Planned Parenthood cuts will do more harm than good

Story by Monica Baltich

I have never been one to announce my opinions about abortion rights. I know how I feel about the issue but I have never felt it was my place to comment on it. I can see the logic in both sides of the argument, and it is a topic that should be talked about and discussed.

However, as soon as I see the logic being thrown out the window, I feel compelled to speak about it.
First off, I admire those who fight to stop abortions. Those who are out there trying to give women hope that there are other options besides going to an abortion clinic are doing noble work. Providing education, health check-ups and family and prenatal care are just some actions I feel will discourage the need for abortions.

Here’s where I’m having a problem.

Recently, the House approved an amendment to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood as part of the push to make more budget cuts. However, to me it seems like they just want to make sure no federal funds are going toward abortions, even though they are already banned from using federal funds to perform them.

I knew Planned Parenthood did more than perform abortions but I decided to look up exactly what they provide and what they promote.
According to Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report for 2008-2009,  “90 percent of the health care provided by Planned Parenthood health centers is designed to prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment and prevent cervical and other cancers through lifesaving screenings.”

They served 10,943,609 people during this time and a majority of what they do is STD/STI testing (35 percent), cancer screenings (17 percent) and contraception (34 percent); 3 percent of their services involve abortions.

Now any percentage of abortions is unacceptable and truly sad to me, but just imagine what the number would be (or will be) if even more federal funding were stripped from health clinics like this. Clinics that don’t receive federal funding for abortions anyway!

Now when I first heard about this I was slightly overwhelmed, so I turned to my trusty “news-ish” program, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, to get a little perspective.

The Daily Show’s Senior Women’s Correspondent Kristen Schaal satirically played off the idea that the government doesn’t want to fund any organization if it’s stained by any connection to abortion. She jokingly said the government will next have to cut funding for fire departments because, “What if an abortion clinic catches fire and firefighters put it out, paving the way for more abortions? Abortionist firefighters paid for with our tax dollars.”

Like Stewart said, “If you try hard enough you can link abortion to any piece of spending.”

I just can’t see how those who voted for the amendment think cutting funds for family health care centers is going to prevent abortions. If anything it will lead to more dangerous abortions, more sexually transmitted diseases, and more unwanted pregnancies.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, which works to advance sexual and reproductive health and social science research, they discovered “the national publicly funded family planning effort helps women avoid 1.94 million unintended pregnancies each year.”

They also reported that contraceptive services helped prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies in 2008, which they estimate would have resulted in 406,200 abortions had the services not been provided.

To clarify, I’m not trying to push the use of contraception, give a pro-choice or anti-abortion speech or tell people to go to their neighborhood Planned Parenthood clinic.

I simply don’t see the good that comes out of this. Taking federal funds away will not stop abortions. It’s just backtracking from all the progress made with education and providing the necessary services to improve health.

I understand the federal budget is a mess and cuts have to be made. I get that, but why does it seem like only women and children are being asked to make sacrifices?