At an Ohio campaign stop in October, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated that he would end federal funding of Planned Parenthood if elected. His reasoning for doing so? He is a “pro-life candidate” and would be a “pro-life president.”
This is the kind of delusional reasoning that has dominated the debate over Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides many other services besides abortions. By proposing to cut funding and shut Planned Parenthood’s doors, Romney is effectively dimming the future for women everywhere.
Planned Parenthood’s federally and locally funded clinics have taken an unnecessary and unwarranted beating from conservatives. The general conservative consensus has been that Planned Parenthood is a liberal, anti-religion organization that helps teen mothers abort their babies and gives out condoms to promote salacious sexual activity. Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas even said in September, “Besides slavery, abortion is the other darkest stain on our nation’s character,” and called Planned Parenthood a “racist organization.”
As Planned Parenthood has become synonymous with abortion, an unnecessary, polarizing frenzy has taken over debate about the organization. This valuable organization, which was born out of America’s need to combat the problem of inadequate health care provisions for women, has been attacked by unwarranted hysteria.
Conservatives have yet to realize that only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services is dedicated to abortion. The other 97 percent consists of life-saving cancer testing and treatment, advice for contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and various procedures unavailable to women who can’t afford private health care, such as pap smears.
Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood will not stop people from having sex, but it will take away an organization that provides sexual health support and services that many women cannot access anywhere else.
Planned Parenthood is simply helping those in need. Instead of fighting the system, it gives young girls the chance to live their lives knowing that there is a place that they can go to for help with serious health issues.
Judging others is natural, but male politicians must cease making decisions on matters that are of no concern to them. Regardless of one’s stance on abortion, he or she has no right to force that opinion upon another. Vice President Joe Biden voiced this idea during the vice presidential debate in October.
“My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life,” he said. “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can’t control their bodies.”
A program such as Planned Parenthood gives the women of America options and freedom. It allows them to make decisions about their own bodies and to live their life healthfully, to the best of their ability. By shutting Planned Parenthood’s doors, Romney would only reinforce the idea that the U.S. government has appeared to have forgotten about women.
Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in film critical studies.