I Stand With Planned Parenthood
January 20, 2017
Filed under Opinions
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According to Gallup Polls, as of November 2016, Congressional approval ratings reached an all-time low for the year- just 11 percent, and it hasn’t changed much since. For the past eight years, I personally have had an immense amount of faith in the government. However, just like the other 89 percent of that population, my faith in Congress has recently been brought down to be almost nonexistent.
There is a clear and potent reason as to why congressional ratings are so low. It is undeniable that since the presidential election in November, the voices of millions of people have been drowned out and ignored by Congress, in a multitude of different topics. However, I will focus on one: women’s reproductive rights.
Just this past week, House Speaker Paul Ryan denied a group of Planned Parenthood supporters from delivering 87,000 petitions to his office, which were signed in opposition to the threat of Planned Parenthood being defunded. Instead of accepting the petitions, and taking the word of the people under his consideration graciously, he sent six security guards out to send the supporters away, without accepting any of the petitions they were there to deliver. He sent them away with the excuse that they needed an appointment.
This is not American. This is not democratic. Those petitions represent the voices of millions, and Ryan has shown that these voices mean nothing to him. He has shown that his political agenda is not for the people, but rather for his own personal, religious, or party preferences. This incident is what has officially depleted my faith in Congress.
This incident also raises me to the main issue I want to address: defunding Planned Parenthood. For just a moment, forget about abortion. Forget any political or religious resistance you have towards abortion, and just consider Planned Parenthood as the institution it is, helping millions of women in their reproductive decisions and health. This shouldn’t be too hard, as only 3 percent* of their total services consist of abortions (and they can’t even be funded by tax payer dollars, because of the Hyde Amendment). Instead, please think about how 34 percent* of their services consist of oral contraceptive distribution and 41 percent* of their services consist of STD/STI testing. Please consider how, as study after study has proven, areas with easy access to Planned Parenthood clinics and contraceptives statistically have a lower rate of teen pregnancy in relation to areas with abstinence-only sex education.
With the knowledge of how Americans are statistically inclined towards pro-choice and in support of Planned Parenthood, how the ease of access to oral contraceptives that Planned Parenthood provides lowers teen pregnancy rates (and reduces the need for abortions; abortion rates are in fact at an all-time low since the 1970s), and how 97 percent of their services are to ensure women’s health in other ways besides abortion, what are the reasons congressmen in government have for defunding Planned Parenthood? If they are not working for the public opinion of the American people, who exactly are they working for? I would like to know why they believe that the personal/religious beliefs of people like them in Congress (male, in their 60s, and with a yearly income of over $200,000) should trump the right to choice and influence concerning female reproductive health for people like me (female, entering their 20s, and with an income just high enough to get by).
Obviously, like any other sane woman, I hope that with the services Planned Parenthood strives to provide I will never need an abortion, and I will be able to take control of my reproductive health through birth control methods. But what I hope to impart through this is that Planned Parenthood’s main goal is to help and support women through their services, not to provide as many abortions as possible, sell fetal tissue, or any other (debunked) conspiracy that has been concocted. And if Planned Parenthood is in fact defunded, they will be defunding millions of women’s access to an environment that only wants the best for them and their health. There is nothing pro-life about that. There is nothing ethical about that. It’s inhumane.
The main idea I’m trying to convey is that defunding Planned Parenthood will do nothing but worsen the quality of life for millions of women, from teenagers who are willing to take control of their sexual health to older women who are financially unstable and have to be on Medicaid. Defunding Planned Parenthood will do nothing to decrease abortion rates; studies have repeatedly shown that when abortion is made hard to access, abortion rates do not decrease at all. All that changes is the amount of women who pursue “backstreet” and unsafe abortions, which skyrockets and results in the deaths of thousands of women. That does not sound very pro-life to me.
But this isn’t about abortion. This is about an institution that helps women feel confident and cared for. Some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met were nurses at Planned Parenthood clinics. On the behalf of the women all over America that depend on the selfless services Planned Parenthood has provided for over 100 years and is determined to continue providing, I urge our government and Congressmen:
Do not sacrifice the well-being of millions of women and strip them of control over their reproductive health in order to further your personal, party, or religious agenda. Do not strip women of the freedom this country promises to all. Health care, in every form, is a right, not a privilege- if you were truly pro-life, you would agree this is undeniable.
*Statistics derived from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/4013/9611/7243/Planned_Parenthood_Services.pdf