I’m going to start off with a bit of a disclosure here. I am a Democrat. I am a bleeding heart liberal who believes in Welfare and Food Stamps and all those other horrible programs that help low income families eat and survive. I believe in freedom of and from religion and the right of homosexuals to marry. I know, I’m pretty much the worst. I am also pro-choice, but let’s be clear her, I am not pro-abortion. I’ve never had one, never will have one, so please, before you call me that to insult me, just know that you’re mistaken.
Now, the other disclosure is that I’m not here to talk about abortion, because this isn’t about abortion. I’m not here to talk about politics either, I just wanted you to know my affiliations in advance so that there was no question.
What I am here to talk about is Planned Parenthood, and why if you are opposed to it, you’re making a huge, probably undereducated, mistake.
Planned Parenthood was established in 1916, and currently has nearly 800 centers throughout the country where they are able to provide diverse health care services to women, men and teenagers who do not have health insurance or access to reasonably priced medical care. They provide health care for those who otherwise would not have access to it, which should never be a controversy, nor should it ever be political.
According to the Planned Parenthood website, last year they provided care including: preventing 584,000 unintended pregnancies, providing 770,000 pelvic exam/pap smears, 750,000 breast exams, 4 million tests and treatments for STD and educational programs to more than 1.1 million teens and adults. They provide testing for pregnancy and many of their clinics provide prenatal care for women who cannot afford it. And yes, they provided abortions. Abortions that comprise 3% of their services, which means that 97% of what they do, is, or at least should be, non-controversial.
Shutting down Planned Parenthood, like many Republican politicians and families would like, would represent a huge blow to women’s health care services in this country. And that is something that all of us, pregnant or not, should be alarmed about.
We are in the middle of a tremendous downturn in the economy. The unemployment rate is high and the number of people who are living without health insurance is astronomical. By supporting those who want to shut down Planned Parenthood, you are taking away a critical service to those who do not have the luxury of health insurance or an obgyn who they can call and see at a moment’s notice. You are forcing teens and families to forgo testing for various cancers and diseases as well as prenatal care that could not just cost them their future fertility, but could also cost them their lives.
Planned Parenthood should not be about politics. It should be about access to low cost medical care. It should be about providing birth control to those who do not want children and low cost prenatal care for those who do. It should be about providing screening for cervical cancer, breast cancer and HIV. Someone is going to have to tell me why anyone in Congress or any woman would ever not support that, because I simply cannot understand.
Shutting down Planned Parenthood threatens the lives of teens and women around this country at a much higher rate than 3%. Until you can come up with a better way to make sure that men, women and teens have access to these healthcare services, it’s irresponsible to try to shut them down. Please, take politics out and think about the women in your life. Think about your body and your future.
And then see if you really believe that politics should have any place in deciding if Planned Parenthood should stay open.
Planned Parenthood services chart from the Washington Post