“Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” said Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. This news should surprise no one, as Trump had already declared last September that he would defund Planned Parenthood. It cannot be said that Planned Parenthood doesn’t do some good. However, the question that came to my mind, and the minds of many others, is whether the pros outweigh the cons.
On one hand, Planned Parenthood provides a lot of beneficial services.They screen and test for a multitude of things including anemia, diabetes, tetanus, high blood pressure, and cancer. The organization offers a range of knowledge about pregnancy, sexual health, STDs, and body image as well. It provides sexual and reproductive services as well, encompassing many needs of women.
More controversial is its support and discussion of sexual orientation and gender. However, that pales in comparison to the issue of abortion. The organization averages about 320,000 abortions per year (a number that has been exceeded the last multiple years). Time and time again, Planned Parenthood has stated “three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.”
This number, however, is both true and misleading. If you take the number of abortions and divide it by the number of patients of 2015 (327,653/2.7 million patients), you get 12% of patients get an abortion. Planned Parenthood has decided that the number is a bit too ugly, so they instead divided the number of abortions by the number of services (treating all of them equally, from abortions to pregnancy tests), landing on their token “3%.” If a woman goes in for multiple services (pregnancy test, abortion, STI test, etc), which is usual for patients, it diminishes the importance of abortions in the statistics despite it being the main reason for her visit. The stats are even more disheartening when you compare the number of adoption referrals to abortions. They referred only 1,880 people in 2015. Formulating a ratio yields a whopping 174 abortions per 1 referral.
Not only that, but Planned Parenthood funding is illegal. Abortion itself is a completely legal procedure. However, the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger, if she was raped, or if it was a product of incest. Somehow, I doubt that 327,653 women went to Planned Parenthood under these circumstances.
I have no issue admitting my own view on the subject, and I’m sure you’ve concluded what it is. I do not support abortion. I believe that at the moment of conception, the child should be protected. Ending the life of the child before it has an opportunity to do good in the world is monstrous and, pardon my patriotism, un-American. Equal opportunity has been the basis of our nation (although it certainly has not been all-inclusive). Preventing a helpless, unborn child from opportunity is just as bad, if not worse, than racial and sexual inequality. Even if you don’t believe that a fetus is “alive,” the chain of reactions that can create a human being has begun. The living being is its own, forming organs and moving independently from its mothers will. While it relies completely on its mother for nutrients and protection, it is merely attached to the mother, not a part of her. It has its own future, its own organs, its own self. No one but a higher power should be able to decide whether this innocent thing lives or dies.
My opinions aside, Planned Parenthood is not legally allowed to receive federal funds unless it ceases its abortions. Last May, President-Elect Trump stated, “We are not going to fund (it) as long as you have the abortions going on at Planned Parenthood.” This is actually an enforcement of the existing Hyde Amendment, not some “anti-women” agenda. On a more personal note, I believe that Planned Parenthood needs to start being more transparent in its statistics if it is to be an unambiguous organization.