Talking about Planned Parenthood and Abortion

I want to start with a disclaimer that this article is not a moral argument for abortion. I am someone that does not believe abortion is necessarily a moral act, but I also believe the issue of abortion is not as simple as abortion is murder and it needs to be illegal, and I am also someone who would never be able to judge a female for having one. This is because I have not nor will ever be in that situation the female is in, and making abortion illegal will only make matters worse.

Donald Trump has now been officially sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America. Running on the Republican ticket, he obviously took a pro-life stance, even going as far to promise to overturn Roe v. Wade. This stance was very appealing to pro-life advocates, and I know many people personally and over the internet who voted for him purely based on this issue. And as soon as Trump was declared the winner, the Republican majority Congress took the first steps to defund Planned Parenthood, in which the results will be ineffective in ending abortion and also backfire.

Fortunately, overturning Roe v. Wade is unrealistic and any past attempt to overturn it has failed as shown in the cases of Webster v. Reproductive Health Services and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Even if Trump is successful in overturning Roe v. Wade, it will then just leave the issue up to the states. The Southern states will outlaw abortion, but the Northern states will not. So if someone wants an abortion, it’s just a trip across the Mason/Dixon line. And if all fifty states did outlaw abortion, results from other countries that have outlawed abortion have shown that it only results in more abortions and female casualties. Then there’s the option of cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which is equally problematic.

Planned Parenthood receives about five hundred million dollars annually from the U.S. government, coming from two specific programs: Medicaid, and Title X, a federal family planning program. Title X does not allow funding to go to abortions and Medicaid only allows it in tightly restricted situations like rape or for the sake of women’s health. But this is the main source of revenue for Planned Parenthood, and would being a pretty decent blow to the organization, but would still not do much in the act of ending abortion since abortions only account for three percent of the services provided by the organization. The funds could still also be reimbursed on a state level. In effect there would be negative implications including low-income households losing access to STD testing and cheap birth-control which has proven to lower the abortion rate and counts for the majority of Planned Parenthood’s services, and would also increase Medicaid spending, since you are now having to reallocate it to abortion clinics. However, you still have the people who want to defund it based on the debunked scandal claiming they were selling fetal tissue.

In 2015, the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life advocacy group released videos supposedly proving that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue. Republican politicians were using the videos as support to defund the organization. However, the videos were proven to be heavily edited, but investigations were still conducted. Twelve states overall conducted investigations, but none found any evidence in support of the CMP’s allegations. This included our conservative state of Texas and Indiana whose governor at the time was current-Vice President and radical pro-life supporter, Mike Pence, who announced the findings in his state. Texas even went as far to prosecute the founder of CMP for tampering with government evidence, but was dismissed on a technicality.

If we really want to work towards ending abortion, we need to look at the issue through the eyes of the woman getting the abortion. Most women who get abortions are low-income, usually single, experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, and has no way of possibly paying for a child. Economist Steven D. Levitt goes even further in his book, Freaknomics linking this being the common situation with an abortion with the decreasing crime rate, because kids born in this situation are the ones who are the most vulnerable to a life of crime. So if we want to decrease abortion we need to care about what happens to that fetus after he exits the womb, create a better support system for the pregnant women in this situation, and quit the marginalization of these women (which usually comes from pro-life advocates).

Also, keep federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Easy access to birth control will keep pregnancies from happening, and this has contributed to our decreasing abortion rates. It also needs to remain the women’s choice. While that does not feel as good as outlawing abortion, having a strong support system for female and keeping it her choice will make her feel safe and contribute to a better environment for the child. However, we on the pro-choice side need to understand that pro-lifers are going to disagree with us, but we should not demonize them. We need to respond with logic and understanding where they are coming from, and that is how we will end abortion.

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