It’s unfathomable just how heated the debate is between pro-life and pro-choice is. I am a devoted pro-choice advocate because I believe everyone has their own hurdles to overcome. Pregnancy can occur even if we practice the safest precautions available. Male condoms are technically only 98% effective, and “pulling out” is between 80-90% effective at preventing pregnancy. We are also not here to debate whether or not it is appropriate to have sex before marriage because this isn’t the 1950s. Live your freaking life.
Some of us are not prepared to welcome the birth of a child. If you have the means to terminate a pregnancy before conception, you can prevent the birth of a child that is unlikely to be kept. Consider how many children are in foster care now. There are about 4000,000 kids currently in the system, and I personally, consider it selfish to proceed with a birth if you don’t plan on keeping that child.
Of course, I recognize that some women simply cannot go through with an abortion. I understand. It’s a difficult decision, and a personal choice that the woman should ultimately decide for herself. That’s why I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. There is a difference. Women aren’t getting pregnant every month and aborting their fetus every time– That never happens. No one is congratulating women on their abortions. It’s about being able to make a conscious choice about your own body.
Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit that provides reproductive healthcare in the U.S. and abroad and yet, it has been berated enormously from pro-lifers. Yes, Planned Parenthood can conduct abortions but that’s not all they do! These pro-lifers aren’t even advocating for a reform of its services. They are calling to defund the institution altogether. P.P. does receive funding from government reimbursements and grants, as well as non-government revenue and private donations.
For the love and support of Planned Parenthood, you must advocate for their continued legacy in the United States.
Margaret Sanger is a queen we should all know by name. She and her sister educated themselves on birth control at a time when it was illegal to educate yourself on birth control. Side note: Reviewing history out of context is always a trip. People were suffering with disease and ailments; left, right and center. It wasn’t uncommon for women to die during pregnancy or childbirth but no, let’s avoid discussing birth control at all costs because it’s not suitable for our sacred souls. The very first clinic Sanger opened was with her sister in October 1916 in Brooklyn, NY. The clinic was shut down within nine days, and Sanger was arrested and jailed for refusing to pay the fine. It didn’t matter to her. She served her 30 days, all while educating the other inmates about birth control. Savage.
After women were granted the right to vote, Sanger opened the American Birth Control League and Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, which later became Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in 1923. Thanks to Sanger and her copartners, a “1936 court ruling that birth control devices and information would no longer be classified as obscene, and could be legally distributed in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont” (Planned Parenthood) to just married couples, but still. That’s what we call progress! It took a hot minute for Planned Parenthood to grow into the organization we know and that (most of us) love. It exploited a void in the nationwide dialogue about birth control and sexual health. We are much better for it.
Let’s Have “The Talk”
In case you didn’t know, Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider of sex education because your prudent, unprogressive high school blushed at the thought of girls exposing a bra strap. It’s not your fault your health teacher was too embarrassed to talk about same-sex intercourse, masturbation or why it’s important to pee after sex. Yes, the American education system has failed you once again. It’s alright though, because Planned Parenthood offers more than just abortions. SO. MUCH. MORE.
P.P. provides cancer screenings, STD and HIV testing and treatment, vaccines, pap tests, vasectomies, transgender health services, birth control, including condoms and IUDs, prenatal care and yes, abortions. They have a free text/chat line operated by sex educators, and their own period tracker app. Their mission to provide all the knowledge and resources for its visitors, judgement free. There is no such thing as a dumb question. Their website alone is informative enough! Not every patient who strolls into a Planned Parenthood is a promiscuous, irresponsible person seeking out an abortion.
Looking Out for the Underdog
I appreciate the way Planned Parenthood remains committed to educating and supporting Americans from all walks of life, even those who are uninsured. They participate in a government-funded program called Title X, that helps provide some limited services to those who can’t afford to pay full price but overall, the cost of services are on a sliding scale depending on your situation. About 60% of patients rely on a public health program, such as Medicaid. Many pro-lifers oppose universal healthcare, and yet refuse to support a partially government funded non-profit that can provide a few healthcare services accessible to uninsured Americans who can’t afford America’s confusing and expensive health insurance. Figures. Planned Parenthood provides access to members of the community who may otherwise be ignored or forgotten, including members of the LGTBQ+, undocumented and documented immigrants and people of color. More than half of all P.P. locations are in rural or underserved communities. Oftentimes, P.P. can arrange same day appointments, or have extended hours and weekend availability.
I believe we can all agree that we value our health now more than ever. It can be incredibly demonizing and emasculating having to stress about a potential medical issue that is negatively connotated, or never discussed. Whether it be a cancer scare or treatment for chlamydia, it can be intimidating to ask for help and guidance. You can also feel alienated because there isn’t a safe space or trusted peer to confide in. Perhaps your primary care physician isn’t the person you feel comfortable discussing certain topics with, especially if you reside in a conservative area. Sometimes, you need to reach out of a professional, unrelated third party to hash it out and get some answers.
I also find it distressing that some conservative communities fail to advocate for a comprehensive sexual education course. Without proper education, our youth fill in the blanks themselves with whatever information they can access the quickest. These sources aren’t always credible! Then, these teenagers are running around engaging in unsafe sex, dismissing serious health concerns or grow up as adult men believing pads are to be taped on the lips of the vagina at 25 years old (I don’t make this stuff up!). Knowledge is power, ladies and gentlemen. We should equip ourselves with as much of it as possible so we can prepare ourselves safely. There are people out there who don’t believe it is important to share that you have a STD to a partner you are having sex with. Those same people are telling you it is selfish of you to abort your child without knowing anything about your life or predicament.
Sex is meant to be consensual, safe and fun. It’s better to enjoy it safely. Whether you choose to lose your virginity in college, wait until marriage or never engage, you need the resources and tools to keep yourself in check. Recognize that Planned Parenthood offers more than just abortions. It provides service, treatments and education that may not otherwise be available to those who are uninsured or can’t afford a consultation.
Check out their website, or visit a clinic for yourself to learn about the amazing work Planned Parenthood is doing for men and women around the world. Dare to challenge your perspective.
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