Opinion: Defunding Planned Parenthood would be a disaster

The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds almost solely on the grounds that the organization offers abortion services.

If the replacement passes in Congress, the defunding of Planned Parenthood will be detrimental for our nation socially, politically and economically.

Economically, the Congressional Budget Office has predicted that eliminating the federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood would result in thousands of additional unintended pregnancies in just one year alone.

After Texas eliminated funds for Planned Parenthood, the state saw 24,000 unplanned births, which raised state and federal taxpayer’s Medicaid costs by up to $273 million from 2014 to 2015.

Planned Parenthood states that 80 percent of its patients are low-income, which will lead to women unable to afford the healthcare that they need, which could then mean a heavier burden on the taxpayers who have to pay for costly emergency medical bills.

In the social context, the three million patients a year that visit Planned Parenthood’s 650 health clinics around the country would lose access to many health services, such as vaccinations, breast exams, STD testing, birth control and cancer screenings.

It could also lead to a potential outbreak of STDs. When vice president Mike Pence eliminated the funding for Planned Parenthood as the governor of Indiana, an HIV epidemic broke out shortly after. The Planned Parenthood in the county didn’t even offer abortion services, and was the only HIV testing center in the area.

Politically, women’s achievement of optimal sexual and reproductive health are fundamental to ensuring the good health of women around the world. With our government dominated by men, why should they control women’s access to healthcare or family planning? Personal viewpoints, specifically religious ones, should be irrelevant in government decisions.

Conservatives target Planned Parenthood specifically because they are one of the leading provider of abortions in the United States – even though abortions make up a mere 3 percent of those services. Federal funding is also never used to pay for them due to a law known as the Hyde Amendment that has prohibited using federal money for abortions since 1977.

So, why should Planned Parenthood be prohibited from receiving federal assistance when they use those funds to provide health services that are legal in the U.S.?

Increased access to contraception essentially saves thousands of women’s lives around the world. It is one of the most effective ways to counteract unsafe abortions, especially when abortions will happen whether it is legal or not, as we’ve seen in our country’s history.

Regarding the few abortions that Planned Parenthood do perform, there are many misconceptions about the alleged allegations that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue.

After a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, voted for a state investigation, two anti-abortion activists were indicted. According to NPR, these activists came from the Center for Medical Progress, which is the same organization that released the false videos that claimed Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal body parts.

Investigations in twelve different states have yet to find any sort of evidence to prove that Planned Parenthood was profiting off fetal tissue.

Many people also don’t understand why women can’t simply go to their community health centers instead of going to Planned Parenthood.

Federal health centers generally charge fees for services. Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization — meaning that anyone who goes in there does not have to pay for their services. This is a fundamental difference for less privileged patients, such as teens without support from their parents or those who do not have insurance.

Women’s health is optimal for the success of our nation. For many women, Planned Parenthood is the only place where they are able to get the quality care they need. Defunding it would be a disaster.