Planned Parenthood keeps women safe, deserves no attacks

Chloe Prendergast

It’s safe to assume that most people have never screamed at a soundbite.

That changed for me a few weeks ago when I clicked on a recording of the Planned Parenthood Congressional hearing before a House Committee, which addressed the highly-edited videos of the organization’s employees selling fetal tissue to research institutes –– legally.

As I listened to the Republican leader of the Committee, Jason Chaffetz, and his colleagues addressing the CEO of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, a thought popped into my mind: is this a joke? Public officials can’t seriously know this little about women’s healthcare. Do they know what this hearing is about? Apparently not.

Republican Representative of Wisconsin Glenn Grothman’s comments exemplified the hearing’s tone.

“When I look at cities around me that have a Planned Parenthood clinic, usually in those cities, as a guy, I could go to many clinics locally that have all the machines that one would need,” he said, clearly forgetting that unique Planned Parenthood services are tailored for those better known as women.

Although the hearing’s offhandedly sexist remarks troubled me, my outburst of rage toward this hearing was a culmination of my anger at the months-long attack on Planned Parenthood.

First, the premise of the attack – the sale of fetal tissue that yields no profit for the organization ––  is flawed. The majority of people in the U.S. today benefit from the medical advances enabled by the sale of fetal tissue. The New England Journal of Medicine explains that fetal tissue research has led to vaccines against rubella, chickenpox and polio.

Along with disagreeing on the reason for the hearing, I disagree with the standard attacks against the services Planned Parenthood provides.

Let’s be clear, no one is pro-abortion. Supporters of Planned Parenthood simply believe women should be able to access safe abortions in the instances they feel it’s necessary. Further, defunding Planned Parenthood won’t prevent women from getting abortions.

The Associated Press released a report finding that since 2010, the only two states that have seen major increases in abortions are those with the most restrictive policies.

“Louisiana — where abortions increased 12 percent between 2010 and 2014 — was recently honored by Americans United for Life as the No. 1 state in taking steps to reduce access to abortion,” AP reporter David Crary wrote.

Unsafe abortions happen when organizations like Planned Parenthood don’t exist. The Journal of Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology explains how to reduce unsafe abortions — less restrictive abortion laws and increased use of contraceptives. Planned Parenthood offers both of these. The organization provides birth-control free of charge. Planned Parenthood actually does more than any Republican or Republican-sponsored policy to reduce potentially harmful abortions.

In fact, in my mind, supporters of Planned Parenthood are indeed “pro-life.” We believe that low-income women and men deserve access to lifesaving healthcare. In 2013, Planned Parenthood provided almost half a million breast exams, 400,000 pap smears and 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually-transmitted infections.

Planned Parenthood deserves positive recognition for helping women and men across this country control their own bodies and lives.