Lawson: Removing funding from Planned Parenthood creates more problems than opposition admits

Graph courtesy of Planned Parenthood 2013-2014 annual report

By Angelica Lawson [email protected]

Graph courtesy of Planned Parenthood 2013-2014 annual report

Angelica Lawson

Planned Parenthood has recently become a victim of increased scrutiny and the center of a media frenzy. With the release of videos containing legal but sensitive content, it has been a stressful time for the organization. Adding to its stress, earlier this month the Senate voted on whether to continue providing funds for Planned Parenthood.

Defunding Planned Parenthood Federation of America would be a huge mistake. It does so much more than provide legal abortions. It provides healthcare, birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and health insurance to its clients who would otherwise not have access. 

Planned Parenthood has recently come under heavy fire for videos that have been released by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion activist group. Dozens of states have launched investigations of Planned Parenthood because of the accusations by the videos.

These investigations have been specifically targeting locations that may have broken the law or where states believe that illegal conduct may have happened. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts, South Dakota and Indiana have completed investigations and have cleared PPFA of any misconduct.

The PPFA receives 40 percent of its funding from the federal government and it does not use those funds for abortions, which is the subject of a majority of government officials’ complaints.

Only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. The majority of what the Planned Parenthood does is educate the public, pass out condoms, provide communities with birth control, STD testing, counseling for survivors of sexual assaults and access to healthcare.

The focus of Planned Parenthood is not abortions, although there are many people who would like for you to think that. If PPFA loses its funding, the communities it serves would suffer. Men and women would lose access to sterilization services, preventative services like pap smears for women and access to STD testing. Losing PPFA would harm future generations of the United States.

Since Planned Parenthood’s founding in 1916, it has worked to help countless women and men. The organization has helped prevent many unwanted pregnancies by offering several forms of birth control. Since the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, it has been able to help clients gain health insurance.

PPFA has had a much bigger impact on the United States than the average abortion clinic. It is not limited to abortions — that is merely a point that some people would like to have you focus on. In Iowa alone, there are 20 PPFA locations. The closing of these locations could mean those in need would no longer have access to reliable health care.

PPFA releases its annual report, which is free and downloadable. Within the report, the organization breaks down its funding, services provided and the milestones reached during the previous fiscal year. This is an organization dedicated to the improvement of lives. It is not interested in foul play.

With a 53-46 vote, Planned Parenthood will keep its federal funding. But this decision did not stop some states from removing the organization’s funding.

Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Utah have already declared they will be defunding Planned Parenthood, although they have been warned that this tactic may violate federal law. 

At a news conference, Utah’s governor declared that Utah would no longer distribute state funds to Planned Parenthood and the state would not renew its contracts. He said the funds would be distributed to other organizations that provide the same services.

Utah’s disassociation with the PPFA will not cause its doors to close. Karrie Galloway, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said earlier this week that the state funding it receives is a small portion of its $8 million budget and that Planned Parenthood will remain in Utah with or without the state’s funding. 

Defunding PPFA will not be the end of this organization because a great portion of the budget does [not] come from federal funding. Having Planned Parenthood means there are less abortions performed because of its healthcare options and because of the birth control it provides.

Eliminating federal funding for PPFA would lead to a 40 percent deficit in its funds. PPFA would have to cut some of its programs budgets, rely more on the generosity of donors, raise contract prices or raise the prices for clients.

Regardless of how some people may feel, there is more good than bad that comes from Planned Parenthood. Defunding this organization would only cause harm to the millions would are served and would only perpetuate the war on women’s rights that has unfortunately been gaining momentum.

Funding Planned Parenthood does not mean you support abortion. It means you value health care services for all.

To show your support for Planned Parenthood, send a letter to your government representatives. Planned Parenthood has created a letter template for its supporters to fill out. Expressing support will hopefully keep funding for PPFA strong, so this vital source for men and women can continue to serve our communities now and in the future.