Every time I see #WomenAgainstFeminism and #WomenBetrayed trending on twitter, I get more and more upset. This time, the topic of these tags is Planned Parenthood. Regardless of whatever “crime” Planned Parenthood may or may not have committed (Planned Parenthood has been accused of selling fetal tissues from aborted babies), they have done a lot of good for women (and men, too) in the United States.
Planned Parenthood has helped thousands and thousands of men and women everyday who struggle with unplanned pregnancies, STD testings, etc. Very few of what Planned Parenthood does involves abortions (which are safe, legal, and the choice of the women who seek help from Planned Parenthood).
Abortion is a very controversial topic that every person seems to have an opinion on, whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice. The platform behind these pro-life movements are that abortions are immoral because they are killing babies, and Planned Parenthood is the root of this evil. You can look at any pro-life webpage and see that they claim large percentages of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortions to pregnant women, like this one at Life News.
These statistics, however, are very very wrong. Abortions compose only 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides (332,000 terminations out of 11.4 million services provided in 2009 according to a Washington Post piece.)
So with only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services involving abortions, what other services do they offer to the 2.7 million men and women who seek help from the organization every year? These services include screenings for cancer (such as breast, cervical, and ovarian), pregnancy screenings and support, screenings for AIDS/HIV and other STDs, and general health and reproductive services for girls and women at risk. Many of these services are provided to people of low-income who cannot afford to have these tests done elsewhere, or people who are at risk at home or with their relationships (many teenage girls who become pregnant and must hide this from their families, or risk being kicked out).
But does anyone discuss those services, or the millions of women and men Planned Parenthood has helped? Of course not. Everyone is concerned with the 3%, the abortions that Planned Parenthood has assisted with (which, again, were performed safely and legally). I partly blame the poor sex education U.S. schools provide to their students, considering almost everyone behind the #WomenBetrayed campaign does not seem to understand the difference between a fetus and a baby. Stating that Planned Parenthood allegedly donates fetal tissue, and that it allegedly donates baby tissue are two very different concepts.
Regardless of your opinion on abortion, do you really want to condemn an organization (whose main goal to provide men and women with reproductive health services) because you disagree with 3% of its services, especially when there are more concerning matters to become enraged about? For instance, the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill lawsuit is still going on (and BP is trying to get out of paying for the irreparable damage it did in the Gulf). There are a lot of things Americans could get angry over, so why choose Planned Parenthood? This isn’t about saving a fetus (which, for those who do not know, is far from being a baby), this is about supporting women’s reproductive health (and general) rights.