Today’s society is split on the topic of Planned Parenthood. President Trump said woman who obtain abortions should be punished and passed a executive order that blocked funding to nongovernmental organizations that provided abortion counseling like Planned Parenthood (Rosenbaum, 2017). Women health care advocates say that Planned Parenthood is important for the nation’s public health. Because of this divide the question posed is, what would be the effects of defunding Planned Parenthood? Planned Parenthood is an essential part of many women’s lives.
According to The Availability and Use of Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinics: US Trends, 1994-2001, “One in four (24%) receive that care from a publicly funded clinic.”. Defunding Planned Parenthood would have a detrimental effect on low income women, teenagers, restrict access to basic health care, and increase unsafe abortions. Women who have low incomes need Planned Parenthood in order to thrive.
These woman make up three-fourths of Planned Parenthood’s patients (Hillard, 2017). Twenty million American woman go to Planned Parenthood every year (Frost, Frohwirth, Purcell, 2004), and low income women make up fifteen million of Planned Parenthood’s patients each year. These fifteen million woman rely on Planned Parenthood’s low cost services. When funded completely, Planned Parenthood’s cost for an annual gynecological exam in Texas was “virtually nothing”, but after defunding by the state, the prices rose to one hundred dollars (Lee, 2017).
Low income women range from right at the poverty line to one hundred and fifty percent of the federally defined poverty level (Hillard, 2017). They can’t afford to pay out of pocket. They need to be able to go a clinic where they can get quality care at a lesser cost. There are other providers that help low income women; however, according to The Availability and Use of Publicly Funded THE EFFECTS OF DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD 3 Family Planning Clinics: US Trends, 1994-2001, “Health departments and Planned Parenthood affiliates served more clients at fewer sites; community health centers served fewer clients at more sites.”. Low income women need affordable basic healthcare and without Planned Parenthood that healthcare is scare and expensive. Another group of people whose health would be jeopardized by the defunding of Planned Parenthood would be adolescents. According to Paula J.
Adams Hillard, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine, in Adolescent Reproductive Health Without Planned Parenthood, “In 2010, publicly funded clinics averted 1.7 million unwanted pregnancies, including 374,000 teen pregnancies.”. Adolescents are not ideal parents; they are still kids themselves. Add to the mix that there is a clear link between teen pregnancy and dropping out of school (Hollander, 2016), and Planned Parenthood is very important.
Even more concerning, teenagers are less likely seek for contraceptives if they aren’t low cost and, as previously mentioned, decreased funding from the government leads to increased prices at Planned Parenthood (Hillard, 2017). Abstinence isn’t a realistic goal, because according to Unintended Pregnancy Among U.S. Adolescents: Accounting for Sexual Activity, “…
half do start having sex during their teen years, a figure that has been fairly stable over the past decade.”. Whether or not teens have access to contraceptives, they will still have sex. It is better to give them access to contraceptives before it is too late. Additionally, there is a link between decreased numbers of teenage dropouts who live near Planned Parenthood clinics (Holland, 2017) compared to teenagers who live further away. This clear link shows that defunding would not only increase the amount of adolescent pregnancies in the United States but also lead to an increase in teenagers dropping out of school.
THE EFFECTS OF DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD 4 Additionally, Planned Parenthood provides women with basic healthcare. According to Understanding the Planned Parenthood Divide — Albert Lasker and Women’s Health, “Planned Parenthood served 2.4 million people in nearly 650 health centers in 2015, delivering a range of services: more than 2.5 million women obtained contraception, nearly 295,000 received Pap tests, some 320,000 received breast exams, and thousands more got testing, treatment, and prevention for sexually transmitted infections.
“. In addition to these services, Planned Parenthood also provides the HPV vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer in patients. According to A Narrative Engagement Framework to Understand HPV Vaccination Among Latina and Vietnamese Women in a Planned Parenthood Setting, when woman who were receiving care at Planned Parenthood were asked about their reason for getting the HPV vaccine, “…Latina women, 38% (n = 6) explicitly cited provider influence as the primary reason they chose to vaccinate, while 81% (n = 13) of the vaccinated Vietnamese women’s decision stories included descriptions of conversations with a health care practitioner as the reason for vaccinating.”.
Considering that six in ten woman consider Planned Parenthood to be their primary source of healthcare (when surveyed at Planned Parenthood) (Hillard, 2017), these results show that women’s overall healthcare is influenced for the better by Planned Parenthood’s services. Planned Parenthood provides a multitude of services (not just abortions), and defunding Planned Parenthood would deny women healthcare. Although abortions only make up three percent of all of Planned Parenthood’s services (Planned Parenthood), abortion access is vital to their identity and what Planned Parenthood stands for. Before Roe vs Wade, women did not have the options women in America have now.
In the past, there was a stigma towards out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and that persists in some THE EFFECTS OF DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD 5 communities.Women did what they thought was necessary to end their pregnancies. Some of them induced an abortion by making themselves fall down stairs or using coat hangers.
Others went to people under the impression that they were doctors, when in reality they weren’t, and trusted them with their lives. Sometimes these at home abortions worked and the woman was healthy; other times things went terribly wrong. In The Death of Rosa: Sexuality in Rural America, the author, a Professor of History at New Mexico State University, stumbled upon a letter written in the late 1896 by a farmer taking about a girl named Rosa. She became pregnant and was given “something” to take by the father of her child. The “something” did not work so the man took her “along the road” where a doctor had “done something to her, had probed her womb”. This young girl was forced to go through the trauma of an unsafe abortion and two weeks later she died. This story and countless others have been told time and time again by people all over the world. Without Planned Parenthood, these stories will become common in America again.
Defunding Planned Parenthood will take us back to those days of fear. Overall, Planned Parenthood is a vital source of healthcare for many people all over America. Places like Texas have already defunded Planned Parenthood (Lee, 2017) and nothing goods comes out of it.
People suffered tremendously with untreated STIs and an increase in unwanted pregnancies. Defunding Planned Parenthood will do more harm than good. Women with low incomes, adolescents, those without access to basic healthcare, and women seeking safe abortions will all be in jeopardy if Planned Parenthood is defunded.
Society needs to recognize that defunding Planned Parenthood should be avoided at all costs.