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First Word: Planned Parenthood is a necessity for many Americans

     Last Thursday we saw V.P Mike Pence break a tie in the Senate in a decision that will take away federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other organizations providing abortions. I can already feel the sighs and eye-rolls that people made across the country as they heard more about this cruel, very traditional and cliché conservative decision. Most people, including myself, saw this coming when we were predicting what would happen under a Trump presidency. I wish the administration would prove me wrong, but obviously that will probably never be the case.

     Since it’s already illegal for any tax dollars to go to abortions themselves at the federal and state level, this decision seems to highlight the hypocrisy of conservative and pro-life ideology. Planned Parenthood is a health care provider for women, men and families that are (mostly) underprivileged, don’t have healthcare or they simply have no where else to go. Most people focus on the fact that they provide abortions, but what else do they provide?

     Every year they outreach to about 1.5 million people for education health programs. In fact, the bulk of what Planned Parenthood does is provide PREVENTATIVE CARE, like providing contraceptives, information on safe sex, testing and treatment of STIs and cancer screenings. I cannot express how important this is, as one in five American women have chosen Planned Parenthood at least once in their life for health care. I don’t understand why the current political right is so hostile towards this organization because if it did not exist, there would be a higher rate of unintended pregnancies as well as abortions. Wouldn’t they be supportive of Planned Parenthood? So essentially, they will be taking away the block on states banning Title X planning grants, which only covers things like contraception, STD screenings and other things, and abortion is not included in these grants. So how exactly is this going to help, wouldn’t it be destructive?

     With the new Obamacare replacement still up in the air, we don’t even know if it will include birth control or other things related to women’s health on the plan. If you don’t believe me, there was already a fight over whether mammograms and birth control should be covered. That was still up for a debate, which is absolutely ridiculous. What if we have more situations like Hobby Lobby, a craft store owned by evangelical Christians that refused to cover contraceptives because it’s ‘against’ their religion? The funny thing is, they willingly cover Viagra, a drug used only for the use of recreational sex for older men. No, this isn’t a joke, but it definitely sounds like one.

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     If people refuse to cover their employees’ birth control because it’s against religion, then how does it make sense to cut funding from Planned Parenthood? What if the future Obamacare replacement doesn’t cover it either? If this is the case, then hurricane Pence is truly going to cause a lot of damage. The U.S. should not be governed by subjective religious ideologies because it leads to limiting people’s freedom and involving more government into people’s everyday lives. After all, we ‘supposedly’ do have a separation between church and state in our country.

     This topic is very important to me because throughout my life I have had close friends that needed to receive birth control from Planned Parenthood since their parents were too religious to allow it. Even for health reasons like regulating menstruation and subduing pain and migraines. Unfortunately in the state of PA, by law minors that have not yet graduated high school must ask their parents for permission to receive contraceptives. Only 21 states in the U.S. allow this without consent. My friends were able to receive this health care with complete discretion thanks to Planned Parenthood, another reason why this organization is crucial in the U.S. right now.

     As usual, the Republicans are going to hit people where it hurts the most, women and families in poverty. After Pence’s tie break, Senator Murray said, “cruel, and it would have the greatest impact on women and families who need it the most.” Keep kicking them while they’re down, why don’t you?

      So I hope the administration does us all a favor, and stops adding to the list of why the world pities the citizens under Trump’s America. Who knows what the effects of this tie breaker will be, because right now I see none that are positive.

Chloe Devitis is a Anthropology and German major. She is the BU Democrats Communications Coordinator, German Club Vice President and a staff writer for The Voice

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