What Defunding Planned Parenthood Means To Me
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What Defunding Planned Parenthood Means To Me

The terrifying reality of women's healthcare in 2017

What Defunding Planned Parenthood Means To Me
AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Deborah Cannon

Yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act will also attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

It is 2017, and that is a real, terrifying sentence that I just wrote.

This legislation will affect an innumerable amount of people. Forget the financial burden 7 million senior citizens and disabled Americans enrolled in Medicare would have to shoulder, the 2.3 million Americans ages 19 to 25 insured under their parents’ plans who may be left without access to healthcare services, the 10.4 million low- and moderate-income Americans who were able to buy policies for less than 10% of their income, the 65 million low-income Americans covered under Medicaid.

Try to forget all of that, and now remember this: 2.5 million women and men in the United States visit Planned Parenthood annually. Beyond that, an estimated one in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.

In announcing plans to nationally defund Planned Parenthood, Ryan and the GOP are blatantly disregarding women’s right to health care – a woman’s right to life.

Planned Parenthood receives about $500 million per year in funding from the federal government. It’s a common misconception that the majority of this money goes towards abortion services, when in fact only three percent of all Planned Parenthoods provide abortion services.

So where does all of the money go, then?

It goes to more than 270,000 Pap tests and 360,000 breast exams annually. It goes to over 4.2 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections – including more than 650,000 in H.I.V. tests (let us not forget the H.I.V. outbreak that ensued after Vice President-elect Mike Pence defunded Planned Parenthood in Indiana in 2011 – 181 cases from November 2014 to August 2015 in Scott County alone). In short, it goes towards providing women with vital healthcare services that they may not have access to otherwise.

This is an issue that is incredibly personal to me. Breast cancer runs in my family. Luckily, I am aware of this fact and fortunate enough to have access to the proper healthcare services for regular tests and, if needed, treatment.

So, although this legislation is heavily steeped in the ongoing abortion and Obamacare debate, it signifies more than just women’s loss of choice or Americans’ loss of healthcare. It signifies the government’s ability to stamp a price tag on a life. To deny women equal accessibility to cancer screenings is to deny many women – one in eight, to be exact – their right to life.

Defunding Planned Parenthood to me, then, means prioritizing my life over one of another woman who may not be afforded the access to healthcare services that I am. Every woman, no matter her socioeconomic status, should have an equal chance at the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Every woman should have an equal chance at keeping her life.

It is 2017, and that is a real, terrifying sentence that I just wrote.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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