It is no secret that for the past 11 years, the U.S. has been spending outside its means. Between the war on terror, the massive bailout of some of the largest corporations in the U.S. and the deficit spending used to restart the economy, the U.S. has managed to rack up a $1.1 trillion debt. The promise of cutting government spending became the rallying cry of the 2010 midterm elections, and the newly minted Congress has wasted no time trying to whittle away at the U.S.’s massive debt.
This past Friday the House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood (PP), a nationwide organization that provides reproductive health and family planning services to men, women and teenagers.
It is important to note that PP provides family planning services on the College’s campus.
More often than not, PP is one of the only places where women and men can receive family planning services and reproductive health advice at low or no cost. Services provided by PP include but are not limited to: sexual health education, birth control, pelvic exams, cancer screenings, STI testing and pre-natal care.
At other gynecological offices, these services can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, but PP has historically charged only as much as the patient can afford, thanks to their sliding scale fee policy. This policy has been able to be maintained because of the amount of federal funding the organization has continually received.
In a recent debate in the House of Representatives, PP came under fire because some of its offices provide abortion services to patients. Many anti-choice advocates are outraged over this fact because many are misinformed that federal tax dollars are used to fund these abortions.
However, federal money has not been able to be used to fund abortions since 1976 because of the passage and continual reissuance of the Hyde Amendment.
The Hyde Amendment stipulates that American tax dollars cannot be used to fund abortions; this amendment primarily affects men and women who receive their health insurance through Medicaid.
Coincidentally enough, PP provides services to many of those people who fall under Medicaid’s health insurance umbrella. Even with the existence of the Hyde Amendment, many members of the anti-choice movement have convinced themselves that since their tax dollars help fund PP, they are helping to fund abortions.
This past week in Congress, the attack on Planned Parenthood was taken to new heights with mostly Republican, mostly male, members of the House leading the charge.
What these representatives do not realize, or choose to ignore, is that by cutting federal funding to PP they are not stopping PP’s ability to provide abortion services, as PP has not been able to use federal money for abortions since 1976.
What these cuts will do is deny men and women other family planning services that they could not receive elsewhere, including birth control, which helps prevent abortions.
This new action of the anti-choice movement is not only based on misinformation but is also counterintuitive; the best hope for PP now is for pro-choice advocates to stand up and declare: I Stand with Planned Parenthood!