This Week in Old-Timey Patriarchal Bullshit: The Push to Defund Planned Parenthood
Photo credit: Jason Taellious at Flickr
This week in OTPBS, we’re talking about the insane attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. Now, the primary push behind this move is because Planned Parenthood performs abortions. And it’s true! It does! Which… thank fucking god. Because here’s the thing. Abortions are not glamorous, or fun, but they are sometimes necessary, and it is vital that a place exists for women to safely receive these essential procedures. But you know what else Planned Parenthood provides? Birth control! Low-cost healthcare for women and men! Paps and breast exams and tests and treatments for STDs and STIs! OH MY! Planned Parenthood provides the ability to take care of one’s body! And you know what really helps lower the number of necessary abortions? Access to quality, low cost healthcare. ENTER PLANNED PARENTHOOD. So when pro-life folks start to damn Planned Parenthood, I always have to laugh a bit (and it’s a bitter, frustrated laugh), because what Planned Parenthood provides is the very thing that will help minimize the procedures they object to. Just 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortion services. 97% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood educate, inform, and provide sexual and reproductive healthcare. And all of these things (say it with me, Smarties) HELP PREVENT PREGNANCY. It’s just ridiculous. If you value life, take care of the lives that already exist and help prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is so damn simple.
But of course, when it comes to those trying to defund Planned Parenthood, all anyone sees or wants to talk about is abortion. And let me reiterate, just 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortion services. So, acting as though Planned Parenthood is an abortion factory is, frankly, silly. It’s not. Not even close. But it is one of the few places to seek education and information free of judgment. And in the small percent of cases when a woman does seek an abortion – for whatever reason – Planned Parenthood is one of the few places that will provide one.
Over the past several days, I have had the great displeasure of communicating with a man who believes he knows better than I (or than anyone who disagrees with him) what is best for my body, or the body of any woman. He believes he knows more about a fetus and what a fetus is than I do. He believes he knows more about what it’s like to carry a baby inside one’s body than I do. He believes he knows more about the psychological consequences of rape or molestation than I do. And worse, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what effect an unwanted pregnancy has on the woman carrying that fetus. He believes it is fact that a fetus is a person with inalienable rights. He also claims to believe that women are also people with inalienable rights. Yet he believes that his view, and the rights of those fetuses he defends, should take precedence over the people who are already living and breathing and experiencing the profound impact of an unwanted pregnancy.
And so, it is clear that he does not believe women are people with inalienable rights. It is clear that this is how anyone aiming to defund Planned Parenthood feels. They believe that once a sperm and egg meet, a woman should no longer have control over her own body. They believe that what happens to it and inside it from there on out is no longer her decision. And that, my friends, is where the shit hits the fan. Because frankly, I’m not concerned with your views on when life begins. I’m not concerned with whether you think a fetus has inalienable rights. I AM concerned when people – and especially men -- think they have rights over women’s bodies. When they think it is perfectly acceptable to create regulations that remove our inalienable rights. Regulations that eliminate our ability to live our lives as free citizens. Because, as a mother, I can tell you one thing: Growing a human inside your own body comes with a whole lot of baggage. Some of it can be wonderful, if that human is one that you chose to help create. But some of it can be profoundly and permanently damaging – especially if the pregnancy stems from trauma or was otherwise unintentional. If we are, indeed, a free country… then how the hell do folks get off deciding what is and is not allowed to live inside my body? Why is it okay for other people to make the decision about when a woman will become a mother? It’s not. None of it is okay. And regardless of how you feel about abortion, you should feel deeply unsettled at the thought of allowing the government control within our bodies. Defunding Planned Parenthood will not stop abortions; just as abstinence-only sex education has not (by a long shot) stopped kids from having sex. What it will do, however, is make the problem worse.
Here at Smarty Mommies, we value life. We value health. We value choice. And we live under the revolutionary assumption that women are people. *GASP* And so, we stand with Planned Parenthood. We know that Planned Parenthood provides vital services and, in fact, we’ve used those services! We know how invaluable they are.