Planned Parenthood, a women’s sexual healthcare provider for decades, finds itself at the front-line of the women’s movement.
Planned Parenthood is one of the leading reproductive and sexual healthcare providers in the nation, with more than 10 million activists, supporters and donors nationwide (2). The mission of the organization is to protect fundamental rights of all people throughout the world allowing each individual to manage their own fertility without a focus on race, income, sexual orientation, age nationality, origin or residence ( 2). There is a need to protect the right to privacy and to enforce the lack of governmental interference into decision regarding one’s fertility (2).
As one of the leading healthcare providers, Planned Parenthood’s service to the community must be preserved as they provide in one year, 650,000 HIV tests, 4.2 million STD tests, 270,000 pap smears, and 360,000 breast exams which are vital for preventative services (2). 1 in 5 women have accessed Planned Parenthood’s services at least once in their lifetime ( 2). They serve 5 million people nationwide in one year ( 2). Planned Parenthood provided services ensuring 80% of unwanted pregnancies don’t happen ( 2). Although Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider, only 3 % of their actual services are attributed to performing abortions ( 2).
In 2016, Planned Parenthood marked 100 years in service to communities ( 2). Why would such an established service now be in jeopardy? Hidden agendas. The use of terms such as the Affordable Care Act and the slighted attempt to defund this organization is a national issue for women across the country to worry about and should be take very seriously. It is the very means for the nation to take a step back and pay attention to what is really going on.
Planned Parenthood contributes 650 healthcare facilities to the community (2). They provide preventative primary care, prevent unintended pregnancies, provide contraception, decrease the spread of STD infections, and screen for cervical and other forms of cancer ( 2). Planned Parenthood understands women’s needs and there motto is women should have “the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams , with no ceilings and no limits” (2).
In Western NY, Betty Defazio, Executive Director of the Action Fund at Planned Parenthood indicates Planned Parenthood here in Rochester/Western NY region services an 18 county region with 10 health centers, one mobile unit serving approximately 31,000 women, men and teens. What is alarming of the recent proposed cuts or defunding of Planned Parenthood initiatives is that for the first time since 1975, the number of abortions in the US dropped below 1 million in 2013/2014, according to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute (1). According to the report, the use of varying birth control methods and family planning are largely responsible for the decline (1).
If these preventative and educational methods to reduce the number of abortions is working, people are obtaining medical services and a service is being given to vulnerable populations including our youth why is there a movement to defund Planned Parenthood by the US government?
Transgender clients receive care in the Ithaca Planned Parenthood where they receive their hormone therapy. If the services become no longer available transgender people will be forced to drive hours to places like Manhattan to receive care (3). Planned Parenthood clinics are one of the largest sources in the US of transgender healthcare (3). “They offer hormone replacement therapy, medication to make a person’s body appear more masculine or feminine, and a growing share of its staff are trained to perform routine sexual health exams for trans patients”(3).
In addition to the women and the transgender client, people with limited income seek care at Planned Parenthood because of the sliding scale cost of services which is provided from government subsidy. With Congress now attempting to defund Planned Parenthood because of its role as an abortion provider, those services could easily be terminated. Each year, Planned Parenthood is reimbursed hundreds of millions of dollars for services it provides at little or no cost to low-income Americans. If Congress freezes Planned Parenthood out of funding, it could force an unknown number of care centers to close. Health providers have long warned that this would have a detrimental impact on women’s health but also teens, transgender, low income people etc.
We need to stay informed regarding all of the Trump administration’s proposed policies. This is becoming an era of all human rights are under attack. If you are not a privileged white male your rights are subject to violation. As women, our healthcare needs must be available at a doctor of our choosing. An organization which has fought to allow us the right to have access to birth control and abortion should be supported. It is our right to have access to an abortion if we choose to have one. It is our right to have affordable healthcare in close proximity to our home. It is our right to not experience discrimination when seeking care. Now is the time to stand up. Don’t sit back and watch the very fundamental rights we enjoy be taken away. Get up and fight!!!
(1) Jones, R., and Jerman, J. (2017). Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States; Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Guttmacher Institute, Retrieved February 26, 2017, from www.guttmacher.org
(2)Planned Parenthood ( 2017). Retrieved February 26,
2017 from www.plannedparenthood.org
(3) Redden, Molly, Guardian News (2017). How defunding Planned Parenthood Could Wipe Out Transgender Healthcare.