Last week, reports of an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped by her mother's boyfriend surfaced. The Chilean girl has no choice but to see this life-threatening pregnancy through, as Chile is one of the few countries which completely bans abortion. It is heartbreaking. But I thought, "Thankfully, I live in America." I thought, "Nothing like that could ever happen here." And then came the announcement that three Planned Parenthood facilities in Texas are about to close. Not because their services aren't needed (or wanted), not because they don't have the capital to stay open, but because of Texan Governor Rick Perry.
While only one of these three clinics actually performs abortions, all offer a myriad of services which are critical to the health and well-being of women and girls across the state. On what he must imagine to be a historic day, Governor Perry stated that "This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women. In signing House Bill 2, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built." But these clinics offer such a vast spectrum of services that only 3% of their services pertain specifically to abortion.The majority of people who seek help at Planned Parenthood need treatment or testing for STIs, access to contraception, or cancer screening and prevention advice; an expected 200,000 low-income women in Texas are expected to lose access to such vital care. Denying women these life-saving procedures doesn't particularly seem like "supporting life" to me.
Under the guise of "raising the standard of care for women", the crusade to defund Planned Parenthood is going to have lasting consequences on women's health. It also has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for abortion legislation in other states. Planned Parenthood isn't the only casualty. 53 health clinics have closed because of bills that impose budget cuts (just 14 were affiliated with Planned Parenthood). And none of them performed abortions, but they were still victims of the pro-life agenda.
Here's something that everyone can understand and agree upon: money. The fact of the matter is, Planned Parenthood saves the federal government and consequently each and everyone of you a considerable amount of money. The expected increase in unplanned births from these measures is expected to cost taxpayers an additional $273 million in Texas alone. If we really are so concerned with the rising national debt, we shouldn't be taking steps that are going to cost the taxpayers more money.
This is not about a "war on women." This is not about being pro-life or pro-choice. This is about the health of women and children. This is something that has the potential to affect every American. I won't encourage you to support Planned Parenthood if that is against your belief system. But I will encourage you to look deeper into what legislation like House Bill 2 actually does and consider that those around you could be harmed by losing access to medical care they need. And then ask, "Why? Why is Texas doing this?"