The fight for Planned Parenthood

With Texas joining three other states in cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood young women are suffering.

With Texas joining three other states in cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood young women are suffering.

By Shannon Gray, Staff Writer

Ninety-five years after women were given the right to vote they now find themselves fighting in Washington yet again. This time what is at stake is not the right to political representation but the right to receive reproductive healthcare options.

Funding for Planned Parenthood has been cut in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and now Texas. The healthcare provider is now on facing a fierce battle, and the casualties of this war will be primarily young women.

Despite recent reports that a series of viral videos contained misleading information and downright lies regarding the reproductive healthcare provider’s alleged sale of fetal organs, conservatives seem determined to portray the organization as one that is hell bent on murder.

This, of course, is both inaccurate and dangerous as abortion services only compose a small percentage of the services provided by Planned Parenthood. Republicans are not saving the lives of the innocent, they are marginalizing women and reducing their ability to receive necessary care to serve their own moral ideals.

This isn’t about reproductive rights. That is the red herring that is used to distract from the real issue at hand: that members of Congress, a group consisting of primarily middle-aged, Caucasian men, make decisions on behalf of young women.

This doesn’t even bring into consideration the fact that many of Planned Parenthood’s patients are minorities. In some communities, Planned Parenthood is the only form of healthcare available to women from lower social and economic backgrounds. For young people who are striving to escape poverty, losing access to affordable birth control makes that goal much more difficult to obtain.

Conservatives claim that the 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services that are abortion related are the only ones that matter. That dismisses the significance of the thousands of women who have been saved by cancer-screening procedures, the women who have been given access to affordable birth control, and the lives — both male and female — that have been saved by STD screenings. Instead, focus is on demonizing a minority of services offered because, after all, that’s what really matters here.

If women are unable to have access to services provided by Planned Parenthood and similar entities they will be forced into underground abortions. Even if they don’t end up terminating the pregnancy, forcing a woman to have a baby that she does not want or is unable to care for will not make her suddenly decide to be a competent parent. That isn’t how this works.

Women who are forced to endure unwanted pregnancies are often afflicted with depression and turn to other vices. Who will be there to raise the child? Is Congress going to pay for formula, diapers, and eventually the therapy or drug treatment that often follows a troubled childhood? Of course not. The only human whose life really matters is the unborn one. After all, who are the biggest supporters of the death penalty in the United States? The very people who are fighting to keep an unborn fetus alive.

Visiting Planned Parenthood is not an easy trip for any young woman to make. The fear of being met with judgmental stares and even picketers is enough to make some women turn the other way and deny themselves the care they need.

Not only does Planned Parenthood offer affordable care, it also provides a safe place for women to take charge of their health. Women’s reproductive lives should not be governed by what some middle-aged men in Washington consider moral.

In an episode of the HBO comedy, “Veep,” the female vice president, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, comments on the absurdity that is a group of men dictating women’s reproductive rights.

“If men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an ATM,” said the fictional vice president in the show.

The fight for women’s rights didn’t end with the vote. It is more important that we assert who we are and what we want as citizens of the United States. The best people to decide the health needs of women are the women themselves. Anything else is oppressive and against the liberties of these marginalized Americans.