Planned Parenthood provides vital services to low-income individuals

Catherine Pigg

Opinion Writer

cpigg@unca.edu

Planned Parenthood states it is one of the largest providers of reproductive health centers in the nation. They provide necessary sexual and reproductive health care, education and outreach to nearly 500 million women, men and adolescents annually worldwide. Yet despite the services they provide, Planned Parenthood continues to be under threat of having its federal funding cut by conservatives.

One of the biggest criticisms made by right-wing pro lifers against Planned Parenthood is their abortion services. However, Planned Parenthood statistics report abortion makes up only 3 percent of their services provided and no federal funding can legally go toward these abortion related services.

What many conservatives either do not realize or just simply choose to ignore is how Planned Parenthood works to prevent unwanted pregnancies, which in turn lowers the rate of abortion. According to Planned Parenthood, they prevent an estimated 579,000 unwanted pregnancies annually.

Female-bodied individuals usually have different reasons for not wanting a child; some of these being their financial status, emotional or mental well-being, their physical health or even just simply not wanting to have children.

Outlawing abortion and contraceptives will not stop abortions from happening, it will just result in women, especially those from low income backgrounds, turning to unsafe alternatives for abortion.  

In 2014, 20.2 million women in the U.S. were in need of family planning services. Planned Parenthood’s affiliated health centers serve 36 percent of all clients receiving care from publicly funded family planning centers, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

It provides other necessary services for both women and men. The Government Accountability Office reports 41 percent of their services goes toward sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment, which is their most used service. Additionally, they provide sex education to nearly 1.5 million young individuals and adults per year.

Their health centers offer mammograms, pap smears, breast exams, physical exams, anemia testing, diabetes screening, cholesterol screening, flu vaccines, blood pressure screening, tetanus vaccines and thyroid screening, along with numerous other medical services.

Planned Parenthood is often a necessary health center to many low income individuals across the U.S. Planned Parenthood reports their affiliated health centers serve over 2.8 million individuals, 83 percent of these people are aged 20 or older. Among those individuals, 79 percent held incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

Planned Parenthood clinics and health centers provide care for everyone without judging the circumstances which might have brought them there. They work as a necessary form of healthcare for many low income individuals, but without federal funding for Planned Parenthood these patients risk losing necessary and affordable treatment.

Instead of demonizing them for only 3 percent of their total services, conservatives should be more concerned with giving better opportunities for low income families and especially mothers in the workplace. They should work on providing realistic sex education rather than preaching only abstinence and make contraceptives easier to attain. If they are truly pro life, then they should realize Planned Parenthood improves the lives of many individuals within the U.S.

 

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