Planned Parenthood: Not an abortion factory

When Planned Parenthood opened its doors in October 1916, it was originally called the American Birth Control League. One hundred years later, it remains a leading provider of birth control and sex education in the United States.

While abortion and the pro-choice and pro-life argument is still a hot button topic in US politics, it’s time to clear up the common misconception that Planned Parenthood uses federal funding for abortions and abortions only. In reality, the preventative care it provides vastly outweighs abortions by more than 80 percent.

In fact, it could be argued that Planned Parenthood could be the No. 1 preventor of abortion. Only 3 percent of its services are abortions, with all of the rest being forms of preventative care, be it through birth control or cancer screenings.

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood still carries the stigma of being likened to an abortion factory by many, particularly those on the conservative side. However, the organization does its part to prevent abortion by offering pregnancy testing and alternative methods of birth control, including free condoms.

When it comes to options, Planned Parenthood offers the most with the least amount of partiality. While Planned Parenthood gets the majority of its funding through private sectors, 43 percent of its funds are government health service grants and reimbursements through Medicaid.

People find fault with the fact that Planned Parenthood gets a large part of its funding from the government.

However, the services that people receive from Planned Parenthood are far more practical and have less to do with performing abortions and more to do with women’s health. Its 2015 data shows that more than 600,000 tests were conducted in regards to women’s health. Tests like these bring attention to possible early signs of cancer, be it through breast exams or pap smears to provide early detection of cervical cancer.

People being up in arms about Planned Parenthood offering abortions forget that in the last year, it provided almost 3 million people with birth control, be it through emergency contraceptives or general forms of birth control. With statistics like that, it could be argued that Planned Parenthood is the leading force that prevents pregnancy, preventing more abortions in the long-run.

Planned Parenthood provides a place where women can get safe and affordable health care. Common sense says that everyone deserves a chance to receive top notch health care, no matter their social situation.

For a country that is largely based in the middle class, Planned Parenthood is the most sensible institution for monitoring women’s health.

Alternative forms of health care include Obamacare or barely affordable private insurance, but Planned Parenthood offers more thorough testing and services for little to no cost out of pocket.

Another form of private women’s health care is the pregnancy care center. You may recognize the large RVs that linger around parking lots, accepting patients, but those services offer things like pregnancy and post-abortion counseling, but not actually abortion itself. These clinics stigmatize abortion and disqualify it as an option before one can even think to make a decision.

To lure vulnerable women into pregnancy counseling to help make a decision and bombard them with anti-abortion propaganda is not the same as fair, impartial health care.

Regardless of conservative opinion, women are entitled to a choice when it comes to their bodies. It should be decided on a person-to-person basis what a woman wants to do when she finds herself pregnant, without consequence or judgement. I’m tired of middle-aged white men making decisions about my body and the bodies of women all over the country.

Planned Parenthood offers services that help women lead healthy and happy lives, without worry of whether or not their insurance will continue to pay for their birth control, or whether or not they’re able to afford a mammogram out of pocket this year.

We need to stop treating Planned Parenthood as an abortion factory and start qualifying it as legitimate health care for women at a reasonable price. There are women everywhere who are not receiving proper pregnancy prevention, care or health care and that is because there’s a stigma behind going to Planned Parenthood. Fair, impartial health care should be an option for all and it’s a shame that it’s not yet.