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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

I Stand with Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood. The name evokes both fervent outrage and unyielding support. Yet it seems that indignation over the organization and its alleged dubious practices has drowned out supporter’s voices, especially in the political realm. The House of Representatives recently voted 241-187; the vote was reached in favor of cutting the approximately $500 million in federal funds the organization receives in one year. However, Republican anti-abortion advocates have high hopes of making the defunding permanent.
This firestorm of controversy first erupted after (heavily edited) videos were released by an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which captured what seemed to be an illegal for-profit transaction in which Planned Parenthood representatives sold fetal tissue to actors hired by the CMP posing as interested buyers from a fictional biotech company. This has spurred a heated national debate, with the Republican party even threatening to shut down the government if their goals are not met.
Who really wins in this fight, which seems motivated more by opinion and ideology than facts? Definitely not the millions of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for affordable reproductive healthcare. But neither, it seems, do the organization’s opponents. When you really look at it, the Republican crusade against Planned Parenthood is contradictory, and, quite frankly, a waste of time and resources.  Getting rid of an organization that is a leader in preventive care (which is to say, reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies) actually increases the amount of unintended pregnancies, and thus, the amount of potential abortions. Although the public has come to view Planned Parenthood as synonymous with abortion, in reality only 3% of their services are abortion related. Also, Planned Parenthood is not the only organization that provides abortion services, but simply the most well known and publicly funded.
So thousands of anti-choice enthusiasts are willing to lead this contentious attack upon an organization that provides basic and necessary healthcare to millions of women, namely those coming from low-income households, all because of a disagreement with 3% of their operations.
Approximately one in five women will use Planned Parenthood in their lifetime, and, as mentioned before, a large number of them will be from low-income households. This indicates yet another point of hardship for America’s poor which is to be exacerbated by the conservative political agenda.
During the September 18 congressional floor debate on the fate of Planned Parenthood, Democratic Representative Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts made a profound statement: “Eighty percent of the patients who this organization serves have incomes at or below the poverty line. Over half of Planned Parenthood centers are in regions with a shortage of healthcare professionals, or in a rural or underserved community. It is those communities and families––already underserved, already struggling to access care, already fighting to make ends meet––that my Republican colleagues turned their backs on today.”
The GOP’s firm intent to bring down an organization which largely serves a population that depends on the affordable services Planned Parenthood provides, demonstrates the fact that their priorities are not centered around the welfare of countless American lives, but rather on the success of their own debasing political agenda. With choice comes options and opportunity, two things that many whose lives would be affected most by the defunding of Planned Parenthood, are already lacking. When we strip an entire population of the basic right to reproductive healthcare, we are diminishing not only their agency as women, but their capacity to make the decisions that will determine the trajectory of their lives.
I, as not only a woman, but as a human being with inalienable rights, stand by Planned Parenthood and I hope you will too.