The Political Plot Against Planned Parenthood

With health care in this country in such disarray, cutting the approximate $75 million that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal and state governments, about a third of their entire budget, would be disastrous for low-income women with few other medical resources.

Support for the organization can be seen across the nation from women who have received their services, but also from other women who simply believe in their mission. It’s easy to find Facebook pictures taken by supporters, male and female alike, with handmade signs that read, “I Stand With Planned Parenthood,” and other more creative signs such as my personal favorite, “Pro Choice: The radical idea that women own their bodies … and since a man can’t make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one.”

Last month, House Republicans voted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and even the Title X Family Planning program. Planned Parenthood is integral for women without medical insurance as they provide an array of services. According to their own statistics from 2008, 35% of their services are dedicated to contraception, 34% to STD testing and treatment, 17% to cancer screening and prevention, 11% to other and a mere 3% to abortion services. They also provide services to 23% of clients age 19 and younger.

The major argument for this cut is that government money should not be used for abortions, but Congress already prohibits federal funds from being used for that purpose. The measly 3% of funds that go to abortion are funded by private donors, who in addition, specify how they want their donation used. Critics have said that despite this, federal money for non-abortion services frees up Planned Parenthood’s funds for abortion costs. Even if this is the case, it is my opinion that since abortion is legal in this country, Planned Parenthood has the right to use their funds as they wish.

In the words of Mayor Bloomberg, “let me start by being clear, they [the proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood] have nothing to do with fiscal responsibility or the budget deficit.” If the proposal was actually about the budget deficit, one would support Planned Parenthood because the government actually saves four dollars in medical costs for every dollar the organization uses towards contraceptive services. The House Representatives in support of this proposal, such as John Boehner (R - OH) and Mike Pence (R - IN), are attacking Planned Parenthood because they do not believe in one of the services that they provide, abortions. It seems to me that these Representatives are trying to force their ideological beliefs on the country whether or not it limits the rights of women.

The debate over abortion has always been a battle between morality and constitutionality. Opponents and proponents color their arguments with euphemisms and dysphemisms such as pro-life and pro-choice so that the opposing sides are so isolated from one another that a productive conversation seems impossible.

Everyone has their own opinion on what’s wrong and right. Some believe abortion is moral, some do not, but Roe v. Wade states that under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, abortion is a choice that every women has a right to. Many firmly disagree with the decision but until the case is overturned, politicians should not try to limit a woman’s right to make her own personal decisions about her health and that of her family by slyly creating legislation that would cut the budget of services that assist her in her decision.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Justine Gonzalez

Justine Gonzalez is currently pursuing her masters degree in Urban Policy from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. She has her BA in Sociology and Spanish from Smith College. While at Smith, she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow which allowed her to do independent research on the relationship between race, nation building policies and education. Justine is currently living in New York City where she was born and raised. Her interests range from immigration policy, social justice, race, class and gender inequality.

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