever.
"But if you want us to work, and if you want it to be possible for relationships to end, and if you want love to be real, and if you would ever like to have sex that feels good, then you should be on the side of contraception," she says. "You should be on the side of women knowing about their bodies."
This support extends beyond intimate relationships, she notes, and can even empower people to live healthier economic lives.
"If you don't want to pay for health care, for people that live in poverty, then you should help women who live in poverty to not have children that they are not able to provide for," she said. "That is how you personally will not have to pay that bill."
Statistics back this point up: Poor women are about five times as likely to have unintended births as more affluent women, even though all women have the same amount of sex regardless of class, according to a recent Brookings Institute report. This is because low-income women usually have less access to contraception and are often unable to afford an abortion upon becoming pregnant. All of this contributes to the fact that unplanned pregnancies cost taxpayers $21 billion per year — a major expense for all that could be eased by widespread support for organizations like Planned Parenthood.
Finally, Esposito argued, arguments about religion mandating views on abortion must also be discarded.
"Something you choose shouldn't affect my choice," she said of others' decisions to follow religious beliefs that condemn abortion. "If you are pro-life, truly, you should be pro-women's lives. Women that already exist and aren't piles of cells. And if those cells need to be removed so that that woman can live a full life, and then they are donated to science so that other people can live better lives, that is a good use of that cells."
Esposito ended her set by noting that she didn't have a witty punchline, just the belief that "this conversation and debate needs to be over." She did, however, send out a plea to men who oppose Planned Parenthood — including the politicians who have spoken and continue to speak out about this stance.
"If you are a guy and you are against Planned Parenthood and you sleep with women," she concludes, "I hope to God it is infrequently."
h/t Huffington Post