By Samantha Stuefer – Each year, 2.7 million women and men in the United States receive healthcare from one nonprofit organization: Planned Parenthood. Recently there has been a push by opponents of abortion to take away all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, because in addition to a wide variety of healthcare services, they also provide abortions.
By Samantha Stuefer – Each year, 2.7 million women and men in the United States receive healthcare from one nonprofit organization: Planned Parenthood.
Recently there has been a push by opponents of abortion to take away all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, because in addition to a wide variety of healthcare services, they also provide abortions. But what most people don’t know is that abortion is only 3% of what they do, and no federal money goes to those services.
Abortion also isn’t paid for through taxes or anything that we as citizens provide. Even the reimbursement
from Medicaid does not go to fund abortion. Payment for abortion has to be paid, in full, by the patient at the time of the abortion.
So what would happen if Planned Parenthood lost its federal funding?
1 in 5 women have visited Planned Parenthood clinics at least once in their lifetime. They provide sex education, general health information, reproductive health care, and outreach for over 5 million people worldwide. They also provide 400,000 pap smears and 500,000 breast exams each year.
There’s even more than just reproductive health care, though.
“In addition we have cancer screenings, such as breast cancer and cervical cancer,” Planned Parenthood Public Relations Officer Angie Remington said. She also added that people can come to Planned Parenthood for something as simple as a yeast infection.
Emotions and opinions on Planned Parenthood in general are all over the place; some people are in the middle, some are extremely against them, and some are really supportive of them. With the recent defunding controversy, Planned Parenthood is back in the minds of people keeping up with politics.
“We have heard rumors that [defunding] might happen in Nebraska,” Remington said. “But we have not seen any bills so far this session.”
People also tend to ask, “Instead of defunding Planned Parenthood, why don’t we make abortion illegal?” It’s not that simple.
“People can’t just change the law,” Remington said. “In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to privacy includes her right to a safe, legal abortion.”
Remington also said that there are also a lot of laws that try to prevent women from having a safe abortion. There are waiting period laws, designed to shorten the period of time that a woman can seek care. There are even laws that require providers to tell women that abortion gives them breast cancer — which is false.
There was also a shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado at a Planned Parenthood to “protest” against their abortion services. Nebraska’s Planned Parenthood locations have even seen some chaos.
“We have seen some different acts of vandalism here in Omaha,” Remington said. “And we did have a threat late last fall after the Colorado Springs incident where our admin staff was forced to work from home for a day. We had a threat from an individual who was going to take his own life by driving his vehicle into our building.”
A lot of people also seem to believe the videos that have gone viral of Planned Parenthood “selling dead baby parts.” Those videos on the internet have been proven to be false. With consent, and usually upon request, someone who has had an abortion will give Planned Parenthood permission to do fetal tissue donations.
Fetal tissue donations are actually used for research.
“That tissue goes to research hospitals and organizations,” Remington said. “They go to scientific research for lifesaving cures and treatments for things like Alzheimer’s. I think ALS was one of them…Parkinson’s disease was one of them.”
We sent out a survey to 10 different teachers to give to students to get their opinions on the matter.
The first question asked what students have heard about the efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
One senior responded, “The big issue being debated is abortion. PP [Planned Parenthood] has been accused of “harvesting fetal tissue for profit” which a grand jury in Texas found to be false.”
Another senior, Alana Sharp, also responded with, “I heard about defunding because of the misconceptions of PP doing some morally unjust things.”
Second, students were asked what they knew about Planned Parenthood. We did get a lot of “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” responses, but some actually did try to list what they knew.
“They provide parental care, STD scans, help with domestic abuse, and abortions and advocate for equal rights,” sophomore Madison Whitney-Zucco responded.
“I know they provide [researched] information and advice and help on contraception, family planning, and reproductive issues,” freshman Reed Petelle responded.
“They provide STD testing, mammograms and cancer testing, contraception,” a female sophomore said.
When asked on the survey if Planned Parenthood should be defunded, a majority (74%) said No.
Only 4% said Yes. One junior said, “Yes. I know that abortions are very expensive, and I am against them, with the exception of certain circumstances. But if Planned Parenthood was only funded for the medical care and pregnancy check-ups, etc., and not abortions, that would be good, and there would not need to be as much funding.”
A female sophomore said, “Yes. I believe abortion is the killing of kids and it should be stopped. The government should not fund it.”
Eli Rokke, a male freshman, said, “I think that abortion is wrong, and it should be defunded. It’s taking a life even if it’s not fully developed.”
Out of the 437 surveys we received back, 10 students answered Yes.
But, as mentioned, most said “No.”
“No, because Planned Parenthood provides free/in-expensive [medical care] for young girls that some may require,” junior Alexis said.
“No. Women depend on Planned Parenthood for medical exams like mammograms and others. It is more than just an abortion place,” a junior said.
“No, because this provide[s] a good service to people to prevent pregnancy,” Senior Hung M. Do said.
Though there were a good amount of I-Don’t-Know’s in the pile of surveys, one stood out the most. When responding to the last question asking if they think Planned Parenthood should be defunded, someone said they never knew it existed.
About 3/4 of the survey participants said that they did not believe Planned Parenthood should be defunded, though it is surprising that a good many said that they didn’t know or didn’t care. It’s also pretty surprising that 4% thought that it should be defunded.
Donors are a huge part of its funding.
“Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is a 501(c)3 so yes, we are largely funded by donations from our supporters,” Remington said.
Even if action were placed to take away funding in government form, safe procedures, education, and affordable birth control could still be provided for the millions of people who use Planned Parenthood every day through donations and the money the patients pay.