A bill proposing to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood recently passed the House, and some people are not t0o happy about that.
Concerned citizens have created Facebook pages declaring their opposition to the Pence Amendment, citing a concerning disregard for women’s rights and the provision of basic healthcare to low-income families.
Even passed through the Senate and signed into law, though, the bill will not trample women’s rights, nor will it prevent people who are in need of services offered by Planned Parenthood from receiving them.
Social conservatives have long vilified Planned Parenthood for providing abortions, so it’s not surprising a Republican proposed the bill. U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.) saw an opportunity to promote an ideological agenda through legislation, a fact he hasn’t hidden.
On his website, Pence states his moral opposition to abortion and says it is “morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund organizations that provide and promote abortions.”
Under the Title X Family Planning program, the federal government is required to provide funds to institutions, whether public or private, that offer family planning and related health services.
Planned Parenthood cannot legally use taxpayer dollars to perform abortions, however. But it is likely still disconcerting to many pro-life and pro-choice people that their money is going to an organization that performs more abortions every year.
Even if federal grants aren’t being applied directly toward abortion procedures, the idea that people’s tax money provides such substantial financial support begs the question of whether we are keeping those who support pro-choice in business, or even supporting them with our own money.
Either way, the Pence Amendment does not invalidate Title X, nor does it decrease the amount of federal funding provided through its application.
This means opponents’ cries that the bill encroaches on women’s rights and prevents low-income people from receiving treatment are essentially irrelevant.
Instead of keeping women and low-income citizens from receiving treatment altogether, passing the Pence Amendment into law would mean that they would go to other clinics that would be improved by a reallocation of Title X funds.
People would have more options to receive care at many different clinics that are not notorious for providing abortions as an oft-used form of family planning.
In directing funding away from Planned Parenthood and into other family planning organizations that are often marginalized, women will be better able to receive quality care, resources and unbiased information with the help of more widely and fairly distributed Title X funds.
There is a reason the bill received relatively bipartisan support in the House (10 Democrats voted to pass the Pence Amendment).
Not only does it allow for continued government support of women and families in need of assistance, but it also has the potential to steer those women and families away from abortion as a solution without taking away their right to choose.
To claim the Pence Amendment would harm women and families in need and take away choices is illogical. If anything, it would help women.
Women’s rights are not under attack here. Passage of the bill into law would arguably empower women by giving them more choices beyond abortion-happy Planned Parenthood.
Instead of just benefiting one organization, the Pence Amendment aims to give women and their families more choices and give the taxpayers a little peace of mind that their money is being put to better use.
Sarah Cueva is a freshman majoring in political science.