Saturday, February 19, 2011

Please stand with Planned Parenthood

I am sickened by the nakedly ideological attack by the Republican party on Planned Parenthood.

I cannot count the number of friends I know who have used Planned Parenthood as their ONLY affordable, accessible resource for gynecological care, birth control, STI testing, emergency contraception, and yes, also abortion. Those are services that save women's lives, and allow them to protect their current health and protect their future fertility. Regardless of what anyone may think of Planned Parenthood's provision of abortion services (a LEGAL service for which they use NO federal money, and to which all of 3% of their total funds go) the Republicans are attempting to defund a major source of Americans' access to primary health care. Not just reproductive health care - primary health care, period. For many people - especially women - Planned Parenthood is their primary care provider: they have nowhere else to go.

There is a conception by conservatives I have spoken to that Planned Parenthood pushes abortions and promiscuous sex (via "pushing" birth control?) and relies on somehow manipulating their consumers into these choices, all to make a profit (I guess the fact that they are a non-profit organization is just a minor detail.)

I knew someone exposed to this propaganda who was shocked - shocked - when she met a nurse who worked at Planned Parenthood and found out that this nurse was a normal, nice person who cared about mothers and babies. It was so completely different from the idea of Planned Parenthood that had been marketed to her by conservative religious organizations. It is an idea that is so ludicrous and at odds with my experiences and those of everyone I know who has used Planned Parenthood's services, or worked for their organization.

It's disgusting and disturbing, a ridiculous foundation for legislation, and I cannot imagine where millions of Americans will turn for these services if Planned Parenthood loses their federal funding.

Please stand with me in standing with Planned Parenthood and sign this petition now. Please share it with your friends on your blog, on Facebook, and/or via e-mail.

And please watch this video of a brave and honest woman sharing her personal experience, on the House floor:


Susan said...

In 2007 the State of Michigan redistributed funds for Planned Parenthood clinics, based on population, and the clinic in the town where I was going to college was shut down. For my senior research project in public health, I looked at the effect the closing had on college students. Luckily the county health department is located in that town, so a lot of students who had previously been using PP switched over to the health department (which also utilized a sliding scale for reproductive health services; I don't think that they provided abortions, but neither did this particular PP clinic). Otherwise I think it's pretty likely that students who HAD been using PP would have gone without care, or would have had to figure out how to afford to go to student health services on campus (no sliding scale, ridiculously expensive for the average college student). And considering that the incidence of unplanned pregnancy is growing the fastest among 18- to 23-year-olds, this really could have been a rough situation.

Rebecca said...

Susan, I would love to hear more about your project! Would you consider writing a summary or posting some excerpts as a guest post?

Mama Z said...

I would be delighted! Let me know when/how you want the info. :)

Rebecca said...

Shoot me an e-mail at and let's figure it out!

Hannah said...

Sorry, can't agree with this one (love the rest of your blog, though). I know that all clinics (and employees) are different, and that there is propaganda out there portraying them all as dangerous evil places.
I do believe, however, that many clinics do "push" abortion, and several PP employees have been caught covering up statutory rape and other illegal things (I think they were fired, though). A high school classmate of mine went in for a pregnancy test and when it was positive she says they assumed she would want an abortion (she didn't).

Even though PP provides many legitimate services (STI testing, etc.), I would prefer that funding go to some other type of organization that did not offer abortion or emergency contraception that I am morally opposed to. Is there really "no where else to go", or do you mean nowhere else within an affordable price range, because there is a difference.

Rebecca said...

Hannah, on what do you base your belief that clinics push abortion? What led your classmate to feel that the clinic assumed she wanted an abortion? Did she feel pushed by them into getting one?

The case you're referring to, in which a clinic manager was caught advising people posing as sex traffickers, did result in the manager being fired:

I'm not really sure what the difference is between having nowhere to go that is affordable, and having nowhere to go at all. The way our health system works is that if you can't pay for it, you can't access it (unless it's an emergency situation and the provider is compelled to provide services, in which case you may be paying for it for the rest of your life).

It might seem plausible to you that these dollars could be rerouted to some non-profit organization more in line with your specific prohibitions (although as far as I know none exists). But while morally you may draw the line at supporting low-cost clinics that provide EC and abortion, other people are morally opposed to IUDs and oral contraceptives, and some people are also opposed to condoms and diaphragms, and some people are opposed to any form of birth control - even FAM. The fact is all of those, from condoms to abortions, are equally legal and FDA-approved in this country. Until one of them isn't, I don't see where anyone has a right or ability to draw moral distinctions in allocating government funding for needed reproductive health services. And given the number of different competing moralities around this issue, I think it would be very difficult to do.