President Donald Trump, his administration, and his entire party have aligned to declare political war on Planned Parenthood. In fact, on February 22nd of this year, Trump actually blocked federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other groups which provide abortion services in favor of faith-based clinics and anti-abortion groups. While this rule will probably not stand for long due to many contradictions between its contents and constitutionality, the stigma around Planned Parenthood specifically and it being known for abortions only is vastly far from the truth.
Planned Parenthood is an incredible organization that offers free or extremely affordable services to people who need them. Speaking as a college student, I have been to Planned Parenthood locations on multiple occasions. Not for abortions, but for routine health tasks. Usually, I don't pay a dime.
Let's start with some simple facts. First of all, NPR did a fun little fact check on the narratives floating around about Planned Parenthood. Before being defunded, Planned Parenthood actually was only about 40% funded by the government. Their actual budget is around $1.3 billion dollars which 60% comes from private funding or other resources. The federal funding only comes two sources. The first being Medicaid, and the second being Title X.
But where is this federal funding actually going? According to a quick break-down of services, STD/STI screening and treatment actually account for 42% of services. Free STD/STI screenings are provided across the country every day. The average sexually active person being checked every six months (as recommended by professionals, everyone should be getting checked around this often especially if you are not continually having sex with the same partner). Another 34% of services are contraception. This includes IUDs, birth control, and condoms, all of which are provided for either free or are extremely affordable.
The next 11% includes other women's services (NOT abortion). These services include pre and post-natal care (vitamins and check-ups) which are extremely important to the health of the fetus and of the mother. The next 9% is cancer screenings. Affordable cancer screenings for males and females. 1% is other services they offer from location to location. These services vary depending on what's needed and what there is funding for. The remaining 3% (you can even check my math, it's 3%) is abortions. Just 3%.
So, you may be asking yourself, if Planned Parenthood receives federal funding, then that 3% of Planned Parenthood that does abortions is federal funded, isn't it? The answer is NO. Title X actually does not allow for federal funding to go towards abortions in at all. That's right. GOVERNMENT FUNDING IS ALREADY NOT ALLOWED TO FUND ABORTIONS BY LAW. Defunding Planned Parenthood will not stop or defund the privately funded abortions. It will defund government-funded cancer screenings, pre and post-natal care, STD/STI screenings and treatments, shall I go on? Your tax dollars DO NOT pay for abortions already.
Let's go into something I am sure you have probably already heard. Defunding Planned Parenthood and fighting abortions will not stop abortions. It will stop SAFE and MEDICALLY PRACTICED abortions. Before abortions were offered women would go through extreme and dangerous lengths to have abortions. If you have seen American Horror Stories, you know what I am talking about. Women used to pay for black market abortions done in basements or homes, creating dangerous and potentially unsterile environments. These were the wealthy ones who could afford it. The unlucky ones, the ones in prison or in bad situations, would use things such as coat hangers and perform these abortions themselves. If this is what the country wants to return to, I do not see a bright future ahead.
Planned Parenthood and many other medical clinics like it offer so many necessary services. It's a shame that one service can outshine the health and wellbeing of those who rely on these affordable services to stay healthy and to have children.