Defunding Planned Parenthood jeopardizes necessary health care

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, at the Women’s March on Washington in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21. An anti-abortion march was held after the Women’s March on Friday Jan. 27, highlighting the ongoing struggle to separate Planned Parenthood’s abortion services from its general reproductive health services. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)

Quickly following the Women’s March on Washington, there was a March for Life also held in Washington, D.C. on Friday Jan. 27. Participants of this march gather annually to protest abortion and its legality.

Many participants held signs which boldly stated, “We don’t need Planned Parenthood,” which were consequently accompanied by a speech from Vice President Mike Pence about how he plans to cut funding to abortion providers. Pence, instead, intends to give funds to crisis pregnancy centers, which are private clinics that fail to provide women with accurate, unbiased information on health care and that attempt to persuade them not to have abortions.  

This anti-choice rhetoric being supported by many people—and watching them so confidently claim that Planned Parenthood isn’t needed—made me question whether they actually know what Planned Parenthood does for both men and women across the country.  

Aside from the fact that Planned Parenthood provides safe abortion procedures for women who want them, it also provides countless other services. Planned Parenthood provides safe methods of birth control, pap tests, breast exams, testing for sexually transmitted infections and treatment for sexually transmitted infections to 4.2 million men and women across the nation. 

Only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services provided are for abortions—97 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood provides have nothing to do with abortion.

One especially important aspect of Planned Parenthood is that they provide accurate and informative education about sexual and reproductive health care. Without this free and accurate information, millions of people across the nation wouldn’t have access to the knowledge they need to stay healthy. This knowledge also provides people with the information they need to practice safe sex, which in turn prevents unwanted pregnancies and the contractions of sexually transmitted infections. 

Planned Parenthood is a completely unbiased source of information and provider of health care. The purpose of their clinics is to provide patients with accurate and complete information about reproductive and sexual health. 

Places like crisis pregnancy centers, however, are known to both provide inaccurate information on reproductive health care and on options for pregnant women. They are also notorious for turning women against abortion as a legitimate choice. 

A clinic providing something as serious as reproductive health care and education needs to be honest and respectful of the choices women make regarding their own bodies. Pence’s plan to take funding from Planned Parenthood and to give it to crisis pregnancy centers is a dishonest way to try to control women’s agency. 

In the process of doing this, the nearly five million people that receive accurate health care information from Planned Parenthood will lose this valuable source. The defunding of Planned Parenthood will be a huge disadvantage to the people in the United States as well as a huge step back for reproductive health care.

If people seeking information on reproductive health care are being misinformed, how are they supposed to stay healthy? Individuals may not be able to make the right, informed choice for themselves if they don’t have access to this information. 

Everyone is entitled to honest and complete information to help them to make an informed decision that is best for them in terms of health care and reproductive health. By defunding Planned Parenthood, our government supports dishonesty and manipulation that affects citizens across the nation.