Let's talk about Planned Parenthood

Let's Talk About Planned Parenthood

Contrary to popular belief, the medical center does SO MUCH MORE than abortions. Here's what I know.


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.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Things Nobody Told Me About Depression, But I Really Wish Somebody Would Have

I was diagnosed with depression six months ago. These are some of the things that I wish I had known sooner.


There are a ton of things about having depression that no one will tell you. For example, something that no one ever told me about depression is that I have it.

I was diagnosed with depression in December of 2018 - just six months ago. But my therapist tells me that, based on what I've said about my mental state, I've likely had depression since elementary school, if not earlier.

The fact that I've had depression for so long and not know about it only goes to show how easy it is for one to live with mental health issues and never know it.

The fact that I apparently developed depression at such an early age only goes to show that mental health issues do not exclusively affect people only after they have lived and experienced all that life can throw at them.

The fact that I have had a pretty good life - a loving family, success in academics, never experiencing severe poverty - only goes to show that mental health issues are not always caused by shitty life experiences and traumas.

These are all things that no one ever told me about depression, and things that I never knew until I got to college and took a psychology class focused on mental health issues.

I did not know that depression can hide for years without you ever knowing about it.

I did not know that depression can manifest even in young children.

I did not know that depression can affect even those living happy lives.

These are things no one tells you about depression.

These are things that I had to learn by myself, and things that I am still learning how to compromise with the reality of my own life experience.

It's no one person's fault that I didn't know these things, it was the fault of a societal system that didn't know it needed to be concerned with such things. The early 2000s, when my young brain was developing and learning how to cope with the world, were not exactly focused on mental health in children. By the time people realized that children were suffering from depression and anxiety at earlier and earlier ages, I had already been living with my own issues for years, and I thought that my experiences and interpretations of the world around me was normal - that this was how everybody felt, that this was all normal. I didn't think that the symptoms that our counselors and teachers warned about at the beginning of each school year applied to me.

Nobody told me that depression isn't always sadness and crying.

Nobody told me that sometimes depression is a creeping grey numbness that clouds your brain. That sometimes it is a blurring and a muting of your emotions until you feel nothing at all. That such nothingness is worse than any level of sadness you would ever feel.

Nobody told me that depression isn't constant.

Nobody told me that I would have good days amid the bad ones. That every now and then, a day in a week or a day in a month or a day in a blue moon, I would have all of my emotions sharp and bright and my smiles would be as soft as they were genuine and I would relish the taste of the air around me. That these good days don't invalidate the bad days and mean that I don't have depression after all.

Nobody told me that once I was diagnosed with depression it would simultaneously feel like a weight had been lifted and like a punch to the gut all at once.

Nobody told me the relief that I would feel at the explanation and the knowledge that I might not always have to live like this. That I would also feel my understanding of my life flipped upside down, because if the way I have been experiencing the world is because of a disease, then what does that mean for the validity of my life and who I am?

Nobody told me that there would be a part of me that feared to get better, because who would I be without depression? Without this parasite that has somehow been such a constant throughout my life?

Nobody told me that I would begin to question which parts of my personality are "real" and which parts of me are the depression?

And if those two things can even be separate? And if so, will I ever be able to say I am better, if these parts of me developed through depression are still a part of me once I am "recovered"?

Nobody told me how scary that thought would be.

But what people have told me is that recovery is possible. They have told me that life gets better. That those good days that I used to find - unexpected yet welcome - could become my normal day. That I can be my own person, separate from my depression, and I can grow stronger, and happier, and more vibrant and more driven and MORE.

These are the things that people have told me, and these are the things that I remind myself of.

Nobody told me how lonely depression can be, but I hope that this article might make you feel a little less alone, and a little more prepared, and a little more understood.

I am not an expert. I still do not know everything, and my experience is my own, and in no way represents a majority or speaks on behalf of everyone out there suffering from depression. But I know now that I am not alone in my own experiences, and I hope that whoever is reading this, if you need it, maybe now you can know that you are not alone in yours.

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