As most are aware, our President has recently signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood services overseas. This action has facilitated a conversation in which a vast array of people are fighting to eliminate the entire institution from our country, regardless of the numerous services it provides a community.
For starters, Planned Parenthood offers a variety of different screenings to help spot or prevent cancer, HIV, high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnancy and even the flu. Paired with counseling and comprehensive sexual education, nearly “five million men women and adolescents” are treated every year as stated by their website. For males, most clinics are equipped to test for colon, prostate, and testicular cancer and provide condoms and vasectomies if needed. Females can easily get mammograms, pap smears, and access to many different kinds of birth control. Additionally, athletic physicals and numerous STI screenings are accessible to both.
However, their work isn’t just physical. It’s an unfortunate reality that schools often neglect giving youth proper sex education. It’s understandable wanting to up keep the moral implications of a religion, but a common personal practice should not determine the outcome of education for all students, many of which may not adhere to the belief. Regardless, many districts preach abstinence from heterosexual intercourse but fail to provide knowledge on what it means to have safe and consensual sex. So, it is not uncommon to find LGBTQ in unhealthy and potentially dangerous situations having not been taught what safe sex looks like for same-sex couples. This is why with every consultation regarding sexual health, Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive sexual education. Both adolescents and adults can learn how to put on a condom, when to use one, the right time to get tested for STD’s and so much more. Along with education, mental health counseling is also available. In a time where mental illness is still belittled and identities invalidated, these counseling sessions create a safe space for people to sort out their inner chaos.
Lastly, there is of course abortions. I don’t mean to downplay the severity of the procedure. After all, it is a heavy decision to even consider an abortion, but it is a decision every woman deserves to have if she’s faced an unwanted pregnancy. A sad truth of our world is there are a lot of women who are endangered by external forces if they carry through with a pregnancy. If she is from an abusive home or relationship where a baby would not be welcomed, she and her child face physical and psychological harm.
Likewise, if the child resulted from assault, the mother could face serious psychological damage and even resentment towards her child. On the other hand, there are some women and families who are simply not fit to care for a child or pregnancy, and if they are mature enough to come to this realization, then they should be capable of terminating the pregnancy. No matter the reason, people seem to forget that when a woman is pregnant it is her body that undergoes nine months of sickness, pain, and possible torment from the outside world and thus she should decide her own fate.
No matter what service someone receives from Planned Parenthood, the treatment is done under their consent and knowledge of actions in regards to his or her body. No one, not even the leader of this country, has the right determine the outcome of someone’s health and body, for it is the one thing that is truly ours.
Written by Liliana Reyes, staff writer