I woke up to breaking news this morning that Senate Republicans have voted to defund Planned Parenthood. More accurately, they voted to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and included in that bill was a a provision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood too. Worse they rejected two amendments to this bill that would have increased, or at least left alone the funding. They have wanted to get rid of Planned Parenthood for a long time and with this vote they knew what they were doing.
Except what they are doing is completely idiotic. For one, Planned Parenthood provides much more than just abortions, and two, defunding Planned Parenthood does nothing to stop abortions. Duh!
Attacking an organization that provides critical care for millions of Americans, and in fact provides high quality care. I for one strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work that it is doing. In my view instead of trying to defund Planned Parenthood, we should be expanding funding so that every woman in this country gets the healthcare that she needs. Mr. President it is also my sincere hope that people throughout this country including my colleagues here in the Senate and across the Capitol and the House understand that bitter vitriolic rhetoric can have serious unintended consequences. Now is not the time to continue a witch hunt for an organization that provides critical healthcare services.
– Bernie Sanders
Here’s a little story about me. When I was very young, I had a scare, a condom broke. I freaked out thinking that this is when my life was going to be ruined. I was going to get pregnant, I would have to quit school, and become a mom before I could even get a job that doing more than stocking shelves or flipping burgers. Lucky for me there was a Planned Parenthood right by my school.
I went there feeling ashamed and afraid. I remember the woman at the counter asking me what was wrong but I couldn’t speak. I remember her motioning for me to come to an exam room so I could have privacy and tell her what happened. I don’t remember much of the conversation but I remember I felt like she cared. I remember that I was given Plan-B and sent home with free birth control and condoms, and a better understanding of how to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. I remember that when I left I didn’t feel scared or ashamed.
I left knowing that if I needed anything else there was a place could go.
Many people are saying that defunding Planned Parenthood is okay because there are plenty of other clinics that women can be treated at but this reeks of bullshit. Not only is the information they are providing on what alternative clinics there are misleading (Most of these clinics don’t even have an OB-GYN on staff!) they fail to mention that a lot of community clinics do not even accept medicaid. Nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s patients are on Medicaid, where will they go?
What I really don’t understand though it why should women have to go anywhere else. You already have an organization committed to providing quality care without judgement so why move away from that?
Now to the meat of the problem with Planned Parenthood, abortions. I won’t get into the merits of either side of the pro-choice/pro-life debate but I will say I am pro-choice. The reasons this doesn’t matter to the debate about Planned Parenthood’s federal funding are:
- Abortions are legal in this country and defunding planned parenthood does not change that.
- Any federal funding Planned Parenthood receives is not actually used to provide abortions because the law already says they can’t do that!
- And abortions are not the primary service Planned Parenthood provides, not even close.
So logically, when you take away federal funding that is not being used for abortions what you are really doing is taking away funding for services like cancer screening and prevention and birth control. And when you say that women can just go somewhere else even though these clinics already provide excellent services and are set up accept medicaid you sound like this is a personal grudge, or a religious one, rather than for the benefit of women’s health care.
Not caring about women’s health is not pro-life.
I firmly believe that because of what Planned Parenthood did for me that day a later abortion was actually prevented. I may not have become pregnant that time with out without them but the education (and birth control) I got prevented me from getting pregnant after that. I don’t know if any other clinic would have provided that kind of care, and for free!
The president has threatened to veto this bill if/when it hits his desk and I sincerely hope he does. I see acts like this from the GOP as an attack on women’s healthcare choices. Planned Parenthood has helped countless women across the country, including me, and I will always stand with them.