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What it means to defund Planned Parenthood

On  January 27, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the March for Life.  March for life is a pro-life march that took place a week after the Women’s March.

Pence was the first Vice President to ever attend the march, showing the importance of the march to the current administration. Pence said, “More than 240 years ago, our founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages. They declared these truths to be self-evident that we are, all of us, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.44 years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals.”

Right there he is speaking about Roe V. Wade,  a decision to legalize abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. 

He then goes on to declare that he will work with congress to end taxpayer funding to abortion providers. What he means here is an attack on Planned Parenthood.  Many people think that the federal funding goes towards abortion services, but this is not true. 

A policy called the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal dollars from flowing to abortion services, so what the government’s money goes towards is actually birth control, STD tests, cancer screenings, prostate and testicular cancer screenings, and sex education. The Republican party has constantly been fighting against reproductive justice and women’s health care.

It is is a huge problem if  Roe V. Wade gets overturned and if organizations like Planned Parenthood becomes defunded because, access to safe and legal abortion will be threatened throughout the country. It would also take basic health care away from low income women and men, who are the people who need it most.

There are arguments that the estimated 1,200 community health centers that use federal money can accommodate Planned Parenthood’s 2.7 million annual patients.This is false. These organizations would struggle to meet millions of patients’ needs for cancer screenings and contraception. Defunding Planned Parenthood will leave many men and women without a health care provider. Defunding this program, means retracting all of the efforts our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers made. But now, it is looking like my peers and generations after will have more constrictions when it comes to our bodies.

This just seems like a flash back to 1873 and the Comstock Law, which prohibited contraception and the circulation of literature on birth control and abortion.

This is 2017, not the 1950’s and certainly not the 1870’s; this idea of being against women’s reproductive rights is backwards. There shouldn’t be such a stigma of women controlling their bodies. It shouldn’t be so taboo that women have a sexuality and can think and make choices. What most people don’t realize is that only three percent, THREE PERCENT,  of all Planned Parenthood services are abortion services, the rest being cancer screening`s for both men and women,  and sex education. And let me tell you, sex education is extremely important, because abstinence programs just don’t work.

It’s not like there is a sudden shift where women and men no longer want abortion,contraception, or sex education. The latest national poll by the Pew Research Center, finds that 60% of 1,502 adults say that any budget deal must maintain funding for Planned Parenthood. Also, according to the Pew Research Center, “About six-in-ten U.S. adults (59%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases,” and “When it comes to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling, about seven-in-ten Americans (69%) say Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned.” That is the majority of Americans, but I’m actually surprised these numbers aren’t larger.

Why are we doing this? Why are we letting our politicians jeopardize our citizen’s health?

Do you take your representative with you to the doctors? Do you consult your representative when the condom breaks? No, you don’t because that would be absolutely ridiculous. So why are we letting Congress act like our physicians, last time I checked they don’t have an M.D. We shouldn’t be entertaining the idea of defunding Planned Parenthood.

Towards the end of his speech, Mike Pence says, “And life is winning … The truth is being told. Compassion is overcoming convenience.”

Compassion is overcoming convenience? A terrible phrase.  As if it is convenient to get an abortion.  Getting an abortion is not like walking over to a bodega during your lunch break. It’s a decision women have to make, which could cost up to $700. What I am saying is that there is nothing convenient about an abortion. If a woman feels like she needs or wants an abortion, then she should have the availability to do so.

“We need to recognize this fight for what it is- it’s about banning a woman’s right to choose and it is being driven by politicians, most of whom, are men who think they have the right to dictate to women about their most private health care decision,” said representative Carolyn Maloney.

This relationship us women have with Congress will not get better by keeping quiet. We need to be proactive in this discussion, and fight back. We need to have a serious heart to heart with our representatives and tell them, again , not to defund Planned Parenthood. We need to tell them that in order to have a healthy,trusting relationship, Congress needs to respect our bodies and choices. 

Moving forward, we need to educate men on women’s healthcare, because we don’t need any more shootings in women’s health care facilities- it should be a place for treatment not a place where you may get shot.  We need to make birth control and other forms of contraception  accessible to all Americans. With that, we will have a safer America.

It seems that the only thing people know about is how to have sex, not what comes after or how women protect themselves, so let’s start a conversation.  And to be honest, there is nothing more sexy than someone who understands and supports women’s reproductive rights.

About Beatrice Genco

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