Let’s educate ourselves on Planned Parenthood, okay? Let’s forget about all of the pictures of people picketing outside of PP buildings, the angry faces of our leaders as they passionately state their opposing views, and all of the preconceived notions that we all have about this organization. I want to learn about what Planned Parenthood truly does in our country, just in case, you know, Paul Ryan and the GOP’s plan to defund it turns out to be a really, really terrible idea.
I’m going to break down the numbers now — so bear with me.
In 2014, Planned Parenthood received $553 million in government funding, which was 40% of their $1.3 billion revenue. Approximately 75% of that funding was drawn from Medicaid reimbursements, because nearly two-thirds of Planned Parenthood patients rely on public programs like Medicaid for their health care. Two-thirds.
Are you still with me?
If Planned Parenthood is defunded, as many as 650,000 women (and men and children) could be left without proper medical care. They will be without access to birth control, sex education, general medical care, cancer screenings, and STD testing — important things that everyone in our country deserves to have access to.
Abortions account for only 3% (!) of the health services that PP offers — and abortions are not even federally funded. In other words, they aren’t even funded by the government. (Read this if you want to talk about late-term abortions.)
The Planned Parenthood website states that, “The core of Planned Parenthood affiliate medical service is prevention including STD testing and treatment, contraception, and accompanying health care, education, and information.” It literally makes no sense to defund a program that provides free birth control to people because you want less abortions. No birth control = more unwanted babies. More unwanted babies results in more abortions. Right? Right.
Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states, “That is why [defunding Planned Parenthood] is especially troubling in terms of Medicaid, and really undoing decades of work to ensure that low-income women have ready access to family planning.”
I’m so blown away by the anti-logic of this entire thing. Women need birth control so that they don’t get pregnant when they don’t want to. Planned Parenthood provides this birth control (and sex education and prenatal care)
And, most importantly: Pro-choice legislation reduces abortions.
Please say this together: Pro-choice legislation reduces abortions.
This is a fact. It has been proven over and over again. If you label yourself pro-life, and you are voting against pro-choice legislation, then you are voting against your own standards. Yes, really.
So to educate ourselves, here are some of the many, many services that Planned Parenthood provides (especially for low-income families):
STI testing and treatment
Emergency contraception kits
Female sterilization procedures
Family practice services, men and women (including anemia, cholesterol, and diabetes screening, physical exams, flu and tetanus vaccines, smoking cessation, high blood pressure and thyroid screenings)
And yes, abortions.
Reducing the funding of Planned Parenthood only hurts those who can’t afford medical services on their own. This organization is so important to so many people that we need to protect it. Call your legislators, get involved, and donate. It’s becoming more and more clear that we, as a country, are going to have to start working together, learning the facts, and fighting for the things that are important. This is important.