I have been so mad lately. Not because of the shitshow that is the Trump campaign, not because everyone is prancing around talking about fall when it’s still 90 degrees in Texas, and not because my college football team is 2-2 (for Rice, that’s actually pretty good). No, I am mad, nay, furious, because there has been a lot of talk about an organization that did me a huge solid back in the day, by people who have probably never even used this organization’s services. I’m talking, of course, about Planned Parenthood.
One in five women will use Planned Parenthood’s services at some point in their life, and I was one of them. I used Planned Parenthood’s website as a teenager to get accurate information about sexual health, and I’ve used Planned Parenthood clinics to get well-woman exams when I was making no money. In every encounter I’ve had with Planned Parenthood, they treated me with the utmost kindness and respect. When I started crying during my exam because I was so stressed out, the nurse held my hand, reassured me, and handed me tissues, which to be completely honest is more human behavior than I’ve ever received from a doctor’s office.
So when you talk shit about Planned Parenthood, I take it personally.
My biggest problem is so much of the uproar about Planned Parenthood is unfounded. I am here to clear up a few misconceptions. Check the facts:
There are videos from the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue (or baby parts if you want to be inflammatory) for a profit.
No. No. NO. First of all, the videos were heavily edited. Second, she literally says, in the first video, “nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here.” Third, state investigations conducted on Planned Parenthood due to the videos turned up no wrongdoing. Fourth, The Center for Medical Progress, which released the videos, is actually being sued.
Also, how can you possibly think $30-$100 per specimen would be a revenue making machine for Planned Parenthood? (Especially since it’s only a handful of clinics!) Sherilyn J. Sawyer, the director of Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s “biorepository,” noted that number probably constitutes a loss. Would you rather the donated tissue just end up in the medical waste bin, rather than be used for scientific good? Medical science is gross but necessary, and donated cadavers, from all stages of life, play a huge part in research.
The sad thing is, the fact that the videos have been proven to be full of misinformation isn’t even the point anymore—it’s turned into a baseless witch-hunt against Planned Parenthood. As The Conversation points out, these (heavily edited) videos pop up about every six months, and “The organization will live on. Some women may not.”
Cutting federal funding would mean Planned Parenthood couldn’t use government money for abortions.
OK, this part is partially true, but only because Planned Parenthood already can’t use federal funds for abortion, thanks to the Hyde Amendment of 1976, except “in cases of rape or incest, as well as when a pregnant woman’s life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.” Politifact double checked this, and found no evidence that Planned Parenthood violated the Hyde Amendment.
Most of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions.
I would hope that at this point in the debate, everyone would be able to chime in that abortion services only constitute 3% of what Planned Parenthood provides. Not every clinic even provides abortions! If you want a full list of the 10 million services their 2.7 million individual patients received, it’s here. Note that most of what they provide is STI testing, contraception, and cancer screening.
If Planned Parenthood is defunded, the money will go to regional organizations, so there will be no break in services.
Do you know who your regional organization is? Do you even know how to find that information? Do you know what Planned Parenthood is, and do you know how to find their services? Sorry, but name recognition means a lot here. Plus, fewer providers means those that remain will be overloaded (in some instances, caseload would increase two to five times). You can also look at Scott County, Indiana, which is having an HIV outbreak after defunding non-abortion-providing Planned Parenthood clinics (the only place that provided testing services in the area). This Mother Jones piece examines the full effects of defunding Planned Parenthood, and Vox further shows women can’t just “go somewhere else”—“when there are fewer reproductive health clinics available, women get less reproductive health care.”
I don’t want to use my tax dollars to fund someone else’s lifestyle choice!
I’ve actually heard this argument a few times and it’s very confusing to me. The lifestyle choice of…being poor? Of trying to take care of your sexual health? Does this mean we also shouldn’t use federal funds to provide healthcare to smokers or people who don’t exercise enough because it was their “lifestyle choice?”
Planned Parenthood is in grave danger of being defunded!
Well, yes and no. The House of Representatives approved a government funding bill which included a clause to defund Planned Parenthood, though it was pretty much never expected to pass. Indeed, the Senate said “nu-uh” (it needed 60 votes and got 47), and President Obama guaranteed a veto anyway. However, the House does plan on forming investigation committees (hopefully slightly more fair than the last ones, which didn’t include Planned Parenthood) and possibly a reconciliation bill to defund Planned Parenthood.
Defunding also leads to issues with Medicaid law, which patients the right to choose their own healthcare provider. For the record, 52% of Americans support Planned Parenthood receiving federal funding.
I seriously wonder how many of the opponents have ever been inside a clinic and seen what it’s like. Is it paradise? Not in any way! There are full waiting rooms full of crying babies and long wait times. But that’s just it: People need these services. They know that at Planned Parenthood, they will receive quality treatment and be able to discuss all options for their care with someone who will be honest with them.
I get why people hate abortion, I really do. Nobody wants to have an abortion. But don’t fuck with the organization that does more for preventing unwanted pregnancy than any politician.
For more truth-telling about Planned Parenthood, check out these articles:
The 5 biggest lies you’ve been told about Planned Parenthood – The Daily Dot
8 Things The GOP Debate Got Wrong About Abortion And Planned Parenthood – Huffington Post
6 Totally False Facts About Planned Parenthood The GOP Will Claim Are True In The Second Debate – Bustle (by our very own Hope Racine!)