Natale ’16: Don’t defund Planned Parenthood

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Defunding Planned Parenthood is a political game and if House Republicans were successful, we’d all be losers.

On Thursday, the Senate voted to reject a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Shortly after, John Boehner announced that he would be resigning as Speaker of the House, most likely due to conservative pressures to shut down the government in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood in current budget negotiations.

Seventy-eight percent of Planned Parenthood patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. For these patients, there would be nowhere else to go if Planned Parenthood’s services were not available. Republicans are not interested in whether or not people get the care they need — they are actively working to create a hierarchy in which only economically privileged people can access reproductive health care services.

Planned Parenthood offers cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection and disease testing, abortion services, and contraceptive services. Abortion is a safe and legal medical procedure, and Planned Parenthood provides a place for people to go to receive compassionate care. Additionally, Planned Parenthood is a critical educational resource, working with schools and young people to give them the facts they deserve about safe sex and healthy relationships.

Whether the government will shut down over efforts to defund Planned Parenthood remains to be seen. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that defunding Planned Parenthood would increase government spending by 130 million dollars over 10 years.

Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood send a dangerous message: only the rich deserve healthcare in America. A study from the Guttmacher Institute, the leading researcher on sexual health, found that Planned Parenthood is the largest safety-net provider of contraceptive care. Cutting off government funding to Planned Parenthood only ensures that those who need care the most cannot access it.

Everyone deserves access to reproductive health care, no matter what.