Planned Parenthood Needs Federal Funding

And the reasons have nothing to do with abortions. By Erica Palan

This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Last Saturday, I cried in the lobby of the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center, one of the Greater Philadelphia area’s 20 Planned Parenthood locations.

My tears of relief came last weekend when an employee told me my birth control would cost only $36 a month (instead of the $87 I’d been paying out of pocket for the last year when I switched insurance plans after a job transition).  For me, this savings is a huge amount of money.

But that kind of care could be eliminated if this legislation passes through the Senate and is not vetoed by President Obama.

To me, that is horrifying and the reasons why have nothing to do with abortion, though if you listen to some Republican pro-Lifers, you’d think that’s all Planned Parenthood does.

I have never had an abortion, but for almost 10 years — more than a third of my life — I’ve been going to Planned Parenthood.

Depending on my financial situations, I’ve gone for a variety of treatments— for things like birth control, but also for basic health exams and biopsies for cervical dysplasia.

Each year, 25,000 Philadelphians receive preventative care — read: not abortions — at Planned Parenthood. These people are like me; they’re looking to receive medical care for a realistic price. To take that option away is not just unfair, it’s downright unethical.

Planned Parenthood has drafted a petition that phrases my anger more articulately than I can muster through my seething right now:

How could you?

How could you betray millions of women — and men, and teens — who rely on Planned Parenthood for basic health care?

How could you condemn countless women in this country to undiagnosed cancer, unintended pregnancies, and untreated illnesses?

Your vote was not only against those who seek care at Planned Parenthood health centers, but against every one of us who has ever sought care there, and against every one of us who knows that when we are healthy, when we are in charge of our lives, we thrive.

It was a vote against me.

If you feel similarly, you can sign the petition here.

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  • Lauren

    Well said. I’ve also gone to Planned Parenthood for things like birth control and check ups. They are one of the only viable options for uninsured Americans. Of which there are, ya know, MANY.

  • Lee

    Why should I pay for your birth control?

  • Pete

    Lee, the answer to that question has been provided by the author of the article. There’s a whole lot more to Planned Parenthood than birth control. Where are people without the ability to purchase high-quality health care supposed to go. We, as a community must care for everyone. If you need a reason other than that, try one of these:
    Luke 6:38 The Scriptures, Matthew 25:31-40, Proverbs 14:21, Psalms 41:1-2

  • Joe

    It does not make sense to strip federal funding for planned parenthood (PP). The purpose of the federal government is to subsidize programs (direct spending or indirectly by tax credits) that not everyone will agree on or benefit from.

    Our system of government is made to protect minority interests from majority oppression. Luckily, this bill will have to go through the Senate as well as the President for presentment.

    Depriving PP of federal funds is that same as abandoning PP, effectively leaving it to the political whimsy of the single state and the people of that state. Yet, as constitutional jurisprudence makes clear, the federal law protects a woman’s right to choose birth control, abortion, etc. This proposed amendment serves to achieve political ends by means of cutting-off access to exercise this constitutionally protected individual decisions.

    While not everyone will agree with the services PP offers, those people have to understand that paying for government subsidies (especially ones that are political hot-potatoes) is part of the government’s role.

    In conclusion, suck it up and appreciate that we are a nation the protects individual rights.

  • Henry

    “In conclusion, suck it up and appreciate that we are a nation the protects individual rights.” …. Accept the rights of our most vulnerable.

  • Claire

    Planned Parenthood is my way of staying proactive about my health. It’s what allows me to tell my new boyfriend that I KNOW I don’t have Chlamydia, Ghonnorhea, HIV, or Herpes. Please don’t take that piece of mind away from me.

  • father of six

    Planned parenthood is just another way for people to receive subsidized health care from other people’s tax money. We already have Medicaid and Medicare. I don’t have a problem with PP, so long as I don’t have to pay for it. I don’t advocate shutting it down; let the participants foot the bill. Why should I have to pay for the consequences of other peoples reproductive choices, especially if I don’t agree with them?

  • Lauren

    Father of six: I don’t agree with your choice to bring SIX children into an overpopulated and under-resourced country and PLANET. Why should I have to pay for YOUR irresponsible reproductive choices, especially if I don’t agree with them? Why should I have to pay for all the potential expenses your half-dozen offspring will incur over the course of their lives? What if any of them EVER participates in a federally funded program? What if one or more of them is incarcerated? You should have thought about the potential expenses to me, and other tax paying Americans, before you decided to create so many future money-wasters.

  • UGH

    You make it sound like the $51 difference in the price of your birth control comes from a magical fairy. Newsflash! Someone else is paying for that.

    Abortion, preventative care, birth control, whatever. I’m not paying for it! What happened to individual responsibility in this country? But no, I’m the bad guy, causing oppression because I don’t want to pay for you?

    To Lauren: over-populated? Have you been to west Texas? It’s presumptuous to assume his children will be incarcerated. It’s fact that taxpayers are subsidizing birth control.

  • Pete

    Oh, and taxpayers aren’t paying for those children that are born? By the way the writer above didn’t assume anything. It’s a “what if” question.

  • Seth

    @ UGH
    Yes, you are teh bad guy – you said it, so you get it.
    We the people are responsible for We the people.
    How a society treats those who are most in need shows the true nature of that society.
    So preventing death and disgusting disease for those most in need is not your concern.. is it ?
    Be ashamed – you should be

  • great article Erica!

  • Natalie Hope McDonald

    You are so right, Erica. Planned Parenthood gives so many women reproductive options – including pregnancy prevention. It’s always interesting when many of the Republicans (the GOP led this crusade after all) criticize abortion but fail to support programs that prevent unwanted pregnancies…and programs that help care for kids…or that allow gays to adopt kids. The message becomes pretty confused, as in, stop having abortions, but we won’t help fund birth control and we won’t actually help you care for these kids when they are born. Good luck, ladies. Ending this funding is a truly dangerous decision for the future of our country.

  • father of six

    Interesting comment Lauren deserving of a rebuttal. I am married, employed as a surgeon, and am educating children that will one day pay taxes. I don’t think there is a more responsible form of reproduction- a married father and mother that bring children into this world, love them, provide for them, educate them, and help them become productive members of society. If more people adhered to God’s plan of reproduction, the twin scourges of abortion and the fatherless growing up in ghettos, would be drastically reduced. Planned parenthood is an abomination. It teaches reproductive irresponsibility, promotes promiscuity, and tries to sweep the sin of abortion under society’s rug. I DON’T WANT TO FUND IT MY TAXES!

  • Lisa

    I chose to be the mother of a single child…all we could afford, financially, or emotionally.

    I don’t like to fund the war in Iraq, or Afghanistan.
    I really hate that my taxes fund things like “abstinence only”…but that comes with being part of society.

    God’s plan? How DARE you decide what i should believe about God? My God thinks YOU are a selfish, heartless bigot. But I’m sure you Doctor will prove me wrong. Prove that you supply medical services to women who have the need of them, even if they can’t pay.

    Oh that’s right…you don’t HAVE to.

    Judge ye not….

  • father of six

    I provide services to men and women on a daily basis, regardless of their ability to pay. As for my GOD, I suppose I should have clarified that- Jesus Christ.