Planned Parenthood deserves continued funding

In the last few months, social media feeds across the country have been plagued with countless posts and opinions about Planned Parenthood. The debate is so strong that even presidential hopefuls have found ways to gain backing in their respective parties by strongly voicing their opinions on Planned Parenthood.

I’ve started the routine of giving an occasional eye-roll and scrolling to the next page or article on Facebook.

However, after seeing one too many posts attacking women’s rights, it just doesn’t seem right to remain silent. Women should be speaking up more than ever, voicing their opinions on their bodies and fundamental rights that so many have fought for.

Back in September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood, on the basis that the organization was illegally selling fetal tissue. While the defunding was quickly unapproved by the U.S. Senate, it still shows that there needs to be a voice of reason in all of this chaos.

Of the 435 members in the House of Representatives, only 79 of them are women.

Of the 20 Republican and Democratic hopefuls racing for the White House in 2016, only two are women. Only one of those two women — Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton — is accepting of Planned Parenthood and the full range of services the nonprofit provides. As we near the end of 2015, it’s concerning how there are still more men, holding a political agenda, than women making the important decisions pertaining to women’s bodies.

What about those whose voices are drowned out by the political nonsense that is the 21st century?

There are millions of women who are in need of women’s health services on a daily basis. It’s these women that help make up the fibers of America, and are crucial to the advancement of the next generations to come.

Currently American women do have some advantages, as Planned Parenthood is able to provide the most rudimentary services at a low cost. Even teens, whose high school level health class has failed them, find solace in the judgment-free Planned Parenthood.

If these services are taken away, or defunded, the right to health care will be instantly diminished for many who are unable to visit other resources for any array of reasons.

It is not an obscure fact that women have been fighting for their rights for the last several decades. In the past century, women have pioneered a revolution to take back their own bodies from government repression.

Years later, there is still the daily battle that women fight to keep these rights protected and legal. There needs to be a basis for women’s health care, and that’s what Planned Parenthood is providing.

Most people when thinking of Planned Parenthood compartmentalize the organization into something either extremely positive or extremely negative. Some are unable to focus on the many other issues that are cared for, holding a negative stigma against the services. Some come from families where Planned Parenthood is the worst thing; others have Planned Parenthood as the only option available.

It seems, though, that more and more young people are gaining their own opinions. There’s a growing momentum to redefine society, bringing with it more educated, positive views of Planned Parenthood.

Even now it’s entirely acceptable to support Planned Parenthood, yet personally choose to never have an abortion. As long as there is a focus on the care, treatment and education of women, Planned Parenthood should be supported.

According to the Planned Parenthood website, there are 2.7 women and men, yearly, in the United States who use Planned Parenthood services. The bulk of the women, about 80 percent, use their services to prevent unplanned pregnancies, in forms such as birth control or emergency contraception.

There are also thousands of women who use Planned Parenthood to focus on other areas of women’s health. Planned Parenthood provides an average of 4.5 million STD screenings and treatments on a yearly basis, men included. There are 400,000 women who visit for cervical health screenings, and about 500,000 who need breast exams.

Where are these people expected to go if government funding ceases and they do not have access to expensive health care?

There are 2.7 million people who are in need and actually seeking out the cost-friendly services provided to them by Planned Parenthood.

Government officials and citizens fighting Planned Parenthood are upset by the abortions being performed. It’s not a battle of legality, as Planned Parenthood is doing nothing illegal, it’s a war on their personal opinions being challenged.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, Planned Parenthood announced that it will stop accepting reimbursements for transporting fetal tissue to researchers, as a way to compromise with anti-abortion activists. By giving up the reimbursement, Planned Parenthood is also cutting any ties with what some believe is “illegal” activity.

Only 3 percent of the services provided at Planned Parenthood are actually abortion related.

By having a solid base of sexual education, providing birth control and emergency contraception, Planned Parenthood prevents approximately 516,000 unplanned pregnancies a year. With a decrease in unplanned pregnancies comes a decrease in the need for abortions.

Planned Parenthood was partly created to educate communities, and people need to be accepting of this in order to decrease the rate of unplanned pregnancies.

A large misconception of Planned Parenthood is the way it uses appropriated government funds. Planned Parenthood, by law, does not use government money to cover the cost of abortions, according to www.factcheck.org.

It’s not taxpayers’ money that is covering abortions, it’s the organization’s itself. It’s crucial not to cut government funding to Planned Parenthood because it’s not a cut on abortions: it’s a cut on the accessibility to women’s health.

Defunding Planned Parenthood will essentially take away the rights thousands need.

In a country ruled mostly by men and their drive for votes, I’m sick of women’s bodies being used as a political agenda. Planned Parenthood’s services cover a wide range of issues, it’s not an abortion-fueled organization.

As a woman in the 21st century, I’m grateful to those who have fought this fight before me, and want to honor them by continuing the fight for women’s rights.

Women all across the United States need to speak up and keep their rights protected and their voices heard.