Defunding Planned Parenthood is an attack on women

The+Uptown+Minneapolis+Planned+Parenthood.

Nico Mercadal

The Uptown Minneapolis Planned Parenthood.

On September 18, the bill to strip Planned Parenthood of its funding had been passed by the House of Representatives with a vote of 241 to 187. The bill threatens to completely eliminate federal funding for the essential women’s health organization for a year while investigating alleged controversial policies if it doesn’t cease to perform and provide abortion procedures.

President Barack Obama vows to veto the bill, which caused the Republicans of the House of Representatives to threaten a government shutdown over the $500 million dollar budget for Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood does so much more than provide abortions. They provide family planning, they give mammograms which are life saving procedures, and STI testing. ”

— Betty Mfalingundi,

Videos have been published by the Center of Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, accusing  Planned Parenthood of selling aborted fetuses for profit and conducting “unethical research” using parts of the fetus. The videos have further fueled the restrictive movement against abortion and women’s reproductive rights, giving the Republicans another highly speculated and distorted basis for their oppressive argument.

Vice President and Spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, Eric Ferrero commented on these claims early this summer, “These outrageous claims are flat-out untrue, but that doesn’t matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Women and families who make the decision to donate fetal tissue for lifesaving scientific research should be honored, not attacked and demeaned.”

By passing this bill, the House of Representatives is making a blatant attack against reproductive rights and women’s health as a whole.

“[The defunding threat] is idiotic and rooted in ignorance about Planned Parenthood and what they do,” says Betty Mfalingundi, a senior at South high school and member of the Peer Education group. The defunding threat is largely based on the belief that abortion is unethical and inhumane. This is entirely false, abortion is a vital medical  practice that saves thousands of people every year, it’s inhuman to threaten such an important practice.

Abortion is an essential and lifesaving practice, which serves thousands of women every year. 3 in 10 women in the United States have an abortion by the age of 45. “It’s expensive to have a child, not only because you have to raise it but, also because of the medical expenses,” explains Mfalingundi.

 Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, thousands of women were having unprofessional, illegal and extremely dangerous abortion procedures for their own well-being and their own health. This defunding threat would be taking steps backwards, towards this dangerous alternative. Mfalingundi added, “For poor women, there’s no safety net. If they get pregnant there’s nothing they can really do. But Planned Parenthood gives them options and a sense of security. It’s expensive to have a child, not only because you have to raise it but also because of the medical expenses.”

By threatening to defund Planned Parenthood as a whole the House of Representatives is making an obvious strike towards women’s reproductive rights and health. “Planned Parenthood does so much more than provide abortions. They provide family planning, they give mammograms which are life saving procedures, and STI testing. Which is so important for women’s health and people who have breasts and ovaries and can’t afford it,” Mfalingundi continues,  “It’s expensive to get a mammogram and find out if you have cancer and receive life saving treatment, and Planned Parenthood provides that.”

Stated in their 2014 annual report, abortion makes up less than 3% of all of Planned Parenthood’s services. Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood means denying the 4,470,597 STI tests and  3,577,348 birth control services provided annually.

Cutting Planned Parenthood eliminates the safety net millions of Americans utilize to keep themselves and others safe. This would significantly increase the STI/STD threat and the number of unwanted pregnancies. The defunding threat is endangering so many people over the belief that abortion is an inhuman and unethical practice. This is an attack on women’s health.