Planned Parenthood is Paramount to Public Health
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Many people love birthdays. There are parties, and cake, and best of all, gifts. However, when Planned Parenthood recently celebrated its centennial, it received the worst gifts of all: the looming shadows of poor publicity and the possibility of getting defunded. Despite its controversial reputation, Planned Parenthood is one of the most progressive and crucial organizations in contemporary American society. It has helped millions of people, from young couples to expecting mothers, and it should not be destroyed. Sexual health care and education are necessities that should not be overlooked.
While Planned Parenthood has become known as the “abortion hub,” only three percent of all of its services are abortion services. The other 97 percent of its services include performing affordable screenings to check for diseases such as breast cancer, and providing educational programs about consent, gender identity, sexual orientation, safe sex, and sexually transmitted diseases (plannedparenthood.org). Performing health screenings makes people aware of their bodies and options. Teaching about consent prevents rape. Promoting safe sex averts unwanted pregnancies and negates some need for abortions. Most importantly, providing sex education fills the cracks left by a lack of sex ed in schools.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 24 states and the District of Columbia require public schools to provide sex education. Of those 24, only 21 of those require instruction about both sex and HIV/AIDs. Yet, even when factoring in the states that do not mandate sex education in schools, only 20 out of the 50 states require that their curriculum regarding sex and HIV be “…medically, factually, or technically accurate” (ncsl.org). With policies like these, millions across America are deprived of the knowledge they need to understand the act of having sex and the risks associated with it. Many times, teenagers do not feel comfortable asking their parents about these issues and their friends are not reliable sources of information, in many cases because of these very laws. Additionally, information from the internet may be unreliable. Planned Parenthood is one of the only trustworthy resources there is for these teens.
With STD rates reaching new highs, America needs Planned Parenthood more than ever. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control, cited by The Washington Post, “More than 1.5 million cases of chlamydia were reported [in 2015], up 6 percent from the year before. About 400,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported, a nearly 13 percent increase from 2014. The biggest increase, 19 percent, occurred in syphilis cases, with nearly 24,000 reported” (thewashingpost.com). The only way to reduce these numbers is to promote safe sex and STD awareness, and that is what Planned Parenthood does. The organization is vital to America’s sexual health, and defunding it would reveal a widespread negative effect.
“A lot of kids have problems, such as getting STDs or getting pregnant, and I think that Planned Parenthood is one of the best ways to deal with it and it should definitely be more accessible because it’s something that is necessary for so many kids,” said Junior Victoria Chavez.
On top of providing easily accessible sexual health care and education, Planned Parenthood also administers affordable general healthcare. When Texas cut funding for the organization in 2011, many women from low income families went without healthcare services, with the average woman receiving 25 to 50 percent less of these important services. Calculations from the Congressional Budget Office estimate that around 650,000 women nationwide would go without vital health services if Planned Parenthood was defunded (attn.com). Without Planned Parenthood, low income families would need to turn to the private healthcare sector, which demands hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars that these families can’t afford, even if they have health insurance. Now, with the repeal of Obamacare, paying for healthcare has become an greater financial burden and people need Planned Parenthood more than ever to saves their money and their lives.
Many people are anti-Planned Parenthood because of the videos that portray the organization as a cartoonish villain inappropriately selling tissue from aborted fetuses. However, when the videos were examined by CNN, it became clear that the videos were extremely misleading. For example, careful scrutinization revealed that the released videos “…had dozens of unexplained splices and edits, cutting out phrases like ‘we’re not looking to make money from this’” from the unedited footage. Additionally, CNN revealed that only one percent of Planned Parenthood centers are involved in fetal tissue donation. Of that one percent, each center only accepted money in order to pay for shipping and handling, and nothing more (cnn.com). Planned Parenthood does not look to profit from these terminated pregnancies. Instead, it looks to be ethical and compassionate. Though only one percent of the Planned Parenthood centers donate fetal tissue, those vital few bring new life through the fetuses. Fetal tissue is often used in stem cell research, and according to Scientist Nathalia Holt, this research “…has the ability to save lives. It already has” (nytimes.com).
Despite its reputation, Planned Parenthood has been nothing but transparent about all things sex, from condoms to chlamydia. It offers something for everyone: education for the unenlightened, healthcare for the needy, abortions for the unwilling mothers. It even caters to the pro-lifers by preventing unwanted pregnancy, and thus the need for abortions. You may not need it today, or tomorrow, or even next year, but there will come a time when Planned Parenthood could help you. Because of that, it is vital that we stand up and defend this organization from all who want to defund it.