We can’t afford to defund Planned Parenthood

by A. G. Priest, Staff Columnist

On Sept. 18, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal dollars. This bill is not expected to gain the Democratic senatorial and presidential approval, and for good reason.

Planned Parenthood provides affordable and accessible healthcare services for those who need it. Defunding Planned Parenthood would reduce the availability of these services, and in turn, denying people the right to the health of their own bodies.

Planned Parenthood offers an array of contraceptive facilities, including birth control pills, emergency contraceptives, abortion and sterilization procedures, and education about these types of services. According to the organization’s 2013-2014 annual report, Planned Parenthood provided contraceptive services 3,577,348 times.

There are a myriad of reasons why an individual may use contraceptives. In any case, they all help an individual not have children. Some may not be ready. Others may not want any at all. A child is a huge responsibility, and someone’s choice to not have one, if ever, should be respected.

The Guttmacher Institution estimates that without publicly funded contraceptive services, the unintended pregnancy rate would be two-thirds greater. Planned Parenthood provides this necessary and accessible contraceptive healthcare.

Not only does Planned Parenthood provide contraceptive facilities, but they also offer services such as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screening and prevention, pregnancy tests, and prenatal services.

Halting Planned Parenthood’s funds not only halts specialized reproductive healthcare services, but also general health services, like testing and vaccinations.

The Congressional Budget Office published an analysis of the House bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. The CBO approximates between 5 percent and 25 percent of the estimated 2.6 million clients served by Planned Parenthood would face reduced access to care.

Why should these clients have to suffer without accessible healthcare? Why do politicians continually concern themselves with blockading an individual’s right to use health services?

House representatives may approve of defunding Planned Parenthood, but the majority of Americans surveyed in a nationwide USA Today/Suffolk University Poll dictate otherwise. Two-thirds of those who participated in the survey say that funding should continue for Planned Parenthood.

It’s no secret that the majority of Planned Parenthood’s clients are women. Planned Parenthood’s website reads that 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has visited one of the organization’s centers at least once in her life. Defunding Planned Parenthood essentially means defunding women’s healthcare.

Why do legislators feel compelled to make women’s bodies a political battleground? Politicians are trying to seize women’s autonomy over their own health and it is completely unacceptable.

Planned Parenthood is a major figurehead in not only women’s reproductive health services, but also general healthcare that is accessible and affordable. Denying Planned Parenthood’s federal funds means minimizing and even eliminating the rights of thousands of people to the organization’s healthcare services.

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