For as long as I can remember, the topic of Planned Parenthood has been a controversial one. As a woman who grew up in a Christian home and a largely conservative community in southern California, I felt shame the first time I walked through those doors; but it didn’t take long for me to realize there is a lot more to Planned Parenthood than just abortions, like I had been told. Not only here in the state of Colorado, but throughout the entire United States, the argument of whether or not Planned Parenthood should be funded by the government, remains prevalent as ever.
Defunding the organization would take away the main source of affordable health care and family planning for not only low-income women, but men as well. Supporters of Planned Parenthood understand the true benefits of the organization: to educate about reproductive health and to treat diseases; to prevent unintended or unwanted pregnancies with safe contraceptive methods to ultimately reduce the number of abortions; and to provide prenatal care.
According to the article, “Planned Parenthood: Should the Federal Government Allocate Taxpayer Money to Planned Parenthood?”, supporters of Planned Parenthood believe that defunding the organization would leave many low-income women without access to affordable, essential reproductive health care. Most of the services offered at their clinics are meant to prevent unintended pregnancies and provide sex education and preventative medicine, not prioritizing abortions.
It is shown that providing funding for family planning services can actually reduce the number of abortions, as a result of making contraceptives and education readily available to patients at a more affordable price. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus wrote that “Defunding Planned Parenthood would inevitably result in more unplanned pregnancies and therefore more abortions, not fewer. In fact, if you really want to reduct the number of abortions, you should be lobbying to increase funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide birth control.” (Planned Parenthood: Should the…)
On the other hand, opponents of Planned Parenthood argue that since the organization is currently the largest provider of abortions in the U.S., regardless of the other services offered, they don’t deserve any of the taxpayers’ money. It is believed that government funds would be of better use for health clinics that do not provide abortions, and Congress should act to protect the unborn. Because they perform abortion procedures, opponents accuse Planned Parenthood personnel of having demonstrated a “callous disregard for fetal life” (Issues and Controversies).
According to Senator Ted Cruz in his argument against the funding of Planned Parenthood, “Community health centers, charities, state health departments and other government entities all provide women’s health services without also providing abortions.” Organizations like #ProtestPP fight against Planned Parenthood, pushing for our tax dollars to no longer support their clinics, as they perform 35% of all abortions done in the U.S. (#ProtestPP).
In a conversation with Ellen Chesler, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow, on “why funding for Planned Parenthood makes dollars and sense”, it is noted that the Guttmacher Institute has found that “for every dollar invested in family planning about four are saved.” (Covert) Chesler refers to family planning as a “preventative investment”—preventing more abortions in the long run. The cost of public financial assistance for low-income families with children, foster care and adoption services, and the cost of pre- and post-natal care, heavily outweighs the cost of assisting in the funding of Planned Parenthood, alongside their donors and sponsors.
She points out the importance of women in the workforce and why it is crucial to give them the right to choose contraceptives over an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Chesler states, “…it is very difficult to do our jobs, particularly with the lack of social programs that benefit us or help with balancing work and family… Women can’t do their jobs, create new jobs, or add to the country’s economic well-being if they can’t control their fertility.”(Covert)
The abortion topic has been and will continue to be a huge controversy in politics. With the conservative pro-life vs. the liberal pro-choice representatives in a constant battle over whether a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body should be supported by the government or not, it is so important that Americans understand the importance of Planned Parenthood and what it stands for. Women will find a way to take care of an unwanted pregnancy whether Planned Parenthood exists or not. It is crucial for men and women to have a safe place, without judgment, where they can go to seek proper medical assistance, and Planned Parenthood is just that.
I have been a patient at Planned Parenthood for 10 years on-and-off while I have been uninsured, and have found the employees at Planned Parenthood to be the most compassionate, kind, and understanding medical professionals I have ever had the pleasure of being treated by. I have also been harassed by protestors outside the clinic, while going in for a simple check up or birth control consultation. I have been called a murderer and a sinner for simply entering a clinic that performs abortions, when I was only there for birth control pills and blood work.
Nobody walks into Planned Parenthood for an abortion feeling happy or proud to be there. Making such an incredibly difficult decision leaves many women feeling depressed, guilty, and/or conflicted. Nothing about that is easy. Planned Parenthood even provides affordable mental health support in these cases, covering all the bases to ensure their patients are receiving the safest, healthiest care possible. Now, what’s so terrible about that?
- Covert, Bryce. “Why Defunding Planned Parenthood is Bad Economics.” Blog, Economy & Growth, Human Rights. 09 April 2011. rooseveltinstitute.org/
- why-defunding-planned-parenthood-bad-economics/. Accessed 23 Feb ruary 2020.
- “Planned Parenthood: Should the Federal Government Allocate Taxpayer Money to Planned Parenthood?” Issues and Controversies, Infobase, 18 July 2019, https://icof.infobaselearning.com/recordurl.aspx?ID=2505. Ac- cessed 19 February 2020.
- “Why Defund Planned Parenthood?” #ProtestPP, 2018, protestpp.com/about/. Accessed 19 February 2020.