Yesterday, Planned Parenthood announced that it would withdraw from the federal family planning program known as Title X. The Title X Family Planning program was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies, and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under Trump’s hand-picked Alex Azar, attached a new condition on receiving Title X funding – that the recipients, such as Planned Parenthood, can no longer make abortion referrals. This, my friends, is nothing more than the federal government attempting to inflict the beliefs of the Christian evangelical community, a vocal minority of the population, on everyone in the nation. It is an attempt to make religious beliefs into public policy. It is a huge step away from being the secular nation that we started out to be, that we need to be.
But let’s be clear … while the intent may be to deprive a woman of the right to have an abortion, this is not about abortion. This is not about whether a woman has a right to decide what is right for her, in some cases having an abortion. This is about whether a woman has a right to live or not. Planned Parenthood is not just about helping a woman get an abortion, and in fact that is a very small percentage of what they do.
As you can see, money spent on providing abortions is a mere 3% of their total, AND … NO FEDERAL MONIES are spent on abortion. Now, look at some of the other things they do …
- STD and HIV testing and treatment
- Birth control
- Screening for reproductive cancers (like breast, cervical, testicular, and prostate cancers)
- Pap tests and well woman exams
- PrEP and PEP (medicines to help prevent HIV)
- Pregnancy services and prenatal care
- Transgender health services, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Vasectomy and other sterilization services
Planned Parenthood saves lives. In many rural areas, they are the only provider of the above services that may save a woman’s life. Or a man’s, for you may note they also do screening for testicular and prostate cancers. They provide prenatal care … the anti-abortion group might do well to consider that they are robbing that fetus they care so much about of such things as the vitamins to ensure they are healthy, and regular screenings to detect any potential problems that might be avoided with timely treatment.
Evangelicals have been calling for the government to ‘de-fund’ Planned Parenthood for decades, but instead of de-funding it, the government set a criteria that they could no longer make abortion referrals. Planned Parenthood said, in essence, “Okay, keep your money then … for there are times that a woman’s life and health depend on abortion.”
There’s a certain irony here, too, that a large portion of what Planned Parenthood does involves birth control and family planning education, both of which significantly lower the need for abortions, and yet those who claim to be “pro-life” are depriving women of those services as well.
I do not applaud Planned Parenthood’s decision, but I do support it … it was the right thing for them to do. However, I do not support the government’s imposition of the criteria, I do not support the evangelicals who coerced the government into setting the criteria. Those evangelicals call themselves “pro-life”, but they are not. They are not considering the lives of the thousands of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, annual checkups, family planning services, and much more.
There will be backlash over this. I do not know what the end result will be, but somehow, we must continue to fund Planned Parenthood. They do not provide abortions with Title X funds, but only with private funding. They provide a tremendous service to women, they save lives of both babies and mothers, and they are an integral part of women’s healthcare, especially among lower income women.
I came across a short video on Scottie’s Toybox that I think explains the issue quite well … please take a minute or two … well, actually 7 minutes, but it is well worth the time spent.
Are we going to be held hostage in other areas by the evangelicals? Are we going to let them dictate, for example, that there must be mandatory religious classes in schools? Are we going to let them tell us that it is okay for employers to discriminate against LGBT people? The United States is, appropriately, a secular nation, not as some would believe, a Christian nation. Twenty-five percent, fully one-fourth of this nation are non-Christians. We are Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists and agnostics. We have a voice, too. We pay taxes, too. We contribute our skills and ideas as much as any. And 50.52% of this nation are women. We pay taxes and have a voice, too.
Abortion is not the root of all evil. Often a woman has an abortion because she is unable to provide for her child. The world is already over-populated and the last thing we need are more hungry mouths to feed. Those same people who call for an end to all abortions, also fight against their tax dollars going to help feed and shelter those children once they are born. Pro-life??? I don’t think so … just anti-women. If you ever doubted that it’s still a man’s world, doubt no more.