November 19, 2019

Hands off Planned Parenthood

Eva Connors is a senior journalism major and copy editor for The Journal.

When I wake up in the morning, I like to start on a positive note by mentally going over the things I love. I love my cat, who jumps onto the bed when my alarm goes off. I love not paying for the heat in my apartment, so it’s like summer all year ‘round. And I especially love waking up and not being pregnant ­— that’s gotta be one of my favorites.
The last one I attribute to the magic of birth control, specifically in daily pill form. Since my health insurance doesn’t cover oral contraceptives and my parents don’t approve of them,  I have to pay for the pill out of pocket. Usually that’d be too expensive for me to keep up every month. But thanks to Planned Parenthood, which took into account my less-than-living wages, I can stay baby-free for the low, low price of $10 per month.
Not everybody is as huge a fan of Planned Parenthood as I am. The GOP wants to cut federal funding to the whole program, leaving the tens of thousands of women who rely on it without affordable birth control or health examinations — what many opponents of the nation-wide clinics don’t realize is the vast number of services Planned Parenthood actually offers. Beyond various contraceptives, Planned Parenthood provides affordable HPV and hepatitis vaccinations, STD tests and treatments, pregnancy tests and cancer screenings.
The issue, of course, is abortion. Yes, Planned Parenthood offers abortion referrals, and some clinics do offer the services on-site. Since the GOP by-and-large doesn’t support abortion, they’d rather ax funding to the whole thing.
I understand not wanting your tax dollars going to something you don’t support. I can think of a few things the government spends money on that I certainly don’t agree with, like the various “wars” on terror, drugs, illegal immigrants and so on.  But there isn’t a single political issue everyone agrees with — sometimes, you just have to live with the things you don’t like.
And sometimes you have to give up the things you do like. It’s called compromise. But there are some things that should be off limits to axe-grinding, and affordable health care is one of them. Even if that means monetarily supporting a medical procedure that you don’t agree with.
Consider the alternative. Without Planned Parenthood, there would be more undiagnosed breast and cervical cancer, there’d be more unaware people spreading STDs, including HIV, there’d be more dead and damaged women from botched abortions and there’d be more unadopted babies in the system.
If you’re looking to save some taxpayer money, cutting Planned Parenthood is definitely not the way to do it.
I’m pretty sure it’s not really about saving the money, though, so much as reallocating it. According to some of the more conservative religious bodies, particularly Catholics, using birth control is a one-way ticket to hell. It (supposedly) promotes premarital sex, and if sex doesn’t end in getting pregnant, God doesn’t approve of it, so neither do they and they don’t want to support something against God’s will via tax money.
You don’t see the Jewish community lobbying to get non-kosher grocery stores shut down. Muslims aren’t throwing a fit about state-funded pork products. They, quite simply, don’t buy the things that don’t agree with their religion and move on.
If the GOP is going to scream at the government to get its hands off their healthcare, they should probably get their hands off mine. Planned Parenthood is an essential institution for women who either can’t afford health insurance or whose plans won’t cover the costs of things like birth control and STD testing/treatment. Taking away a service that tens of thousands of women use because some old white guys don’t believe in safe sex? Something about that’s just not right.

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