Why We All Need Planned Parenthood: A Non-Snarky Bullet List Edition

by Kate Bennett

You might have seen last week’s post  about the work of activists from the Women’s Center and St. Cloud community to provide public support for Planned Parenthood on national #PinkOut Day, and a link to a snarky but funny article refuting the claims of anti-Choicers about Planned Parenthood, the necessity of sex-positive, comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education, and access to healthcare. As important as it is to laugh and maintain balance, the staff of Collective Feminism wanted to take a moment to address the complex issues affecting the health of millions across the United States in a way that does justice to the important work of Planned Parenthood and the national socio-political landscape around issues of abortion and reproductive choice right now.

So, here we go. “Why We All Need Planned Parenthood: A Non-Snarky Bullet List Edition.”

  1. Planned Parenthood provides a range of health care services, including annual exams, STD/STI testing, pregnancy tests, referrals, and abortion, among many others, to low-income people. Given the complex realities of the United States healthcare system, including the refusal of service to individuals without insurance or the ability to pay upfront (i.e. health care exists as a commodity that is sold and purchased, rather than in a framework different from capitalism), Planned Parenthood not only provides necessary medical care to low-income folks, but also helps keep the overall cost of healthcare down.
  2. Reproductive Justice frameworks urge us to understand that the legality of abortion alone doesn’t help us to frame the issues of reproductive freedom. We know that access to things like stable housing, income and food security, and economic opportunity are not equal opportunity. When we consider these complexities, the necessity for people across the socio-economic spectrum to have access to safely exercise reproductive agency, be it through contraceptives, abortion, pre-natal care or otherwise, is clear.
  3. All recent allegations against Planned Parenthood have, after significant money spent, been proven false.   Planned Parenthood is not illegally selling fetal tissue.    And, as of October 13, will not accept reimbursement for fetal tissue.
  4. Defunding Planned Parenthood will not end abortion, but it will deny many access to health care. Demonizing Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of sex education and one of the leading providers of preventative health services to low-income people, dismisses the health and wellness of over 2.7 million people who use their services annually. (P.S., Crisis Pregnancy Centers, often touted as alternatives to Planned Parenthood, do not provide health care .

“Defunding Planned Parenthood will not end abortion, it will deny many access to health care” TWEET THIS QUOTE!

Issues around reproduction are complex (I bet you guessed that), because they exist at the intersection of our health care system, identity locations (race, class, gender, age, ability, national origin, and others), lived experiences, and other equally as complex matrices. The controversy of Planned Parenthood and its services is often simplified into a pro- or anti-Choice debate, ignoring the necessary consideration of factors within Reproductive Justice frameworks and accessibility to adequate health care by young and low-income people.

And this simplification doesn’t reflect reality; what a luxury it must be to be able to ignore all of Planned Parenthood’s services that are not abortion or fetal tissue related in these debates.  Speaking as a young, low-income woman, I cannot forget that Planned Parenthood is the only provider that offers me low cost annual exams and screenings; if I did, I wouldn’t have adequate healthcare.

I need Planned Parenthood.

2.7 million annual clients need Planned Parenthood.

We all need Planned Parenthood as one of the leading providers of health care.

Kate is a graduate assistant at the Women’s Center and a master’s candidate in Social Responsibility. She spends most of her time working on her thesis about the Tiny House movement. Her favorite ways to procrastinate are reading her favorite novels for the hundredth time, snuggling her cats, and creating original art pieces for her Etsy shop.

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