Why Planned Parenthood is so important and why we have to stop the stigma surrounding it.
By Brielle Sparacino
In January it was announced by House Speaker, Paul Ryan, that all federal funding for Planned Parenthood would be stripped as part of the process to get rid of Obamacare. Like countless other debates concerning civil rights and human decency, the war against PP, as well as the debate between pro-choice and pro-life supporters, has been long and tedious with no end in sight. What Planned Parenthood is really about and why it is so essential that this nonprofit organization receive the proper funding to remain a safe space for not only women but people of all ages, will be explained.
The biggest stigma surrounding Planned Parenthood is that it is only used when a woman needs an abortion, this statement is false. Yes, Planned Parenthood focuses heavily on prevention; according to their website, “80 percent of [their] patients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.” However, only “three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.”
Not only does PP focus on prevention of unintended pregnancy, they also focus on women’s overall health. The nonprofit organization provides more than 270,000 Pap smear tests and 360,000 breast exams per year, which are both essential (and usually costly) services needed to detect whether or not a woman has cervical and/or breast cancer. The doctors and nurses who work at Planned Parenthood also make sure to educate their patients about breast and cervical care and provide resources their patients can feel comfortable reaching out to.
Another valuable service provided by Planned Parenthood is testing for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. “More than 4.2 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including more than 650,000 HIV tests” are given to individuals on an as-needed basis. There is also an abundance of general health care services provided to patients at PP centers around the country, including: anemia testing, diabetes screening, cholesterol screening, flu and tetanus vaccines, high blood pressure and thyroid screening, physicals and help to quit smoking. This organization does not just offer their services to women; they offer proactive and preventative measures for both men and women and anyone in between.
Not only are these services available and beneficial to the people who need them, but general women’s health education and reproductive awareness are significant additions to the program. On Planned Parenthood’s website, there is information on Endometriosis, Menopause, Menstruation, HPV testing and yeast infections and Vaginitis, in addition to information on breast screenings and cervical cancer.
Planned Parenthood is truly a safe haven for women, men and young people alike, to gain access to important and necessary healthcare services without having to worry about cost, judgement or safety. Women’s health and sex education are not topics that are easily or commonly discussed and Planned Parenthood acts as the gateway to learning about safe sex, relationships and general health. If someone is against abortion, they are still welcomed into a Planned Parenthood clinic with open arms; discrimination has never been nor will it ever be an issue at PP. Defunding this organization would deprive so many people the opportunity to receive insightful information on how to properly take care of their bodies. The goal of this article was not to defend one side or the other; it was to simply explain why Planned Parenthood is such a fundamental part of American culture, especially in this day and age. If you or someone you know needs access to a Planned Parenthood clinic for any reason, please visit their website www.plannedparenthood.org.