Planned Parenthood should not be defunded

Senate should vote to continue funding Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood should not be defunded

Alison Booth, JagWire reporter

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Last Wednesday, when I learned that the House of Representatives had voted to decrease the funding of Planned Parenthood, I’ll admit I was nothing short of appalled. I knew the idea had been swarming around Washington for a couple of months due to the unequivocally altered video that was released last summer depicting the supposed selling of fetal tissue conducted by the organization. However, because I had deemed it obvious that the video had been modified in order to criminalize Planned Parenthood, I had never thought that members of our government would take it so seriously. Apparently, I was wrong.

The bill that called for a cease of funding for Planned Parenthood passed through the House of Representatives with a 241-187 vote. Representative Gus Bilirakis claims taxpayers should not be forced to support Planned Parenthood due to its “unethical and possibly illegal behaviors.” Bilirakis is clearly referring both to the supposed fetal tissue selling and to the abortion services Planned Parenthood provides to citizens.

What several people fail to realize, however, is that only three percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortions, according to its 2013-14 annual report. Other aspects of the organization include sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, assistance in contraception (including birth control pills), cancer screening and prevention and other women’s health services.

These services are necessary for women in our country. Politicians consistently fail to understand that Planned Parenthood is not focused solely on abortion. By discontinuing the distribution of these other services, the government is also subsequently stopping the funding of birth control pills. Without birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies, the rate of abortions would increase, therefore causing the opposite effect of what was intended.

Furthermore, the federal funding that is invested into Planned Parenthood does not go toward most abortions. Special circumstances in which little federal funding is provided include abortions in instances of rape or incest or at times when the mother’s life is in severe danger.

Although government officials are attempting to support their reasoning for a cease of funding to Planned Parenthood by arguing that the organization’s main function is to provide abortions, they consistently fall short in providing evidence to prove this.

With the downfall of Planned Parenthood, representatives claim that there are a plethora of other clinics that will take the place of the organization. However, Planned Parenthood is specifically directed toward lower-income patients. In 2012, for example, 79 percent of those who received services from the organization lived at 150 percent of the national poverty level or lower, according to the March 2012 Government Accountability Office report. If the government plans to cease any funding of Planned Parenthood, consequently, prices of services would most likely increase.

It is unethical to deny lower-income citizens a right to adequate and affordable care just because some politicians do not agree with a small portion of an organization’s services. These patients would be forced to either refrain from seeking any care at all or would have to attempt to find care at another clinic, where services would most likely be more expensive and less thorough.

Ultimately, the bill is completely unreasonable. With mindsets that seem to focus solely on keeping our country strictly anti-abortion, politicians fail to recognize the overall effect the bill to defund Planned Parenthood will have. Anyone could require Planned Parenthood’s services at any time. To decline affordable, competent and fair health care to the public is immoral, yet is what would occur should the bill pass through the rest of Congress. For the sake of both present and future generations, I can only hope that the Senate recognizes the consequences and severe impact the defunding of Planned Parenthood would have on our country, and does not pass the bill.

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