Keep your laws off my body
Views 32 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 3 - 7 - 2017 | By: Vanessa Acain
Serving five million men and women annually worldwide, Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of affordable reproductive healthcare. With nearly 650 health centers in the United States and partnerships in 12 countries, the nonprofit organization provides extensive global health services. Providing reproductive and sexual education, outreach, and healthcare, the company advocates for the protection and expansion reproductive rights and therefore has faced mass scrutiny.
Planned Parenthood is under the impending risk of defunding now more than ever due to today’s majority Republican ruled government. However, contrary to popular assumption, abortions only account for 3% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood.
The social stigma attached to Planned Parenthood is based on the idea that supporting the organization also supports abortion. While abortion is a contentious, controversial issue in itself, access to quality and reasonably priced healthcare should not be. Healthcare is a fundamental human right. In fact, Planned Parenthood is one of the few healthcare providers where women and men can receive reasonably priced, quality care. Providing services to the minorities and poor, according to Planned Parenthood, 80% of clients have incomes at or below the federal poverty level. The organization offers a wide-ranging of reproductive health services that extend from abortion services including: contraceptives, vasectomies, breast examinations, cancer screenings, prenatal services, sexual and reproductive counseling, and STD testing and treatment.
President Trump says he will endorse the defunding of Planned Parenthood if the organization continues offering abortion services despite the fact that he has made statements such as “nobody has more respect for women than I do” and Planned Parenthood does “very good work for millions of women.” Threatening to defund such a vital healthcare resource implies that the government is taking control of what an individual can and cannot do with their own body. Mass disapproval was illustrated in the Women’s March as many women and men held up signs reading, “keep your hands off my body.” Nevertheless, Republicans are pushing to cease federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Paul Ryan told CNN, “We don’t want to commit taxpayer funding for abortion, and Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider.”
Right-wing Republicans argue that supporting Planned Parenthood is immoral, largely due to the controversial issue of abortion and therefore federal funding should end. However, Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970 from the Title X in the Public Health Service Act which provides funding for family planning services and was supported by members of both parties.
Studies have found a 54% decrease in health care provision and cancer screenings when Planned Parenthood health centers were closed in the states Texas and Wisconsin. If Planned Parenthood is defunded, 2.5 million will lose health care services in the U.S. alone. Denying reproductive health care and education will only increase significant barriers to health care and risk the lives of millions of people. The economic condition of an individual should not be the reason why anyone is denied the fundamental human right of healthcare.
Planned Parenthood is about more than just abortion. Advocating for the legal and political protection of reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood is about ensuring the rights to one’s own body. So although Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the largest provider of abortions, it is also the largest provider of essential and invaluable resources for teens and adults worldwide.