In the past few weeks, news has come out that Congress wants to federally defund Planned Parenthood, and hearing this makes me really upset. Defunding Planned Parenthood would not only set women's rights back quite a few years, but it also basically says a group, a majority of whom are white men, can dictate what women do with their bodies and where.
This isn't the first time Congress has tried to defund the institution and states, such as Texas, Alabama and others, are passing their own bills to defund Planned Parenthood as well. Planned Parenthood offers abortion services, but they also provide a number of other services for women who may not have traditional access to them.
I'm going to start off with stating what Planned Parenthood does for people other than providing abortions. According to their website, they provide services and outreach programs that aim to prevent unwanted pregnancies. These services can include birth control and basic sex education that may not otherwise be available. They also offer more than 4.2 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections (STI), many of which are for HIV. With all of the services provided, only 3 percent comes from abortions which is a very small number. Finally they offer breast cancer screenings to help with early detection.
So why exactly would this be an issue? Well, the idea to defund Planned Parenthood comes from the fact that they provide abortion services and as stated above, only 3 percent of their services actually comes from abortions. So defunding Planned Parenthood for just this reason, would remove and healthcare institution that many women and young people rely on. Upwards of 4 million people use these services provided to them and getting rid of these places will only limit access to healthcare for many of these people.
After doing a bit of research I found that the reality is that legally Planned Parenthood cannot use federal funds for abortion services. In 1976, the Hyde Amendment was passed which states, "...the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape." Basically this means that Medicaid and other federal healthcare funds cannot be used for abortions. Because of this amendment, women who want to get an abortion at Planned Parenthood has to pay for it out of their own pocket. So, this is why I am mad that our Congress is considering to defund Planned Parenthood because all it would do is take away access from more than 4 million people.
You may not agree with abortions and I get that, because everyone can have their own opinions and beliefs, but defunding this healthcare provider will just end up doing more harm. People rely on these services and taking them away takes away the basic human right to choose.