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Note to Politicians: KEEP OUT of Women’s Health Issues

When women lose control over their own bodies, the quality of everyone's life deteriorates...

Abortion has recently made the headlines in the news, causing quite the stir on both political aisles. It’s not because abortion has suddenly increased or that any particular controversy has made its presence with abortion or with organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Instead, many politicians have stepped up and said, “I don’t agree with abortion, therefore I will do whatever is in my power to make sure it is impossible for women to get them.”  

The issue is not so much abortion, itself, either. What’s happened is funding is getting cut in the places that would actually prevent the abortions from taking place. Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard all the arguments before, like “put a rubber on” or “just say no.”

But, condoms break and people are not going to stop having sex, so I suppose the logical answer is to see what we can do as a society to help prevent pregnancies, rather than pulling out the big guns and going straight at abortion.  

So, this is a letter of appeal to all politicians who think they know best when it comes to making laws concerning women’s bodies.

Recently, in Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels, signed a law that took away all federal funding from Planned Parenthood. With this bill, 22,000 low-income residents would be cut off from medical care. Yes, medical care. What these politicians have failed to see is that organizations such as Planned Parenthood don’t perform abortions in all their clinics. In fact, abortions account for less than 4 percent of services provided by Planned Parenthood.

But, as Gov. Daniels contends, “family planning services provided by the agency can be obtained elsewhere.”

Where exactly, isn’t specified.

It’s not that easy though. Planned Parenthood has served as an organization that many have gone to in order to prevent pregnancies and to actually receive medical treatment, such as STI testing, breast cancer screening, and other basic medical checkups.

In fact, one in five women in the United States have visited a Planned Parenthood at least once in her life. Meant to serve lower income groups, Planned Parenthood has served as the only medical center that many women can go to in their neighborhoods at low cost, without having to need insurance. Seventy-five percent of their clients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

And, it wasn’t too long ago when 251 Members of Congress voted to “redefine rape.” This bill would significantly restrict women’s access to abortion services and deny any federal funding for abortion involving cases of incest and statutory rape.  

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” or H.R. 3, would in essence, make women who were sexually assaulted prove to IRS agents they were victims of “forcible rape” or incest in order to use Medicaid to help pay for an abortion.

If these politicians are hell-bent are making sure every pregnant woman has her baby, whether she got pregnant on accident or by getting raped, you would think they would try to provide more services for these women to help take care of the baby during and after the pregnancy, right?

Nope. By taking away those family planning services, they are in effect hurting pregnant women and also the health of women who are already mothers who rely on places such as Planned Parenthood. 

Lawmakers are also incapable of seeing that Planned Parenthood is used by women in abusive relationships who need to obtain birth control that otherwise their abusive partner would not let them get. Or for adolescent girls who might have been raped or sexually active and fear telling their parents, they have used Planned Parenthood to get treated for an STI or used Plan B to prevent a pregnancy that they otherwise would not have been able to obtain without parental consent.

I doubt hardly any of the politicians, which are mostly men, who have passed these laws have walked into a Planned Parenthood or talked with any of the women who used their facilities. I bet they don’t know the stories of women who have used Planned Parenthood to obtain the Plan B pill after being raped or have found out they have cervical cancer and were able to treat it right away, instead of finding out before it’s too late.

These politicians are probably unaware that Planned Parenthood provided more than 830,000 breast exams last year or that they provided close to 45,000 HPV vaccinations, the most common thread of STIs. Perhaps these politicians would like to know that Planned Parenthood helped prevent approximately 612,000 unintended pregnancies

Besides taking away funding from women, they are also taking away funding from men. Men use Planned Parenthood to screen for STIs and cancer screenings, as well. What will end up happening, in fact, is you and I will end up bearing the costs of the unintended pregnancies that will undoubtably occur because of these spending cuts.

And, what happens when you stop educating people about how to have safe sex? You’ll end up with higher pregnancy rates and also an increased occurrence of STIs. The U.S. already has the highest teen pregnancy rate for a developed country and 1 in 4 people under the age of 25 have or have had an STI.

Prevention, prevention, prevention. I cannot stress enough that the services that Planned Parenthood provides helps prevent what everybody does not want: abortion.

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