Kruzic: Federal funding necessary to prevent unplanned pregnancies


Courtesy photo: Thinkstock

Opinion – Abortion

Ahna Kruzic

Republican campaigns promised to work on “creating jobs.” What have they created so far at both the federal and state level? Since January, they have created, continued and amped up a thirty-year GOP war against access to women’s healthcare.

At the federal level, there have been several bills that would limit access to women’s reproductive healthcare already. House Resolution 3, House Resolution 358 and House Resolution 217 all place severe limitations on access to reproductive healthcare, family planning services and abortion. House Resolution 217 is particularly worrisome. Measures such as these easily pass the Republican-controlled House. Let’s hope Democrats stand their ground and keep attacks on women such as these from passing Senate.

House Resolution 217, which recently passed the House by a 240-185 vote, would strip all federal funding from the healthcare provider Planned Parenthood and clinics offering similar services. Let’s make this clear, this bill is not intended to cut federal funding for abortion; no federal dollars are used to fund their abortion services. Instead, this bill completely cuts funding that gives women access to basic health care: Birth control, HIV testing, cancer screenings and pregnancy testing.

There are 800 clinics across the United States. Three million patients are served a year. One-in-five women visits Planned Parenthood in her lifetime. Six-out-of-ten women consider Planned Parenthood their primary source of healthcare. Chances are you’ve been there.

These politicians claim to be doing this in the name of pro-life. “Pro-life only until the fetus has left the womb” is a more accurate statement. The majority of pro-life republican politicians do not support funding for the very programs that make life livable for women with children.

Historically, they do not advocate any sort of program that helps mothers while carrying a pregnancy to term and families after birth.

Funding for health care coverage for mothers-to-be, mothers and children? No. Laws that require employers to provide paid maternity leave? No. Equal Rights Amendment to provide equal pay for women so they can better support the child? No. Funding for nutrition programs for new mothers and their children? No. Funding for services such as DHS that care for the well-being of many children birthed to unprepared parents? No. Perhaps the biggest hypocrisy of all: Funding for programs that encourage women to responsibly plan their families and to conceive only when and if she is ready for a child? That’s what they are cutting now.

The services that Planned Parenthood offer to women do more to prevent accidental pregnancies (and consequently, the need for abortions) than any organization in the United States. It just doesn’t add up: If federal funding for the very programs that prevent unwanted pregnancies are cut, it is not likely that the amount of abortions sought would decrease, we could quite possibly see the opposite effect.

Contrary to popular belief, those “damn radical feminist lesbian bra-burning militant socialist butch pro-choicers” do not advocate abortion. We advocate choice in all realms of reproduction — women are intelligent enough to make our own reproductive choices. If a woman chooses not to have sex until she’s married, awesome! If a woman wants to have sex with a partner, great! If a woman doesn’t believe hormonal contraceptives are morally right, nice, don’t take them! If a woman is pro-life, cool, don’t have an abortion! Women can and will make their own decisions regarding their sexual health. Religious Ideology is not something that should be legislated; it is a personal decision that women should be free to make themselves.

Regardless of what politicians think I should do with my body, I am a human being. I will have sex, and I’ll enjoy it. I will choose to use hormonal birth control methods to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I will use condoms to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. If I were ever in a situation where abortion was an option … I can’t say what I’d do, because I have never been there. Predominantly male GOP — neither have you.

A large part of reproductive choice is access to contraceptives to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. This consequently helps prevent a situation in which an abortion would be a possibility.

I believe many pro-lifers could agree with me on this one: We need federal funding for the very services that allow any woman to have control of her sexual health, and as a result to prevent unplanned pregnancies that could result in an abortion.

Republican lawmakers, I know my body better than you do. You are not going to stop me from having sex. If you don’t want me to get an abortion, you’ve got a much better chance if you allow me access to contraceptives and other health care services.