Movie fans all over the nation are familiar with the scene: Juno, a rambunctious, outspoken and feministic teenager, waddles up to the entrance of her local Planned Parenthood. She rolls her eyes at a solitary Pro-Life protestor, but when the protester explains to her that her unborn child has developed fingernails, Juno immediately decides not to abort it. Perhaps this scene, universally adored by liberals and conservatives alike, was the beginning of Planned Parenthood’s ultimate doom–and this was the defining moment in the future of family planning in America.
Maybe, and more frighteningly, it was doomed from the moment the Republican representative from Indiana, Mike Pence, testified in front of Congress Feb. 11 and managed to falsely convince our government and nation that Planned Parenthood, one of the largest medical-care providers in the nation, provides government-subsidized abortions. His testimony helped push legislation in the House Feb. 18 that would slash funding from Planned Parenthood.
Perhaps our nation is too blinded by moving scenes in movies and passionate speeches on the house floor to look at the cold, hard facts: there has never been federal funding for abortions in any Planned Parenthood facility. According to Adrienne Schreiber, a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood, funding comes either from the individual patients themselves, their insurance companies or nonprofit organizations.
Moreover, federal law specifically enumerates that Planned Parenthood must separate its abortion expenses from its other government subsidized expenses, such as contraceptive distribution and STD testing. Planned Parenthood has more than complied with this, as many of its facilities so much as provide abortions in separate buildings.
While it is undeniable that Planned Parenthood performs abortions, only three percent of its provided services are actually abortions. What the federal funding goes towards is purely prevention and disease treatment. According to a January study by the Guttmacher Institute, a sexuality studies research institute, contraception makes up 35 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total expenditures, STD testing makes 34 percent, and cancer screening and prevention make up 17 percent. If the federal government seeks to claim that it provides even minimal health care for its citizens, it must continue to fund these vital services.
Opponents of abortion rights believe that government funding of Planned Parenthood frees up capital to provide cheap abortions for the masses, but the simple fact remains that abortions are legal in America, and therefore Planned Parenthood has every legal right to perform them. If the government chooses to fund STD prevention and family planning, it cannot remove funding from an organization that provides these services solely because it finds one other, legal and privately-subsidized service that it provides to be immoral
The truth is that by cutting this funding, the federal government will more than make up for it in STD and cancer treatment through entitlements in later years. Before the Senate passes this bill, they must consider not only the social ramifications that it may have on society, but also the monetary drain it will have on our economy.
Abortions are legal in America, and they will remain legal unless the Supreme Court reverses its monumental decision. With that said, Congress must consider the effects it will have by slashing funding to an organization that prevents disease in America, solely because it does not believe a service it provides should be legal.