Opinion

Media hypes four reasons Congress shouldn’t defund Planned Parenthood. Here’s why they’re wrong.

Planned Parenthood has been working tirelessly to ensure they retain taxpayer dollars. Congress has voted before to defund Planned Parenthood; that legislation was vetoed by President Barack Obama. Now that the White House, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives contain a record number of pro-lifers, the opportunity to defund the abortion giant is here and now. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday even delayed the start of the August recess to ensure a vote.

It’s not just Planned Parenthood raising the alarm bells, but its allies in the media. These include Former Rep. Richard Hanna, claiming for the Hill that “Defunding Planned Parenthood would only cause harm to low-income women.” Sharmila Makhija wrote about what she called “The deadly cost of defunding Planned Parenthood” for The New York Daily News.

Focusing on contraception, the Washington Post argued that data from the Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s former “special affiliate” and research arm) supports the idea that women cannot turn anywhere but Planned Parenthood. A writer for Romper piggy-backed off the reporting to make this claim as well.

Here is a sampling of what the writers focused on:

Cancer screenings

Hanna and Makhija both focused on Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services, particularly on cancer screenings.

Planned Parenthood has attempted to draw focus to this before. Last month, the organization shared a video of a woman who received a referral from Planned Parenthood for her mammogram. Nowhere in the video (or in the above articles) was it acknowledged that Planned Parenthood has only a 1.8 percent market share of breast cancer screenings (not mammograms, which Planned Parenthood does not provide) and 0.97 percent market share of Pap smears. Such services have been on a long-term decline at Planned Parenthood. Clearly, women are getting their cancer screenings elsewhere.

This information, then, makes Makija’s concluding claim sound even more absurd:

If Planned Parenthood is defunded nationally, far more women will be forced to forgo the timely care they need to detect and prevent cancer. It’s time to rethink the definition of what Planned Parenthood does and fight for its survival on behalf of women everywhere. A woman’s life might literally depend on it.

Contraception

The Washington Post claims that defunding Planned Parenthood would mean Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) would be “needing to more than triple their contraception caseloads.” What isn’t mentioned is that in place of funding Planned Parenthood, these health centers would receive more taxpayer funding, which would be sure to help with handling the increased load. Additionally, this claim of tripling makes no sense when the Washington Post admits Planned Parenthood serves one-third of contraception clients.

While Planned Parenthood is portrayed as a major provider for contraception, the organization has decreased its contraception services, while abortions continue to increase.

How, then, can Planned Parenthood take credit for declining abortion rates? Alana Romain, writing for Romper, completely misses this point:

But there’s another consequence involved with defunding Planned Parenthood that isn’t always as obvious — and it’s likely to be a costly one. When you take away access to contraceptive services (and particularly when you don’t offer a sufficient replacement), then the number of actual births is likely to increase.

Oh, no, “actual births”! The only thing that’s “obvious” here is the disdain for human beings.

Other providers

The information presented by the Washington Post focuses only on contraception. Women (and men) are able to access forms of contraception from numerous sources, some over the counter or online. Some states have also made it so that women do not need a prescription for birth control.

Whatever one’s position on contraception, The Washington Post and others who push an agenda would do well to remember that there is more to women’s health care than preventing pregnancies — even if that is the only kind of contraception being discussed.

When it comes to these other health care services, the writers quite literally act as if Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider — an idea which has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by Live Action News. It also goes unmentioned that FQHCs vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities. Live Action News’ Carole Novielli also examined the Guttmacher data, concluding that it “shows women don’t need Planned Parenthood for contraception” because “FQHC sites outnumber Planned Parenthood in counties that provide contraception care in every state except Connecticut, Minnesota and the District of Columbia.”

Hanna truly presents a catastrophic scenario. He claims that Planned Parenthood for many, is “the only one” to provide such care and that patients “cannot get [services] anywhere else,” and that these people “quite literally have nowhere else to turn.” (Never mind the fact that Planned Parenthood, of its own accord, has been closing facilities for a number of years now, all while its half a billion taxpayer dollars annually remained intact.)

Public support

Romain claims that defunding Planned Parenthood “wouldn’t exactly be popular among the majority of Americans either.” Hanna also touches on polling more in depth, citing Planned Parenthood and undermining those who don’t support abortion:

While the issue of abortion is deeply divided – I have respect for the views of people on both sides – women’s healthcare should not be up for debate. However, there is overwhelming support for a women’s right to choice in this country. Independent polling shows that 70 percent of American voters oppose blocking patients from accessing Planned Parenthood, including 50 percent of Trump voters.

But here’s the problem with that: these poll questions are notorious for misleading poll respondents about what Planned Parenthood actually does.

Many of the polls cited by Planned Parenthood have used problematic wording in their questions about Planned Parenthood and its services, neglecting to mention that the organization performs more abortions in the country than any other abortion business. Other polls have questioned voters over whether they believe the fight over defunding Planned Parenthood is worth a government shutdown – which does not automatically mean respondents are completely against defunding the abortion giant.

Senators need not delay any longer. The time is now to defund Planned Parenthood.

Editor’s Note: All op-eds are the opinion of the writer, and not necessarily the official position of Live Action. For facts and a discussion on how some forms of birth control can act as an abortifacient, see this article by a former Planned Parenthood director.

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