Why We Need to Fund Planned Parenthood

Deena Kassem, Opinion Editor

  The debate over providing government funds to Planned Parenthood has been ongoing for decades, since the legalization of abortions in 1973 with the Supreme Court Case Roe v. Wade.
Planned Parenthood is a women’s health care provider that offers services such as STD and HIV testing/treatment, pregnancy and prenatal care services, birth control, abortion services, and reproductive cancer screenings. Although originally established in 1916, Planned Parenthood did not receive government funding until 1970, under Title X. Planned Parenthood receives $50 to $60 million from Title X per year, which it uses to serve 41% of Title X dependents across more than 600 health centers. No money from Title X is legally allowed to go towards funding abortion services, but many argue that the money that Title X does provide to Planned Parenthood for other services, allows for other money to be allocated for abortion services. Thus, Title X is indirectly
funding abortions. Research indicates that investing government money into family planning program actually reduces direct spending and results in public savings. Without health care service centers such as Planned Parenthood direct spending would increase by “$135 million between 2016-2025 due to increased direct spending on Medicaid,” according to the
  Congressional Budget Office’s report on proposed House of Representatives Bill 3134. Investing in programs like Planned Parenthood would decrease direct spending by $235 million between 2016-2025. Not only does investment in family planning yield long term savings, but by removing Planned Parenthood as an option for health care services, the government would have to invest large amounts to get community health centers to reconstruct their family planning services. Community health centers are often ill-equipped to handle the vast amount of patients in need of family planning services in terms of equipment as well as trained staff. Not only would it be expense, it could take several months to years to train community health centers to the same level that Planned Parenthood facilities are currently at.
  Along with the economic benefits to funding Planned Parenthood, there are social benefits as well. Planned Parenthood serves an estimated 1,640,000 patients a year that
are dependent on Title X. In the 2017 Title X Family Planning Annual Report released by The United State Department of Health and Human Services, out of all Title X patients, 88% were females, 65% were under the age of 30, and 67% lived at or below the poverty level. Defunding Planned Parenthood is targeting young women dependent on Medicaid who otherwise can’t afford services such as as STD and HIV testing/treatment, pregnancy and prenatal care services, birth control, and reproductive cancer screenings, and abortion services.
  Above all else, a woman’s choice to have an abortion is a woman’s constitutional right because a woman’s decision to have an abortion falls within privacy rights protected by the Constitution. In Griswold V. Connecticut (1965) the court decided within the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments that there are implied rights to privacy, this was upheld in Roe v. Wade (1973). It should no longer be the business of congressmen to regulate a woman’s reproductive system.