Emotional PSA Shows How Disastrous Defunding Planned Parenthood Would Be

by Sarah Hosseini
Originally Published: 
Image via Joss Whedon/YouTube

Joss Whedon’s “UNLOCKED” shows a world without Planned Parenthood

What would life look like without Planned Parenthood? Hint: not good — not good at all. And now thanks to Avengers and Buffy The Vampire Slayer director, Joss Whedon, we can see that bleak reality for ourselves.

He created a short film that follows three women “through critical moments in their lives.”

The video on his YouTube channel is called “UNLOCKED.” The emotional short “highlights the vital role Planned Parenthood health centers play in the lives of millions of women in our communities nationwide.”

One woman dies from cancer. Another contracts a sexually-transmitted disease. And a third young woman gets pregnant and can’t go to college on a full scholarship. The scenario that sparked these situations: Planned Parenthood not being there for them. The dramatization of these realities shows us the world without Planned Parenthood doesn’t just look ugly; it looks disastrous.

About halfway through, the footage rewinds to a time when Planned Parenthood was there to offer all of the women the aid they needed. The mother receives cancer screening and celebrates a birthday with her family, a young woman gets safe sex education and doesn’t end up with an STD, and the third woman goes to college.

The grim world Whedon shows us isn’t some pie-in-the-sky idea. It’s not alarmist. It’s already starting to happen. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives voted on a Republican healthcare bill that includes stripping Medicaid reimbursements from Planned Parenthood for one year, according to the Washington Post.

“If politicians succeed in shutting down Planned Parenthood, millions of people lose access to basic health services. STD testing, birth control, cancer screenings…how can these be at risk?” Whedon said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “‘UNLOCKED’ is about what a world without Planned Parenthood would look like, which is truly dire.”

Before we move on, the term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is actually a misnomer.

“There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget,” Planned Parenthood press officer Lauren Cross tells Scary Mommy. “Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid and/or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider that’s been there for them for decades.”

Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services. One more time for those in the back: no federal money goes to abortion services. None. Nil. Nada.

This new legislation instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Preventative care that saves lives, as Whedon’s video shows us. Preventative care that reduces the numbers of abortions in the first place. This is a simple concept many don’t seem to understand, which is baffling.

If the current “defunding” efforts on Planned Parenthood work and clinics are shut down as a result, the 2.5 million people who depend on the organization could actually become those people in the video.

One only needs look to Texas to see how “defunding” Planned Parenthood turned out for women there. Two years after the state put the barriers up, the network of health care providers fell apart and women lost access to essential preventative services, according to the Washington Post.

“Nearly 30,000 fewer women received birth control, cancer screenings, and other care as a result,” Cross says. Additionally, “there was also a 27 percent increase in births among women who lost access to injectable contraception.” Even more disturbingly is Texas’ maternal mortality rate, which has doubled since 2010, a statistic Cross explains was caused by “stringent funding cuts for women’s health care and ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood.”

Cross says that in Iowa, because of a new law signed by Governor Terry Branstad, four Planned Parenthood clinics are closing and will leave 14,600 patients without the health care they depend on.

It’s clear that women, families, and whole communities are worse off without Planned Parenthood just by looking at one state. Why would we want to do this nationally?

Which brings us to the end of Whedon’s video. One of the last images you see in “UNLOCKED” is the film asking viewers: What world do you want?

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