Some time ago, on a regular Monday afternoon, I was driving past the Planned Parenthood clinic in my town and saw people protesting outside. This isn’t an unusual occurrence, but the signs they were holding sure were because they said “Defund Planned Parenthood” on them. Enter my anger of Hulk-like proportions.
Now, I understand that abortion is a touchy subject. It’s emotional and I think it’s difficult for it not to be. But to me, these people are fighting the wrong “enemy”. If you want to try and fight against abortion, don’t do it by taking away the public’s access to appropriate health care and *gasp* affordable contraceptives.
See, this is where we enter the thunder dome of hot feminist issues. The issue on the table here isn’t really abortion at all – it’s access to affordable health care, especially for poor and underserved populations of women. Access to affordable birth control is SO important to me and one of the main reasons of why I ever became a feminist in the first place. Do you know how much access to birth control – and thus the right to control when and if we ever had babies – changed the role of women in the world? It did, BIG time.
Only 3% of services Planned Parenthood provided last year were abortion related. That means that 97% of the services they provided to the community were things like treating STD’s, providing contraception, women’s general health services and cancer screenings. Just to highlight how important these services are to the community, last year the Governor of Indiana closed several rural Planned Parenthood clinics and do you know what the result was? An HIV outbreak in those counties – a public health crisis.
I think about all the women who came before me and all the battles they had to fight so that I could enjoy the things I do today. Voting, going to college and sexual freedom are just a few of the gifts bestowed upon me by women of older generations. What is my fight? I’m knocking on the door of 40 and when I think about the kind of world I want my daughters to be women in, having access to affordable birth control and the right to control their own bodies is probably one of the biggest gifts I can give them. So, this is our fight. Do we let misinformation and political agendas win or do we fight the good fight and help to keep Planned Parenthood going? I say it’s the latter.
We’ve got an election year coming up and certainly this will continue to be a hot-button issue. I understand why; it motivates the electoral base of a lot of politicians to go out and vote. But I don’t think this is something that is just going to be fought in the voting booth come November 2016. I think that the larger issue here is to deal with facts, so I encourage each and every one of you to learn the real facts about Planned Parenthood and the services they provide. Then, every time you hear a person tell an untruth about this organization, point them in the right direction. This is how you inform people, and call me an optimist but I think being informed is empowering and helps people to make the right choice. Knowledge is the best weapon in the fight against ignorance.
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