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Controversies of the Panned Parenthood

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To say that Planned Parenthood is often synonymous with controversy would be an understatement. Since its inception, the clinic has faced opposition and has in the process become a sort of staple in pop, and American culture. The fight to defund Planned Parenthood has been a long time coming, with similar or different incarnations of it appearing in the media, from criticizing its work, to critiquing what it stands for. The topic of Planned Parenthood in general, especially of defunding the clinic seems to only be getting more and more charged by the day. The topic has finally come to a head, where changes are taking place at this very moment. No doubt much of the changes occurring, and this topic taking center stage has much to do with the presidency of Donald Trump. Trump’s conservative ideals are very left field, especially after the Obama era, a democratic, progressive, and women’s rights-oriented one. Defunding Planned parenthood has become a top priority by Republicans, thus becoming the most aggressively anti-abortion session in history. It is evident that these politicians have their own personal agenda, and some might go so far as to say that they are not considering the people’s best interest. Donald Trump, his vice president Mike Pence, and other politicians such as Ted Cruz, our very own Texas senator, plan to fully execute said agenda. The defunding of planned parenthood would be a direct attack on lower-class women, as a majority of its patients fall near or below the poverty level, and will negatively affect lower-class communities, as it delivers critical health care like cancer screenings, gynecological care, among other services; should the organization shut down, more children will also be born into poverty.

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To understand just how far Trump’s conservative agenda is moving along and the seriousness of the topic, just this February, the US Department of Health and Human Services has revised the Title X family planning program, introducing the ‘gag rule’. Title X, a decades-old program founded in the 70s, primarily caters to millions of low-income people whose dedication to family planning and similar services. The most outstanding change to the program is that any clinic under the program prohibits performing, support, or even refer a patient for an abortion as a method of family planning. Planned Parenthood serves 41 percent of patients who are covered through the Title X-funded health services, and yet with this new regulation patients seeking the desired assistance are now prohibited to receive the very help that they need. The revisions seem like a direct attack on the low-class community, that will produce many repercussions.

To slowly delve into the topic, let us first understand what unwanted pregnancies mean to the mothers that did not intend to get pregnant in the first place, especially to a woman of a lower standing class. “unintended pregnancies are already concentrated among low-income women… the rate of such pregnancies among women with incomes below the poverty line jumped 56 percent from 1994 to 2008…In 2008, the unintended-pregnancy rate for poor women was more than five times that of the most well-off. All of this means that poor women have higher rates of unplanned births—six times higher, than women at the other end of the income scale. “ (Covert, K Konczal 8). What does this mean to the women should they decide to continue their pregnancy? Their chances to excel in a better life have decreased greatly. Women attending college, are least likely to complete their education after an unexpected pregnancy. The main reason cited for an abortion is the inability to afford to have a baby, and that doing so would interfere with their ability to work or gain an education. Eliminating Planned Parenthood only feeds into the vicious cycle of impoverishment and unwanted pregnancies for the most vulnerable women.

A hasty generalization that is done by those opposing Planned Parenthood is that the clinic’s only line of work is abortions. In fact, only 3% of their services are dedicated to abortion practices. Most of their work goes towards STD/STI testing and treatment with 38% occupying their workload. Contraception (birth control) is a close second with 33.5%. Planned Parenthood health centers also provide primary health care services. This includes vaccination against influenza, hepatitis, and human papillomavirus. Various forms of testing and screening such as anemia testing; and screening for cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast cancer (Farzana, Silver 1040). As well as the not as common smoking cessation counseling. All these services are vital to women especially to those whose only means of healthcare is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood health centers also provide accurate sexual education from highly skilled and trained clinicians and counselors (1040). This service is often the only help that young people with limited knowledge can receive when their school is lacking sex education classes, and their home life does not provide this material. This is especially crucial to the young population of the LGBT community when their sources are extremely limited and the information that they do receive can sometimes be inaccurate. Planned Parenthood delivers sex education that empowers young and old people alike to make informed choices and lead healthy lives. All in all, Planned Parenthood provides many invaluable services.

Another hasty generalization is that is often made is the idea that if Planned Parenthood should be defunded, other clinics can pick up where they left off. The claim that CHCs can ramp up to meet the demand for services created by the loss of Planned Parenthood health centers is easier said than done (Kapadia, Silver 1040).To put this into perspective more than 600 centers are being operated in the United States. “, our extant primary health care delivery system is already straining to meet the needs of low-income, uninsured, and underinsured populations” (1040). before the Affordable Care Act was put into place by Obama, in 2011 33% of primary care physicians and 22% of obstetrician-gynecologists reported not accepting new Medicaid patients”. Should Planned Parenthood be defunded, a clinic that is accepting of all patients, who will cater to their needs now, when it is not guaranteed that all clinics will accept their care plan? Another hythopetical, if is, will the clinics truly be able to pick up all the workload that Planned Parenthood carries out, from simple healthcare to all the extracurricular work that was stated prior. With 33.5 % of the work being done by Planned parenthood is contraception-related, one might expect the pseudo clinics to follow suit in the same department. The answer is no, 25% of these clinics do not provide oral contraceptives on-site, only 19% provide all contraceptive methods on-site, and only 50% provide on-site intrauterine device or contraceptive implant services. The answer all points to no. women have reported dissatisfaction with pseudo-Planned Parenthood alternative ‘counseling’ clinics. Such centers portray themselves as nonpartisan health and counseling clinics, but in fact, they oppose abortion, and sometimes even family planning, and push a political agenda on vulnerable women. ‘” 

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