by Vincenza Belletti
Close your eyes. Imagine a world where women and men can get STD testing and treatment, cancer screening, contraception, pregnancy tests, and general health care for little to no cost. Now open your eyes. This world already exists and you are living in it.
In October 2016, Planned Parenthood turned 100 years old. It was founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives, and have control over their bodies. Today, Planned Parenthood has expanded to provide information and services to men and teenagers as well as women worldwide.
The most common misconception about Planned Parenthood is that it is an “abortion clinic”. This assertion is ignorant and uninformed. According to the official Planned Parenthood annual report, out of the 9.5 million services they provided in 2014-2015, only 323,999 of those were abortions, a mere 3 percent. For people who want to defund Planned Parenthood simply because of the abortions are denying millions of Americans a number of other benefits and treatments that are either lifesaving or reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and thus reducing the number of abortions.
Luckily, for all of us pro-Planned Parenthood people, President Obama took action to protect women’s constitutional rights by securing federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The new rule says that states cannot withhold Title X funds from recipients like Planned Parenthood for any reason other than the provider’s “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”
That means states will no longer have the ability to vote on defunding Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics offer abortion services, which politicians in eleven states had done in the past, according to the New York Times.
In reality though, government funding given to Planned Parenthood had never been used for abortion services in the first place. Title X forbids federal funds to be used on abortion services, meaning all abortion procedures are funded through donations. Of course, Planned Parenthood opponents still have a problem with this, arguing that any money given to Planned Parenthood from Title X frees up more non-federal money that can be used to perform abortions.
In the grand scheme of things, Planned Parenthood offers services to all genders of all ages, going beyond the stereotypical “female only services” idea. As abortion was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court case Roe vs Wade and taxpayer money is not going towards the small number of abortion services performed, there is really no reason to be anti-Planned Parenthood.