The Planned Parenthood Debate is Not About Abortion, It’s About Women’s Healthcare

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Like most elections in recent history, the hot button topics politicians use to illicit an emotional response from voters include education, immigration, and healthcare. Yes, we’ve all heard about Trump wanting to build a wall along the Mexico border. We have developed hope for Bernie Sanders’ plan to decrease student loans.  We have heard one Republican after another decry Planned Parenthood for its supposedly illegal and morally questionable actions.

But the issue is bigger than Planned Parenthood. For many people, Planned Parenthood is a safe, reliable, and cost-effective solution that provides necessary men and women’s healthcare. It performs safe, legal abortions, yes, but more than that provides counseling, exams, pre- and post-natal care to pregnant women, as well as more general healthcare needs.

Again, the issue here is not what Planned Parenthood does or does not do. It’s a deeper problem of government bodies thinking it is okay to prevent women from having control over their own bodies and healthcare. It is not the job of Congress to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body. That should be between her and her doctor WHEREVER she chooses to receive healthcare. Why should women who choose Planned Parenthood as their primary source of healthcare be denied these very beneficial services because some people in the government disagree with one of those services?

Protesters of Planned Parenthood think the organization should not receive federal funding because it performs abortions. Yes, it receives money from the government. As do all other non-profit, public health services. Planned Parenthood receives over one-third of its yearly funding from federal sources, but none of that can be legally allocated to abortion services, so that argument falls flat. Any money it receives from the government goes toward the very real need for reliable and affordable healthcare.

Republicans and Pro-Lifers like to cite the recent smear campaign videos that came out about the Planned Parenthood clinics. Carly Fiorina even used those videos as support for her arguments during the last debate.  Unfortunately for Fiorina, the scenes she talked about don’t exist, and the videos have been doctored. Planned Parenthood is not illegally harvesting and selling fetal tissue. But that truth has largely been ignored.

Let me repeat: those videos were discredited. Yet, they keep coming up. Why? Because they cause a reaction, and politicians know that a majority of people will go with emotions first and check facts later.

But we must check facts, because otherwise organizations that help people–like Planned Parenthood–die out, and thousands of women will suffer the consequences.

Next time someone decides to justify taking funding away from Planned Parenthood by citing its abortion services, which aren’t even funded by their federal grants, tell them the facts. Abortion services are only a small percentage of the many healthcare options the clinics offer, and your tax money does not go to them. Think about the women who rely on those clinics to receive life-saving care, and remember that not everything that comes out of a politician’s mouth is true.

Morgan McMurray
Morgan McMurray is an editor and gender equality blogger based in Seattle, Washington. A 2013 graduate of Iowa State University, she has a Bachelor of Arts in English, Journalism, and International Studies. She spends her free time writing, reading, teaching dance classes, and binge-watching Netflix. Contact Morgan at staff@LawStreetMedia.com.



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