Staff Editorial: Shameful Planned Parenthood defunding jeopardizes healthcare

The United States House of Representatives recently passed a bill to take away federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year. The motive of the bill, of course, is to prevent Americans from easily obtaining abortion services. The demonization of abortion doesn’t just threaten abortion services itself—it now threatens access to healthcare for millions of Americans who rely on Planned Parenthood’s health services.

There is no way to accurately measure the amount of abortion services Planned Parenthood provides, but it is estimated that abortion services make up three–12 percent of the organization’s total services.

Planned Parenthood dedicates the rest of its existence to providing contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and cancer screening to millions of Americans. Federal funding is allocated to provide these health services—and not to abortion services.

The demonization of abortion has led to the demonization of Planned Parenthood itself. Recently, anti-abortion activists released strategically edited videos that seemed to indicate Planned Parenthood sold aborted fetuses and body parts to medical researchers for a profit. While outcry came from both sides of the abortion debate, most people didn’t even take the time to question the validity of the claims.

We must question our government’s legislative practices when—time and time again—personal and emotional appeals hold authority over American citizens’ basic rights. Legalization of same-sex marriage was prolonged for years because of politicians’ personal condemnation of it. The same is happening to Planned Parenthood and its services because of the abortion debate.

Abortion is a legal practice and should be treated as such. It is ridiculous that in desperate attempts to limit this legal practice, millions of Americans who rely on Planned Parenthood’s other healthcare services will suffer.

We need to remove personal and religious belief from government legislation to prevent Americans from being denied access to legal medical services. It doesn’t matter if lawmakers are pro-choice or pro-life—they shouldn’t use this political stance to endanger and inconvenience millions of Americans who need health care.