LGBT Folks Should Stand With Planned Parenthood
I live close enough to the Planned Parenthood location at 12th and Locust here in Philly to have seen one too many protests outside of their doors. In essence, this Planned Parenthood is smack right in the middle of the Gayborhood, and I’d argue that isn’t a mistake.
The misnomer throughout the entire Planned Parenthood debacle has been the focus on their abortion services. Yes, Planned Parenthood offers safe abortion options, but the focus strictly on abortion in this case is highly problematic for a few reasons. First, let’s not forget that abortion is legal. Second, as brilliantly put by Senator Elizabeth Warren, not a single penny of federal money goes towards abortion services.
The fight over Planned Parenthood needs to remain focused on a much larger issue: It is a fight not only on women’s healthcare, but sexual healthcare for all genders, sexualities, and sexual identities. The fight is, on the most basic level, a fight over a patriarchal system that believes that men can dictate over other people’s bodies, and that is something LGBT folks simply should not stand for.
In fact, Planned Parenthood has dedicated services for LGBT youth, including an entire online tutorial that shares basics for kids coming out. They also offer a whole array of reproductive health, general health, and sexual health services for both men and women, including STI screenings, physical exams, flu shots, and more.
The biggest thing LGBT folks can do to to assist Planned Parenthood is to educate people. There is a mass amount of misinformation floating around that is being spread like wildfire about Planned Parenthood services, and we ought to counteract that rhetoric with the truth. I suggest heading on your social media accounts and showing your support. A simple Tweet can make a huge difference, and I suggest following actress and advocate Martha Plimpton on Twitter for some of the best commentary (and, also, a stark reality of what people think about Planned Parenthood, as she retweets those messages, too). I had a good Twitter convo with her last evening:
I appreciate that! Your support is awesome. And yes, it IS an utter freak show. https://t.co/FLWt7o4hKl
— Martha Plimpton (@MarthaPlimpton) September 29, 2015
Margaret Cho is saying the right things, too, and she sums it up best:
That's the most important part of Planned Parenthood. Planning the parenthood. That's what it's for. It helps low income women have babies
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) September 29, 2015
Planned Parenthood also needs donations. Badly. If you have the means, head over to their website and make a monetary contribution. Also, if you’ve ever seen folks donning yellow vests outside their centers, they’re generally volunteers to assist patients into the building, usually when there are protestors outside. That’s another good option to help.
The bottom line is that the fight over Planned Parenthood isn’t just a fight for cisgender women: It is a fight for all genders and all sexualities. We need to do what we can to demystify the untruths and solidify a person’s right to do what they want with his or her body.