Planned Parenthood was founded in Brooklyn, New York, in 1916 by Margaret Sanger. This was a time when women could not vote, sign contracts, have bank accounts, or even divorce their abusive husbands. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, “Planned Parenthood is rooted in courage and tenacity for women’s health, rights, and equality. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, is one of the movement’s great heroes. Sanger’s early efforts remain the hallmark of Planned Parenthood’s mission.” Planned Parenthood is a part of a greater movement because of its founder. Planned Parenthood’s website also stated that, In 1966 Margaret Sanger was given the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Margaret Sanger Award. The award was created in the founder’s honor.
It was also given to others such as the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The website for the organization also remarked, “Women’s progress in recent decades- in education, in the workplace, in political and economic power – can be directly linked to Sanger’s crusade and women’s ability to control their own fertility.” Planned Parenthood provides health services such as providing contraception, funding research on birth control and educating specialists and the public about results, and advancing access to family planning in the United States and around the world. In fact, according to The New England Journal of Medicine’s article ‘Planned Parenthood at Risk’ 2.7 million women have been serviced by Planned Parenthood and at least seventy-eight percent of patients are at or below one-hundred and fifty percent of the federal poverty line.
It would appear that the organization has done nothing but benefit women, the poor, and those in desperate need of reproductive rights and health assistance. This doesn’t seem to matter, to some, because the opposition to Planned Parenthood has very clearly expressed their view as well as intention to defund the organization. For instance, according to an article by The Huffington Post, ‘GOP Probe into Planned Parenthood Funding Comes up Empty’, “Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds hasn’t turned up anything.”
The representative a week prior to this statement acted in the following way according to the same Huffington Post article, “Chaffetz, a candidate for House speaker, grilled Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards during a five-hour hearing last week. He questioned her salary, asked about the organization’s expenses and revenues, and pressed Richards on why the group had revenue of $127 million last year if it’s a nonprofit. (Nonprofits put their revenues back into their programs.)” To go into more detail about all of the things Planned Parenthood does excluding abortion, The same Huffington Post’s article again provides the information, “The women’s health care provider gets about $500 million a year in federal funds, but federal law prohibits any of it from being used for abortions.
Instead, the money is used to subsidize a range of health care services for low-income women, including birth control, cancer screenings and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.” The same article by the Huffington Post also displays the current political climate and controversy in relation to the statement by the representative, “His concession will be music to Democrats’ ears, who have long accused Republicans of trying to sink Planned Parenthood because they oppose abortion.” There is clearly a religion-induced dislike of Planned Parenthood. I say this because abortion is the only basis for their (Republicans/Christian conservatives) criticism of the health-care provider.
There is evidence of this from this quote from the same Huffington Post article, “Republicans have been ramping up their attacks on Planned Parenthood after anti-abortion activists released heavily edited undercover videos a few months ago that purported to show the family planning provider selling fetal tissue after abortions.” Let us, restate the most important piece from the quotation, ‘heavily edited’. According to the New England Journal of Medicine in regard to the ‘heavily edited’ video, “It is shameful that a radical antichoice group whose goal is the destruction of Planned Parenthood continues to twist the facts to achieve its ends.” So what, why does this matter?
Well, if we look at the fact that congress currently has a majority Republican occupancy, the same party that expresses its wish to defund the organization it is concerning in itself given they make legislation or laws. In a more specific reason as to why we should all show concern, according to another Huffington Post article, ‘Planned Parenthood Pursues Class Action Suit Against Arkansas’, “Planned Parenthood has sought class action status for its Medicaid patients in Arkansas after a U.S. judge ordered the state to continue payments to three women who challenged Arkansas’ move to halt payments to the organization.
The filing in federal court in Arkansas on Monday could reverse the state’s decision to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood programs in the state, lawyers for the group said on Tuesday.” A class action lawsuit is worthy of concern. Planned Parenthood is more than just a place where you can get checked for sexually transmitted diseases, get contraception, or plan a family. The federal program is a continuation of the struggle for, not only women’s, but American’s right to health care, sexual freedom, and equality. The United States still has some progress to be made if we wish to achieve said rights given we are the only industrialized country in the world that does not consider health care a right of citizenship.