Most people would think that the government funding that Planned Parenthood receives goes toward abortions. They’re unsure what percentage, but they figure some portion of it is put toward the controversial medical procedure. They’re wrong.
The debate surrounding the defunding of Planned Parenthood has lately been simplified into two camps: pro-life and pro-choice. The general misconception seems to be that defunding Planned Parenthood will stop abortions all together, and supporting Planned Parenthood’s existence is supporting abortions in practice. Hello, no. In 1980, the Supreme Court restricted the use of federal funding for abortion. Let’s rephrase that: the government has not federally funded abortion for 35 years. Making the argument that defunding Planned Parenthood will somehow have an effect on abortions—you guessed it—invalid.
All the money that Planned Parenthood puts toward abortion services comes from private donations. The government money pushed towards Planned Parenthood allows it to operate as a publicly funded family planning service. These practices provide affordable family planning tools such as oral contraceptives, injectables, condoms and contraceptive pills for women that wouldn’t be able to access birth control otherwise. They also provide pap smears, pelvic exams, STI treatments and HIV testing. Nothing inherently evil. In fact, it is everything inherently necessary to offer women the choice to attend to their reproductive health. These are the kinds of Planned Parenthood programs currently funded by our government.
Now, I’ll expand on this to say that the majority of the women using Planned Parenthood would not have had access to healthcare otherwise. In 2013, there were an estimated total of 38 million women in need of contraceptive care. Of these women, 20 million sat below the poverty level in need of publicly funded services and supplies. 1.6 million more were teenagers, who arguably don’t have funding to see medical professionals on their own.
Defunding Planned Parenthood wouldn’t make a statement about our government’s stance on abortions. The statement would read more that our government is incapable of understanding the importance of providing women with adequate and affordable health care. And frankly, that’s preposterous.