The Defunding of Planned Parenthood

The defunding of Planned Parenthood is an issue that has taken political twists among those in support of this action versus those who are opposed to the shutting down of the health organization (Aikena and Scott). Needless to say, most of the people in the general public are opposed to the existence of the healthcare entity in the belief that it provides abortion services only. This is a huge misconception and it is the main reason that makes the debate on whether to continue the funding of the organization or not so emotive.

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Americans get torn in the middle with the conservative side vehemently opposed to abortion and hence, Planned Parenthood; and the other side in strong support of the practice and be extension, Planned Parenthood.

The most vocal proponents of shutting down the operations of Planned Parenthood through freezing the flow of funds to the organization keep stating that its main health activity is abortion. This is the highest form of ignorance because Planned Parenthood offers a myriad of maternal health, reproductive, and sexual services besides abortion. Only a few of the people who visit the Planned Parenthood facilities receive abortion services. The facilities run by the organization offer essential services like the screening of common STIs and treatment options to manage such situations. Protective sex is encouraged, sexual and reproductive education is offered, morning after pills are also available, and young families are also counseled on the need to plan their families.

It would be gross unfairness to defund an entire healthcare organization together with its operations due to the few abortions that constitute a small part of its activities.
The debate surrounding Planned Parenthood surrounds the funding that goes to the organization and the abortion activities that the public perceives is its main health practice (Brandhorst and Jennings). This is a misleading position because abortion is just a part of the numerous health services that the company offers. It is also a misrepresentation of the facts because the federal funding that comes from the government does not go towards supporting abortion activities. The skeptics among the public should be informed of the Hyde Amendment. This is a legislation that guaranteed that no single federal dollar would be spent on the procurement of abortion. This is a legislation that has been in existence since 1976 and it would serve to sensitize the public that their tax money is being utilized in other reproductive health services. The thought that the government money funds abortion services is inaccurate.

Those hell-bent on ensuring that the Planned Parenthood organization should be crippled through the taking away of their funds also believe in the criminalization of abortion. This is a plan that is doomed to fail because making abortion illegal will only increase the rates of abortion. Telling Americans that they are not legally allowed to procure an abortion does not hinder them from having one if they have compelling circumstances to do so. The only change that accompanies the criminalization of abortion is increase in the rates of unsafe abortion procedures. Backstreet health facilities and quack doctors will have a filled day conducting illegal abortions that will only endanger the lives of the young mothers seeking abortion services. The number of deaths during abortion procedures will also shoot up drastically to rates that could have been avoided had the practice been allowed and conducted safely.

The section of the public opposed to Planned Parenthood due to their pro-life sentiments conveniently forget that the organization offers other essential services to both the male and female genders. The organization does not just offer its services to then seeking sexual health and advice services in its waiting rooms, but also five million other people who flood their gates for different services. There are almost half a million breast cancer examinations and a similar number of Pap smear tests conducted at Planned Parenthood every year. The number of STI tests and HIV tests together with related treatment runs into four million in every year. Birth control and contraception services are offered to over one million people with almost 500,000 unplanned services avoided. The immense help extended to both men and women in matters to do with reproductive and sexual health is another reason why the Planned Parenthood should keep getting funded (Brandhorst and Jennings).

The government’s tolerance to abortion services offered by Planned Parenthood is a good move because studies show that countries that have legalized abortion experience fewer and fewer cases of the health practice. A case in point can be found in South Africa where the country legalized abortion in 1996. Ever since, the country has been witnessing a 90% drop rate in the cases of abortion procurement carried out in the hospitals. The outlawing of abortion services in a country goes hand in hand with the denial to access of other reproductive and sexual health services like birth control, contraception, and advice. Suppressed reproductive health rights and lack of proper care will be characterized by the lack of sex awareness and education on other family planning matters. All these arguments prove that it is better to have a safe and legal environment for abortion services rather than the opposite.

The other weighty point lies in the widespread fallacy that Planned Parenthood is involved in the selling of body parts. This could not be further from the truth because the organization does not involve itself in selling body parts of babies. What the entity does is the genetic modification of fetal stem cell tissue that has a wide range of application in laboratory research services (Handel). Parkinson’s disease, cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s and other genetically related conditions are the biggest beneficiaries of the stem cell research carried out using fetal tissue. These are also provided by other hospitals and clinics and are not limited to Planned Parenthood facilities only. It is with a malicious intent that a few people would motivate others through false statements to fulfill their personal agenda (Handel). The reality remains that Planned Parenthood is a healthcare entity that does more good than evil.

This essay provides rebuttal arguments that dismantle the wave of opinion that Planned Parenthood should be defunded. The popular opinion held by many that the healthcare organization exists to provide abortion services only is misleading because there are different other reproductive and sexual health services offered by the facilities. It is also wrong to mislead people that the federal funds channeled towards the healthcare entity are used in procuring abortions yet there is a legislation that governs against that. The pro-life and pro-choice supporters should find a common ground on the divisive issue of abortion instead of always using it to derail the operations of the Planned Parenthood (Aikena and Scott).

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