Student speaks out against defunding Planned Parenthood

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

LIAM BRADDY, Channels Staff

Republicans in Congress introduced a new bill on Monday to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aiming to seal Donald Trump’s campaign promise to defund and eradicate Planned Parenthood.

The defunding of such a valuable healthcare organization over a woman’s right to choose is outrageous and must be stopped.

Contrary to popular belief among pro-life advocates, Planned Parenthood is not simply an abortion clinic. It’s one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers for low income men and women.

According to Planned Parenthood’s website, around 2.5 million people in the United States visit one of their 650 health care centers annually to receive necessary medical treatment which they often cannot afford anywhere else. The organization also provides around 27,000 Pap tests and 360,000 clinical breast exams every year, which are critical in cancer detection.

Far right Republicans in this country have been attempting to undermine the work of Planned Parenthood for years in an ongoing effort to make abortion illegal. Their argument is weak and misguided and is primarily based upon religious beliefs instead of logic.

Pro-life advocates— more often than not—also seem to share a fundamental misunderstanding of the biological processes behind reproduction.

During his campaign, Trump made it a point to align himself with the views of these conservative Americans and made numerous promises to them to be elected. One of these promises was the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act which was signed by President Obama in 2010. Through Medicaid, the act currently provides around $500 million in annual federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

It has only been a few months and our president has already taken it upon himself to lead our country into an absolute state of regression. If we allow ourselves to be governed by ignorance and hate then we will soon see our other basic rights stripped away one by one.

After the bill was introduced to congress, President Trump addressed the leaders of Planned Parenthood publicly. In his statement, he proposed a compromise stating that federal funding

would not be cut from the organization if and only if abortion services were ended permanently. Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, voiced the position of her organization clearly in her response to president Trump’s offer.

“Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept,” Laguens said. “Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is nonnegotiable.”

The bottom line is that no government should ever implement laws attempting to dictate what a woman does with her body. This is especially true when doing so also means stripping away healthcare services from millions of other low income Americans.

Our president and members of his cabinet have made it excruciatingly clear that civil liberties and basic human rights are of little value to the “Make America Great Again” future they have envisioned for our country.

It is important, now more than ever, that we do not silently offer our consent to the questionable decisions being made for us by less than capable leaders. We must speak out against injustice at every turn if this country will have any chance of making it through the next four to— God forbid— eight years.