Get Informed, Edited

I apologize. I haven’t had a chance to expand on the thoughts of this link I posted earlier. I don’t mean this post to be controversial. I merely want to share my thoughts about what is going on and share personal experiences that hopefully will shed some light on why this cause is so important to me.

On February 18th, the House of Representatives voted to “defund” Title X. Title X provides federal money for programs the offer family planning/women’s reproductive health services. This defunding directly impacts the largest organization that provides these services, Planned Parenthood. To be clear, because some people closely associate Planned Parenthood with only abortion, Title X DOES NOT provide federal money for abortions. All of the Title X money Planned Parenthood receives goes directly to providing confidential, affordable health care for women, men, and teens who otherwise cannot afford insurance or their insurance is inadequate. They provide birth control, annual exams and pap smears, pregnancy testing, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, HIV/AIDS testing, vasectomies, emergency contraception, community education and outreach, counseling, HPV vaccine, and adoption information. Services that are crucial for women and men’s reproductive health. I want to make it clear that this debate IS NOT about abortion.

A close relative of mine is a care provider at Planned Parenthood. I believe the care she provides is vital to the people in my community. Her clinic serves low-income people who do not have insurance. They also serve middle-class people who cannot afford private insurance. Their fees are on a sliding scale basis and they never turn anyone away because they can’t pay. Can you say that about your OB/GYN?

From the link I provided, you can go to your state and see how the funding from Title X directly affects your neighbors. I live in Utah, so I will focus on it’s numbers. Planned Parenthood of Utah serves 43,000 people a year. Each year, they provide 31,000 people with STI testing, 122,000 women with pap tests, 10,000 women with breast exams, and 39,000 people with birth control. In Utah, 97% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are the women’s health services mentioned above. Where are these people supposed to go if the government is successful in denying them care through defunding Title X?

This is what I’m afraid of, the government taking women’s choices away. Speaking as an Adoption caseworker, there are states right now working very hard to take away a woman’s right to place her baby for adoption because they believe that natural families should be maintained at all costs (and it should be obvious to point out that the people who bear those “costs” are the innocent children). When it comes to family matters and reproduction, I believe the government needs to stay out of it. Reproductive choices are between a woman, her partner, her doctor, and her God. Not between her and the whims of the rotating elected officials in office.

My relative who works for Planned Parenthood told me that 75% of what she does at her clinic is pap smears/pelvic exams. She has never, will never, and has never been asked to perform an abortion. Only one Planned Parenthood clinic in Utah offers this service after one clinic in Utah had to close it’s doors. Planned Parenthood offers abortion counseling where they give their clients facts about the procedure and counsel them heavily on their other options like parenting and adoption. Nationally, abortion only accounts for 4% of the medical services provided at Planned Parenthood. Even though I really really hate the idea of abortion and would much rather have a woman consider an alternative plan such as adoption, I’m not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water and cut 96% of the very much needed, and vital services Planned Parenthood provides because of some ill-informed vendetta.

This makes me angry. I care about women and I care about their health, being that I am a woman and primarily I work with women. I am pro-family, pro-child, and pro-choice. As a side note, the Planned Parenthood in my community has referred women to my agency interested in adoption. How come when Congress wants to slash the budget the first people they go after are the poor and women?

As for as personal experience goes, Planned Parenthood was very important to me at a certain time in my life. Without getting too personal, they allowed me to plan my own parenthood. And they did so in a very kind manner. They never judged me, never pressured me into a decision I didn’t want to make, and I genuinely felt like they were there to help me. They treated me like a person and not a patient. When the hubs and I were newlyweds our insurance would not pay for birth control. This pissed me off to my feminist core. For the birth control I wanted I would have had to shell out $65 a month. This was an astronomical expense considering we were poor, college students and worked crappy jobs. Some times I don’t know how we ever survived. Because of Planned Parenthood, I had access to affordable birth control.

A couple of years later when I was pregnant with my first child and went to a regular OB/GYN office I was shocked that they did not provide the same quality service that Planned Parenthood did. No one sat and talked with me and gave me information. No one treated me with as much care and concern. I was just a patient, and I remained just a patient until I finally become fed up and transferred my services to a midwife.

Personally, I think this defunding of Title X is a misogynistic attack on women and a classist attack on the poor. If the ultra right wing tea partiers in Congress are doing this to prevent abortion (which this issue is not about) than they are going about it the wrong way. Planned Parenthood PREVENTS more abortions than they ever will perform. I would ask that if you are of a like mind, you sign the petition on the link.

As for me, I stand with Planned Parenthood.


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