Defunding Planned Parenthood Is About More Than Abortion

So now we want to defund Planned Parenthood? I’m always interested in how our legislators apply critical thinking to their decisions.     I’ve been taught that when making decisions, you look at all possible implications of the decision. You look at all ramifications, all of the pros and cons. So I’m trying to understand the logic here.

Of course, the issue is that Planned Parenthood performs abortions. Abortions are performed in other places as well, but Planned Parenthood is up front about it. However, abortions only constitute 3% of Planned Parenthood’s care delivery.  The reality is that 80% of services provided by Planned Parenthood prevent unwanted pregnancies.  They provide confidential contraceptive services to women who could not afford it anywhere else. Most of the patients who take advantage of Planned Parenthood’s services have incomes below the poverty level.  Planned Parenthood serves men as well as women.  The organization provides evaluation and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, provides education to help patients makes responsible sexual decisions, and provides sex education. About 7% of their services involve cancer prevention. They perform breast exams, pelvic exams and PAP smears and vaccinations for human papilloma virus.

Abortion is a controversial issue. But abortions will not stop if Planned Parenthood is defunded. SAFE abortions will stop. If men and women don’t have access to affordable sexual health care and contraception, there will be more unwanted pregnancies.

There is more to this than the focus on abortion because that’s a small part of what Planned Parenthood does.  Defunding Planned Parenthood will primarily affect poor women. Women who have financial resources go to private gynecologists. Though many lower income people now have medicaid, not all do. Many private doctors don’t take medicaid.   This is a not-so-subtle slap in the face to women who have few resources. Many legislators seem to believe that people who are poor (yes that’s probably not a politically correct term) don’t deserve help. They believe that people who live below the poverty level are there because it is their own fault. It’s much more complicated than that.  Most legislators, including our new billionaire President-elect Donald Trump, have no clue how low-income people live day to day.

The logic is interesting. We don’t want women to have access to abortion, and we don’t want them to have affordable access to sexual health care to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and we don’t want them to be on welfare after they have the unplanned babies that they didn’t want in the first place but had because they weren’t on the birth control that could have been provided by Planned Parenthood. That makes a lot of sense.

The lack of concern on the part of our lawmakers and our citizens in my state of Kentucky for those who are struggling appalls me. The defunding of Planned Parenthood is just one example.

Hmmm. . .  I think we have a major deficit of critical thinking here.  It seems to me that our legislators have very little understanding of the complexities of poverty and the lives of many women.


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