When I started this bloggy thing, I never imagined I would write anything controversial. In fact, I’ve spent years trying to be anything but controversial. But, as my opinions have gotten stronger and my voice has gotten louder, I have managed to ruffle a few feathers. I really don’t like it when people get upset about things I write, however I still feel compelled to write about certain topics that might do just that. This one is a biggie, in my real life ultra-conservative community, and specifically with many people that I know and love.
A few weeks ago the House of Representatives voted to discontinue federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Pro-life groups all over the world were rejoicing. In fact, I received an email about it stating that it was a huge step in ending abortion and this was cause for celebration. I wish I could agree, but I just don’t.
I think I better explain my stand on abortion before everyone gets totally nuts on me. I don’t like it. I wish it didn’t happen. I wish it wasn’t so easy to get one. I am very much pro-life. I am in favor of people sitting peacefully outside of abortion clinics and praying for the unborn children and the men and women affected by abortion, as long as they aren’t harassing the people going in. I fully support Crisis Pregnancy Centers that offer counseling aimed at steering scared pregnant women away from abortion and toward keeping their babies or putting them up for adoption. In fact, there is one in my community that I support. We have given them monetary donations as well as gently used baby furniture. If I ever have the opportunity to counsel a woman considering abortion I will do my best to guide her toward a different decision. But I will also tell you that I won’t judge a woman who has done it. It’s not my job and I’m willing to bet, she is judging herself far more harshly anyway. I will be sad for her. She deserves compassion and forgiveness, and I believe that there’s a reason it happens and hope she learns whatever lesson she is meant to learn and someday can pass that on to another.
Planned Parenthood and other clinics like them do perform abortions. They also receive over 300 million dollars in federal funds annually. That’s a lot of money. Although there have been attempts in the past at prohibiting the use of those funds to subsidize abortion, they have never really worked. The money still goes to Planned Parenthood and there really is no way to guarantee that none of it is being used for that purpose. I get that, again I don’t like it. But the issue is far more complicated than that.
Planned Parenthood is not simply an abortion clinic, and sadly I believe that a lot of people don’t realize all that they do. Millions of women every year rely on Planned Parenthood for basic medical care. They provide pelvic exams, pap smears, mammograms, STD screenings and treatment, prenatal care, affordable contraception and HIV testing. They provide these services to women of all ages, races, and income levels…uninsured women in low-income neighborhoods, college students, middle class women who are under-insured and can’t afford to buy birth control at a regular pharmacy, and sexually active teens…millions of women. These services are available to so many because of the federal funding. Without it, Planned Parenthood can’t continue to offer so many services to so many women in need. What so many think is a victory against abortion is a giant step backward for Women’s Health.
Of course I don’t want my tax dollars paying for someone’s abortion, but there are a lot of things I don’t want my tax dollars to support…our tax dollars have been supporting a war in Afghanistan for 9 years. I don’t like it all, thousands of innocent lives have been lost, but I’m not naive or foolish enough to believe that we can simply decide to stop paying for it. There needs to be a plan. The consequences of any abrupt action need to be considered. The same is true in this scenario.
I doubt that in the wake of this decision, family planning clinics that don’t offer abortion services or referrals are going to be popping up all over the country, or that Planned Parenthood will decide to stop offering these services in order to get their money back. Besides that, even if they did, it would be very difficult to fund only clinics that are pro-life because abortion is legal in this country and falls under the umbrella of family planning and reproductive health services.
We need family planning services, and we need all women to have access to them. Right or wrong, most men and women don’t wait until marriage to have sex. I’m 37 and I know exactly one person that was a virgin on her wedding night. Most men and women have sex with more than one partner in their lifetime. Teenagers have sex. I have three girls and of course I will teach them that waiting is the best option, but if they make a different decision I want them to be smart and protected. I hope they talk to me about it, but the reality is they probably won’t. Most kids don’t. They may go to their parents for information or to ask questions, but rarely do they tell their parents if they have sex. This is true of kids raised by two parents in very Christian homes that are taught by their parents and by their schools that abstinence is by far the best choice. Let’s be real!! We want them to have access to birth control and doctors. Beyond sex education and reproductive health, it is important that women can get yearly pelvic exams, PAP smears, and mammograms when needed and it is a fact that Planned Parenthood provides those services to women who wouldn’t be able to get them otherwise.
One final point I’d like to make that Pro-life advocates don’t seem willing to admit, abortion is going to happen with or without this funding, and abortion is going to happen whether it’s legal or not. It was happening before Roe vs Wade, and it was a lot more dangerous and many women died. We’ll be headed right back to the same situation. Making abortion illegal isn’t going to stop abortion, it’s going to kill more women, and that doesn’t seem right either.
This issue is not black and white, there’s a whole lot of gray. I don’t know what the answer is, but taking the money isn’t it. For now, I think the best we can do is keep praying for those affected by abortion, keep supporting Pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, keep telling women that there are better options than abortion and there are people willing to help, but taking away the money will hurt millions of women and will not end the abortion problem in this country.
If you have a minute check out this video produced by the Second City Network in defense of Planned Parenthood. They make their point and it’s funny too!!
This entry was posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014 at 12:11 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.