Sunday, March 27, 2011

Protecting Planned Parenthood

Originally published in the Loyola Phoenix on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"A Voice of Treason," by Anthony Betori



An examination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood offers a view into the intersecting issues that make up the furor over reproductive healthcare in America. Religion, taxes and abortion — all together they make a concoction of the Right’s hot button issues.

The flaw in the conversation about Planned Parenthood lies in the apparent familiarity of these issues: Too many people are defaulting to the usual arguments when Planned Parenthood deserves special consideration.

It is necessary to note that Planned Parenthood provides many services other than abortion — STI tests, counseling and mammograms, to name a few. It is a place for women to receive the care they need — care that is not necessarily readily available with many other health care providers. It is an institution focused on safety and discretion — two key aspects of Planned Parenthood’s identity which establish its role as a crucial member of any community.

The government de facto serves only the purpose the people set for it; there are no essentials, but the services provided by Planned Parenthood seem like good ones to allow. Planned Parenthood, considering its uniqueness and value, is something any government should promote if the government finds that it is necessary to promote anything. Reproductive healthcare has a major impact on all aspects of American life from workforces to schools to welfare, and it should be treated with appropriate gravity.

To try to undo the work of Planned Parenthood, by virtue of the no-abortion rule or the lower-deficit-at-any-cost policy, makes little sense.

The arguments I’ve heard about the issue surround two main points. “Well, it’s my money and I don’t want it funding the death of babies,” or “I’m sorry, but we can’t afford it.” These arguments don’t seem to justify stripping millions of women of a demonstrably basic right to health.

Planned Parenthood would have no need to defend itself if people understood the reality of Planned Parenthood’s ministry.

In the richest country in the world, you’d think taxpayers could afford to help educate our daughters about sex, and give them a safe place to go if they’ve been raped or sexually assaulted. You’d think it’d be in our best interest to plan families, to discuss children in terms of monetary ability and the time one can commit, and then walk people through the process of having children.

Why suffocate the conversations Planned Parenthood gives us the ability to have?

Planned Parenthood is an asset to America. Yes, it provides abortions, and if you find it necessary to write off the entire system as a result of this, than I’m not sure your priorities are in order. More easily available abortions are legal in America, and our elected officials, as well as our populace, must respect this.  The services Planned Parenthood offers justify federal funding much more than is necessary, even if a person is peripherally distracted by abortions.

Rather than defaulting to the same old arguments, let’s consider the reality of the situation and acknowledge that Americans are lucky to have Planned Parenthood as a part of our lives.

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