And now, on to the national scene. As I’m sure everyone knows by now, the House voted last Friday 240 – 185 to defund Planned Parenthood, which has 800 clinics across the nation and provides thousands of women with family planning, birth control, STD treatment, pap smears, and primary gynecological health care annually (and yes, they also provide abortions, but only 2% of their budget actually goes to that). From a Kaiser Healthcare article explaining both sides of the debate:
“[Rep. Mike] Pence [R-Ind.] has acknowledged that health centers use Title X money to perform valuable services that he supports, but he contends that the funds are also being used to support abortions indirectly by covering operating costs and other related expenses for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
“Eliminating Title X funding has never been my goal,” he said on the floor Thursday. “My focus has and will remain on denying taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood or any organization that provides or promotes abortion as a means of birth control.”
My argument with this is that once again, abortion and birth control are getting mixed up, and they are two totally different things. This frustrates me no end. Family planning and birth control helps to avoid abortions! If our country is so strongly anti-abortion, this is EXACTLY the type of organization we should be supp orting, not defunding. I have personally used Planned Parenthood before as a student in order to obtain birth control, and as a midwife I personally send many of my patients to their clinics since 1) they accept medicaid (and all of my patients are medicaid-only recipients) and 2) they have the Mirena IUD and are willing to insert it into medicaid-only patients (my hospital unfortunately only has the copper-T IUD on offer, so patients seeking the Mirena need to go elsewhere; the Mirena, of course, is a form of BIRTH CONTROL).
Planned Parenthood is now currently trying to raise money and defend itself in the Senate against further legislative attacks. Luckily, I seriously doubt that the Senate will approve the same level of draconian cuts to Title X funding, and even if they do, President Obama has vowed to veto such a bill. Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood NEEDS YOUR HELP! With the anti-woman climate in Washington right now, it is very naive to sit back on our heels and assume that the Senate will automatically turn this aside. Write a letter to your Senator, call or speak with your Senator, or sign PP’s Open Letter to Congress. Or, if you’re in the NYC area, attend the Planned Parenthood New York’s Rally at Foley Square at 1:00 pm this Sat. 2/26.