Planned Parenthood is many things to many people. For women-all women it's a place where they can receive free emergency contraception, free condoms, cancer screenings, and more. Abortion is only 3% of the services that Planned Parenthood provides and yet the organization that helps millions of people is demonized because a large group of Americans don't take kindly to women having bodily autonomy. If you ask "pro-life" identifiers though, that isn't the case. To those who consider themselves pro-life, Planned Parenthood isn't about helping men and women and educating teens about STDs, and their birth control options. To those who applaud themselves for being the saviors of babies, Planned Parenthood is about murdering children before they've had a chance at life. Which, if that narrative was the truth would be the noble endeavor they claim it is.
However, the pro-life perception is not the truth when it comes to Planned Parenthood or abortion. The fight to defund the organization is based solely on the fact that abortion services are performed. Ivanka Trump said herself that Planned Parenthood would receive funding if abortion services ended, to which the VP of Planned Parenthood helpfully pointed out-as did many Americans and Elizabeth Warren- that the government has never funded abortion through Planned Parenthood. Our majority Republican administration thinks that this is a compromise, or rather, that it's reasonable. To someone who claims to think that abortion is about murdering babies that would seem more than reasonable, but to those of us who know that murder of any sort has nothing to do with the battle to protect reproductive rights, the idea that Planned Parenthood should only receive government funding if abortions are out of the picture is quite frankly, a slap in the face. I may also add that this is another point that shows that Ivanka Trump is not a champion for women's rights-even though she seems to think so. Her voice is not intersectional or progressive and not one that women can count on.
Of course, the administration or any Republican leader wouldn't stop at defunding Planned Parenthood. The goal as any citizen with an internet connection, ears, or a brain can tell is simple enough to put into a bulleted list.
-Defund Planned Parenthood.
-Appoint a loyal conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice who would aid in ending the right to privacy guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.
In fact a bulleted list might not be necessary, since the end goal is even simpler than that. The path to ending abortion is hidden under veils of moral superiority and religion, when in fact it should all be chalked up to misogyny. Dangerous laws have already been put in place in this country sparking the need for handmaids in courtrooms, and forcing rape survivors to notify their attacker if they want an abortion. The latter is a law that exists in Arkansas and is one of the many examples where rapists have more of a right to a woman's body than she does. In many states rapists legally have custody over children that were conceived without consent, and in some cases victims even have to co-parent with their rapist.
I wish that we didn't live in a nation where rapists' rights take precedence over reproductive rights, but sadly legally that seems to be the case. How can women feel safe and represented in majority Republican states if this is how they're treated? Moreover, how can so many women be on board with defunding planned parenthood and supporting leaders who would force mothers who miscarried or those who have had abortions to bury the baby?
A variety of reasons are behind the widespread female support of policies against women. Financial and racial privilege for one thing, for another, internalized misogyny. Women who don't practice intersectional feminism often can't see past the comfort zone of religion, personal politics, race, and class. Planned Parenthood means something to me because I value women and men having access to sexual and reproductive health services. It's important to me and many other women because we pay $50 for Plan B in a store, when we could get it for free at our local clinic. But what happens if there is no clinic? Do members of the "pro-life movement" ponder how closed off a young woman would feel in a city without a Planned Parenthood clinic? Where there is nowhere that simply wants to help and educate. Where they don't have to be scared of their sexuality and they'll be taken care of and taken seriously. I suppose pro-lifers wouldn't pay much mind to the humanity behind women, now would they? If you can't afford the copay for a gynecologist or a general practitioner, and there's no clinic where do you go? Many Republicans seem to think driving miles to get an abortion performed is somehow equal to access. It isn't.
Today, 4 clinics were shut down in Iowa cutting off services for 14,600 patients. Planned Parenthood serves 2.4 million patients nationwide, but clinics are being shut down in droves across the country. How can they expect us to see this for anything other than what it is? How am I or any other woman supposed to perceive the attempts to bring us back to the days of wire coat hanger D.I.Y. operations as anything other than a selfish attack? Pro-life individuals claim that they are the champions for unborn life, but what about the real life of the woman? The one who is already a productive member of society, in comparison to the fetus inside of her that has the potential to be a baby, with the potential to be a child, with the potential to grow into an adult, who would potentially contribute in a way that may or may not be greater than the contribution the woman is already making. Now to me, that's a lot to stake on potential, but that's exactly what the pro-life movement seems to be about.
I wish my city's clinic hadn't shut down last year. I wish we weren't still having to fight for the rights that our male counterparts would've granted themselves in an instant, had they possessed baby growing abilities themselves. I wish that we had a constitutional right to an abortion instead of merely an agreed upon right to privacy. A woman shouldn't have to explain her "controversial" past decision to have an abortion by stating that her medical history is only between her and her doctor. Should it not be obvious that it's no one else's business? No, my friends, the right to reproductive health is not recognized. We've had to fight for so long simply to have agency in American society. We're still fighting to remind our fellow men and women that the fight isn't over and it's not only a domestic one. Always speak out. Protest. Make noise. Donate. Do whatever you can until our voices are heard and we are viewed as deserving of bodily autonomy.