In 2011, Republican senator Jon Kyl of Arizona falsely claimed that performing abortions was “90 percent” of what Planned Parenthood does. Backtracking on the ludicrous claim, Kyl’s team of trained robots released a statement indicating his remarks were not intended to be a factual statement. Huh? So essentially, we can all spout stats in public, then absolve ourselves of any personal accountability so long as we later state we didn’t actually mean to insinuate they were “factual.” In that case, 90 percent of dogs are cats, 64 percent of people who pee in the shower are atheists and 79 percent of people who wear Crocs hate babies. Whoa, whoa, whoa…don’t blame me. I never said my facts were factual.
In truth, abortions make up three percent of the services offered by Planned Parenthood while the remaining 97 percent include everything from early cancer screenings to prenatal planning and care, contraception, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy testing. These valuable services are delivered by caring, compassionate, trained professionals who view the health and well-being of women (and men) as a vital human right; one that should be taken seriously and handled with care. Planned Parenthood is all inclusive, meaning whether or not you have insurance, are rich or cash poor, or need to be seen one time or twenty, their doors are open. Through generous donations, they are able to provide essential quality care to those who may otherwise not have the means to visit a doctor; they also offer a sliding scale payment structure based on what a person is able to afford, without cheapening the treatment said person receives. Why, then, is the conservative right so up in arms about this organization? Because three percent of the time they perform abortions?
The fact is, you can support Planned Parenthood without pledging support to the pro-choice movement. The organization and the cause are not synonymous with one another. Just because they may offer a service you don’t approve of doesn’t mean supporting the organization itself has to violate your moral beliefs.
The average cost of treating cancer in a patient without insurance generally falls between $100,000 – $300,000. This does not include follow-up appointments and care once treatment has ceased. The most common cancer drugs typically cost anywhere between $10,000 – $30,000 per month. Annually, cancer costs $895 billion in the United States, while unintended pregnancies cost taxpayers around $12 billion dollars per year. If these vital services are eliminated and Planned Parenthood de-funded, just imagine what these already astonishing amounts will become. Prevention is a whole lot cheaper than treatment. Doesn’t it make more sense to support, fund and even applaud an organization like Planned Parenthood, who dedicates the majority of its time to the prevention and early detection of cancer and other reproductive issues women face?
By denying desperately needed care and education to women, especially those who are misrepresented and underserved, the issues become perpetual. Teaching a young woman or man about contraception and providing affordable means to attain it does not mean they will immediately go out and have sex with the first person they see, just as preaching “abstinence only” won’t stop them. Bristol Palin, daughter of former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, made “abstinence only” her cause during her mother’s time in the spotlight. In fact, she still waxes poetic about the benefits of remaining chaste until marriage. She has two children out of wedlock (one of which was born when she was 18 years old) by two different fathers. I’m not judging her, but it does seem a tad hypocritical doesn’t it? Sarah Palin’s response to her daughter’s situation was simply, “God forgives.” Ok, but who? Rich white children of Alaskan politicians, or everyone?
Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice doesn’t really matter in this situation. Every single one of us deserves the right to quality healthcare. In the words of the great Elvis Costello: What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?
Indeed, Elvis. Indeed.