The Central Trend

Perceptions of Planned Parenthood: what we aren’t talking about

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The opinions expressed in the following editorial are those of the staff writer, not of The Central Trend or Forest Hills Central.

For many citizens in America, Planned Parenthood is merely an afterthought, something that they may not necessarily know about but hate anyway. Some wealthy men and women, particularly those in positions of power, share the belief that Planned Parenthood is an abortion-giving, sex-promoting, baby-killing place of evil. These “facts,” however, provide little truth about what the clinic’s mission actually is.

According to plannedparenthood.org, their mission is to empower individuals to make independent, informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives. This mission includes providing services such as general health care, STD testing, cancer screenings, pregnancy testing, safe abortions, and birth control to all women, rich or poor. In one year, Planned Parenthood delivers these essential health care services to 2.4 million women.

Recently, politicians such as Mike Pence have begun campaigning to defund Planned Parenthood under the assumption that its sole purpose is to provide abortions. Ultimately, though, what the defunding of this organization would do is cut off low-income, at-risk women from accessing essential health care services and put them in more danger of becoming pregnant, contracting an STD, or living with an untreated or unknown cancer.     

As of right now, Planned Parenthood receives funding from a variety of sources. Some money comes from government reimbursements and grants; however, other sources of revenue include private donations and bequests. Once this money is collected, it is dispersed throughout the 600 PPFA health centers that are currently operating throughout the United States. Since Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization, all of the funding at each location goes directly back into their many health care services; it also helps to ensure that patients have a safe and sanitary experience at clinics.

The majority of Planned Parenthood’s patients are people of color, people living in rural areas, and low-income families. These are people who already face systematic oppression at the hands of the government, and the defunding of some people’s only source of health care is yet another attack on minorities’ rights.

Perhaps, if people were more informed about the many different aspects of health care offered by this organization, they would be more open to the idea that it is not, in fact, a place rooted in evil. Planned Parenthood is not just focused on physical health, but mental health as well. Part of their educational programs work to inform women and men about depression, healthy relationships, substance abuse, and sexual orientation. For some teenagers and adults, this may be the only safe space they have to talk about these things.

Some might say that people don’t need to discuss such explicit topics, but the reality is that they do. Ignorance is only bliss for so long. When does that bliss wear off? The answer is simple. It wears off when a 14-year-old commits suicide because of untreated mental illness. It wears off when a 17-year-old gets pregnant and is mentally unprepared to face parenthood. It wears off when someone remains in an abusive relationship, unable to help themselves find a way to a better life. It wears off.

Although in our “FHC bubble,” most of us might not experience the deadly repercussions of the defunding of Planned Parenthood, countless others will. One in five women will visit a Planned Parenthood facility in her lifetime. That woman could be your neighbor. That woman could be your teacher. That woman could be you. Defunding Planned Parenthood would be a fatal detriment to the current quality of life in society for women as well as men. 

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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central
Perceptions of Planned Parenthood: what we aren’t talking about