Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is important. That’s it. It’s simple.

In the political sphere nowadays, there’s been much controversy about the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which is a health organization with the goal of helping others with health issues such as cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, and many others. Some Conservatives oppose the idea of federally funding Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions, which they are strongly against.

Save Planned Parenthood rally in Washington, D.C. Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

I think it’s worth noting that abortions (while they are an important, as well as controversial, aspect of healthcare) are not the only procedures Planned Parenthood covers.

Planned Parenthood has so much to offer, abortions aside. Plus, contrary to popular belief, Planned Parenthood not only helps many women across the United States, but men as well. Yes, Planned Parenthood does provide a majority of women’s services, such as mammograms, abortions, pregnancy tests and screenings and contraception. But, it also provides many services that cater to men’s needs, such as cancer screenings, STD tests, fertility tests and erectile dysfunction help among many other things.

So, what’s the deal with all the controversy? Why do people get so upset about this?

Well, it all started with the big Planned Parenthood scandal in 2015. An anti-abortion group posed, undercover, as “potential buyers” of fetal tissue (from aborted fetuses) and propositioned Planned Parenthood executives in an attempt to catch them selling and profiting from the fetal tissue illegally. The entire ordeal was filmed by the anti-abortion group and the video was published online, where it sparked a media frenzy regarding medical ethics. Planned Parenthood denied that the company was profiting off of aborted fetal tissue vehemently, and said that they were donating the tissue to science and being reimbursed for any expenses, which is perfectly legal. Needless to say, that didn’t do much to quell the anger of already passionate anti-abortionists.

Since then, the organization has frequently been the center focus of health issues in politics. Planned Parenthood is constantly attacked by right-wing groups and political officials, mostly for its role in providing abortions. With such a controversial organization being funded by the federal government, it’s bound to attract some attention– particularly, that attention comes from Republican congressmen calling for it to be defunded.

But how much of that funding really goes towards abortion services? How many abortions does PP really provide?

Allocation of Planned Parenthood services, courtesy of Planned Parenthood. 2014.

According to this 2014 graphic provided by Planned Parenthood, the allocation of its services seems pretty clear. And– contrary to popular belief– a very small percentage goes towards abortion (3%). The most frequent service that Planned Parenthood provided (at least at this time) was STD/STI testing and treatment (42%), which is helpful and available to both men and women. Seems like Planned Parenthood is doing a lot more of making sure you don’t get chlamydia and a lot less of giving abortions than everyone’s been told.

In short, Planned Parenthood is a vital and important healthcare resource not only for women but for men. It seems to be misunderstood to some degree in politics, which should be rectified so that it isn’t made a villain in Republican healthcare debates over and over again. Yes, it does provide abortions, which some Americans are strongly opposed to, but it also provides so much more that benefits so many. Can we really afford to lose it?

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