Friday, February 18, 2011
Before you make any assumptions, I have never had an abortion, and cannot forsee any circumstance that would cause me to choose an abortion. For a long time, I described myself as pro-life, because I fell for the lie that to mean pro choice must = being pro-abortion, but more about that in another post.
For now, lets get back to the facts about Planned Parenthood. For starters, they are not allowed to use any federal funds for abortions or abortion advocacy. That has been the law since the Bush administration. But, you say, Planned Parenthood is a pro-abortion group, so any support for them means supporting abortion. In reality, only about 3% of Planned Parenthood's activities involve abortion, and they have already been barred from using tax money for abortion-related activities.
So what does Planned Parenthood do with all that federal funding? They provide health care for people who cannot afford it otherwise - that growing segment of the population who work and cannot qualify or choose not to accept for government assistance, but also cannot afford private insurance. They provide reproductive and sexual health care for about 5 million men, women, and children each year, including prenatal care for pregnant women. They provide health exams for about 3 million people each year. They screen for cancer, doing over a million pap smears and 830,000 mammograms yearly. They test for and treat STDs, including HIV and AIDS, to help prevent their spread.
All sorts of people benefit from Planned Parenthood. It's not only the single, the promiscuous, the "others"', but it could be you or a woman in your own family. One woman I know of who uses Planned Parenthood is the daughter of a Conservative, Christian, Quiverfull mother of 6 - the family cannot afford private insurance, so Planned Parenthood provides the medication that makes life during her period bearable - before, she was having such excruciating pain she'd spend hours each month curled up and sobbing on the floor. I know of another woman who used Planned Parenthood for prenatal care, prior to the birth of a healthy baby girl. A woman I know from an online message board literally owes them her life - when her Christian health care sharing fund refused to pay for diagnostic testing, she went to Planned Parenthood for a mammogram, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in time to go through treatment and survive.
I have heard people say that they basically don't care about these women, because their needs do not fit the current Conservative/pro-life agenda, and I wonder why they are so unconcerned and callous toward those who have already been born. Until some of these groups opposing Planned Parenthood actually step up to the plate and help fill the gap, they have no right trying to defund or shut them down. I guess it's preferable to have more "welfare babies", more STDS being spread, and more babies born with health problems or miscarried because the mom couldn't afford prenatal care than to have such things funded by a group one disagrees with, but then again a rise in all of the above will give the supporters of this bill something to base their campaign ads on in the future.
I wouldn't have as much of a problem with this if some of the pro-life backed "crisis pregnancy centers' would step up to the gap here and help provide health services, or at least real prenatal care, but that's not going to happen. This is the kind of stuff that gives people ammo against the pro-life movement - it comes across as willing to throw the woman under the bus to supposedly protect the unborn, yet fails again to actually help pregnant women or to cut down on factors contributing to abortions before it gets to that point.
For now, I will be signing the petition to Stand With Planned Parenthood
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