Don’t Take Away Our Health Care

On April 13, Trump signed into order H.J. Res. 43, a bill which allows states to withhold funding-provided by Title X of the Public Health Service Act-from Planned Parenthood. This overturned regulation by the previous administration – passed on Jan. 18 – which stated that Title X recipients cannot bar an entity such as Planned Parenthood from participating for reasons other than its ability to provide Title X services.

About $200 million goes to Planned Parenthood through Title X, providing services for 1.5 million individuals, according to PBS. Planned Parenthood also provides abortion services. Because of this bill, grants and contracts to Planned Parenthood for its reproductive health, maternal health, and child health services will likely be terminated.

It is not the right of people and power to take away the rights of those who need them.

“People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and this bill is just the latest example,” Dawn Laguens said in a statement. Laguens is the Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Planned Parenthood strongly opposes President Trump’s willingness to undermine millions of women’s access to birth control through the Title X family planning program. Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being.”

Trump and the other conservatives supporting this bill cannot indirectly cut out funding to an organization which provides critical services – possibly the first exposure to sexual education for those who don’t have access to it and a way to receive health services for those who cannot – just because they disagree with a service that an organization provides.

It seems that pro-life is increasingly coming to mean anti-woman. What a woman does with her body does not concern the conservative, pro-life, white men attempting to make decisions on her behalf because it is her body, and her right to choose.

Fear of Planned Parenthood, and the ever-present terror of abortion, has clouded our vision and made people in power unable to see the damage they will cause. This is just one example of crucial rights being taken away, under the guise of creating a pro-life paradise.

“This is a major pro-life victory,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “Taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion, plain and simple.”

Contrary to Ryan’s statement, Title X was not directly funding abortion; it was funding Planned Parenthood and other organizations which provide health services for those who need them. A little backstory: Title X was created as a part of the Public Health Service Act, which was passed in 1970 by Richard Nixon. It gives low-income people access to health care, specifically family planning services. According to Planned Parenthood, through Title X in 2015 health centers provided 1 million breast exams, 800,000 pap smears and 6 million tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Family planning services help to prevent abortion, by reducing the likeliness a woman will be in the position to make the difficult choice. The abortion rate reached its lowest since it was legalized in 2014, and 62% of all women of reproductive age (age 15 to 44) are currently using a contraceptive method. Easier access to contraceptive methods is a factor that contributes to less abortion procedures.

Some contraceptives also reduce the risk of STIs. Condoms, in particular, prevent transmission of HIV by reducing the risk of exposure during sex. Planned Parenthood provides testing for STIs, which is important because even if someone doesn’t have signs or symptoms they can still have an infection, and can spread it.

All of these services should not be taken in some type of backwards pro-life logic. To deprive people of health care, of things that they need, is not acceptable. Trump signing into order H.J. Res. 43 and overturning Title X was not a pro-life victory. It was a huge mistake.