On Sep. 18, 2015, The U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood for a year while investigations are performed into speculations of illegal activities carried out by the organization. These accusations and speculations were brought up by several republican politicians within the last year, as well as ongoing protests, trying to discredit Planned Parenthood, and to go as far as shut it down permanently.
Why is Planned Parenthood under speculation? 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services include abortion, that’s why. 97% of other services provided by Planned Parenthood do not affect opposers beliefs, even though these services include cancer screenings, STD/STI testing, pregnancy testing, and health educational.
Abortion is one of those taboo topics that no one likes to hear but people love to argue. The law, however, gives women the right to opt for abortion, whether everyone likes it or not. The abortions performed in Planned Parenthood are legal, and everything that accompanies them are, too. Whether you agree with it or not, it is legal, it is the law.
Those 3% of abortions carried out by Planned Parenthood, although protested heavily, are still legal, no matter how you look at it. Even so, why eradicate the many other helpful services Planned Parenthood provides?
Planned Parenthood also provides birth control for free or reduced prices, adding to the list of negatively perceived practices by the organization. Again, birth control is not illegal, and is in fact, quite helpful to many young girls and women. Around 10.6 million women use birth control (the pill), and the women in this 10.6 million who are not able to pay or get birth control, are able to from Planned Parenthood. Not to mention, in some cases, birth control may prevent the need for an abortion later on down the road.
Preventing pregnancy is not the only reason why people tend to take birth control. For cosmetic reasons, like clearer skin, or relief from endometriosis, are just a couple of the alternative reasons. Whatever the reason, Planned Parenthood has birth control available for little to no cost, an important feature, especially for people without insurance.
In an eye-opening project by Buzzfeed, 17 people, men and women, were asked why they went to Planned Parenthood. Although several went for abortion-related issues, many went for issues such as STD screenings, breast exams, pap smears, and birth control.
Although many are protesting to have Planned Parenthood shut down, others have voiced their support with rallies, public statements, and protests.
Celebrities have voiced their support for Planned Parenthood in Public Service Announcements and social media outlets. Actress Kristen Bell made a video to show her support, which came off as controversial. She stated, “I stand with Planned Parenthood because I want my girls to have access to birth control behind my back one day!”
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal in an article for Glamour.com stated, “I've been a Planned Parenthood supporter my whole life—since my mom took me to a rally when I was in sixth grade. It's chilling to think of this resource being taken away.”
Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has, on several occasions, tried to discredit Planned Parenthood. During a debate, she showed videos from the Center for Medical Progress, a foundation that produces highly edited and falsified videos regarding abortion and “selling baby parts”.
The organization’s founder, David Daleiden, was proven to have edited the videos in such a way that the video being shown of a miscarriage, seemed to be an abortion, where the fetus’ heart is beating and legs are moving.
In a recent interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Daleiden admits that the video in question was not an abortion, however a miscarriage, where the mother granted permission for the moment to be recorded, to “illustrate” an abortion. By attempting to get his point across, Daleiden deliberately sabotaged any potential case to be made in his name, with his evidence. Fiorina now has nothing concrete to base any of her claims on.
Another Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, has condemned abortion rather than solely targeting Planned Parenthood. An interview with Chuck Todd included Carson comparing women who get abortions to slave owners, stating “Think about this. During slavery—and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it. During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave—anything that they chose to do. And, you know, what if the abolitionists had said, "You know, I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do"? Where would we be?” As a presidential candidate, he is entitled to his opinions, but to many American citizens, this comment was downright inappropriate and offensive.
Although Planned Parenthood has been the target for negativity in recent news, there have been many lives benefitted by the organization. For now, it is unclear how or if the organization will emerge from the crossfire of speculation and accusation.