Women across the country are standing with Planned Parenthood for #PinkOutDay amid the highly publicized testimony of the organization’s president Cecile Richards during today's congressional hearing.
Although the fight is far from over and many determined pro-life activists and Republicans will continue trying to find ways to cut-off Planned Parenthood’s funding, today women who value the control of their own reproductive health decisions can celebrate that the funding will continue for now.
Planned Parenthood has been a source of controversy since its founding, but recent attacks stem from the release of a misleading and edited video that showed officials from the organization trying to sell fetal tissue.
“The latest smear campaign is based on efforts by our opponents to entrap our doctors and clinicians into breaking the law — and once again our opponents failed," Richards said.
The chaos that ensued following the video’s distribution led to the threat of a government shutdown.
In addition to the arguments regarding abortion and the supposed "black market fetal tissue scandal," are complaints from right-winged politicians that think Planned Parenthood pushes a Democratic agenda.
Abortions, however, only make up about 3% of Planned Parenthood's services and none of the federal funding the organization receives is used for those abortions, as Richards stressed in her testimony.
So, rather than simply stating the obvious about why Planned Parenthood's services are important let’s just take a look at what life would be like if it no longer existed or lacked the funding necessary to sustain all of its services...
Returning to the horrific days of “coat-hanger abortions” and other self-induced miscarriage methods.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and we can almost guarantee that rape victims, scared teens, unmarried women, career driven women who aren’t ready to add children to their plates and others will look to Google and wives’ tales to terminate their own unwanted pregnancies without access to an abortion.
Needless to say, throwing yourself down a flight of stairs, enlisting friends to kick you in the stomach or inserting foreign objects into your own uterus are extremely dangerous and harmful to the female reproductive system. Why would we want to risk seeing women nationwide resort to this?
Increased unplanned pregnancies
Without access to free contraception, many women and unemployed teens who can’t afford to purchase it from a drug store will undoubtedly end up pregnant. Not to mention the fact that taking away access to contraception strips away a woman's ability to decide when she's ready to have a child.
Unplanned pregnancies can result in a domino effect of unfortunate events including; psychological issues for the child growing up with a parent who didn’t want them, the child ending up in the foster system (which is already overcrowded) and/or severe depression for mother and child.
Furthermore, if the woman couldn’t afford to pay for contraception in the first place, she likely can’t afford to take care of a child either so they are likely to end up living in poverty or on government assistance programs, which we all know the right-wing doesn’t want.
Increased untreated STI’s & late cancer detection
Most sexually transmitted infections go untreated for long periods of time already because in addition to embarrassment and denial, it can also take months or even years for STI symptoms to show themselves.
Just imagine if women didn’t have easy access to testing and treatment through Planned Parenthood? Those cases of untreated, undiagnosed diseases would skyrocket. There are already nearly 19 million new STD infections each year, according to healthypeople.gov.
Untreated STI’s can also have a domino effect that could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer or infertility.
While we’re speaking of cancer, what would happen to the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for their annual screenings? We can bet that they probably won’t get checkups as frequently which could result in late detection, possibly even too late.
Let's Consider The Rebuttals...
There's the argument that there are countless other medical facilities throughout the country well-versed in women's health. But, if Planned Parenthood was gone tomorrow would these clinics and centers be prepared to handle the huge influx of female patients?
Would pro-life and religion-based medical facilities be willing to start offering contraception even though their faith condemns it?
Yes, federal funding can be transferred to other clinics and medical centers to be designated for family planning and women's health services, but many of these other facilities have focused their efforts in other areas because Planned Parenthood dominates women's health care and therefore, the other places are not equipped to handle all of the cases that Planned Parenthood does.
There are so many factors that play into this issue, we could go on all day...But you get the point, life without Planned Parenthood looks pretty bleak for women — particularly lower-to-middle class women without the financial means or medical insurance to go to private physicians.