Beyond Abortion

Last week, the House of Representatives voted to cut federal funding for PlannedParenthood. This was largely targeted at decreasing the organization’s ability to perform abortions. However, there will be a rippling effect if Planned Parenthood is unable to provide their general health care services. For women who suffer from health issues such as Endometriosis, cervical cancer, and fibroids, Planned Parenthood provides an affordable option for ongoing services and check-ups when the insurance companies and traditional health care providers are unwilling to cover medications or additional services. For example, when a relative, who suffers from Endometriosis, was in college her health plan would not cover the birth control medicine that was used to treat her illness. This was not about preventing pregnancy but about avoiding severe pain, bleeding and other symptoms associated with Endometriosis. She was able to receive affordable treatment because Planned Parenthood treats all women regardless of insurance policies or income.

I ran a youth based program that worked with high school students for several years. Teen pregnancy was a major concern and many young people, whether we wanted to talk about it or not, were and continue to be sexually active. Planned Parenthood provided a youth outreach program where other teens provided information to our students on abstinence, contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections. We saw a decrease in pregnancies after we started providing these workshops to our youth.  Abstinence only education doesn’t work, (one only has to look at Bristol Palin as she holds her beautiful baby and shares how she was told to abstain but didn’t listen) information about all contraceptives and choices is what helps teenagers avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. We can continue to pretend our kids are not having sex because we don’t want to think about it. We can believe they will wait because they are good kids and we think they should.  Or we can wake up and be grown ups and face the reality with our children. Planned Parenthood’s education and outreach services make it easier for schools, parents and teens to have these tough conversations.

Planned Parenthood is not just about abortion. It’s about HIV/AIDS testing. It is about basic care for the uninsured and underinsured. And it is about outreach and education, providing information to people about their reproductive and sexual health. You may not agree with abortion, but you don’t have to. You should agree with well women’s care for your daughter, HIV testing for your neighbor, diabetes supplies and testing for your aunt, and sex education for the young man that is taking your child to prom.  Don’t let the House of Representatives eliminate all of these needed services in an effort to change abortion policy. Abortions will still happen. Unfortunately, because cuts in funding may mean a decrease in education services, more unplanned pregnancies may occur, which may lead to more abortions. If you want to decrease abortions, increase funding for sexual education and outreach. We should all be in favor of parenthood being something that is “Planned” not uninformed, unwanted and unintended.

Join Planned Parenthood in their battle for federal funding by standing with them and inform congress that you are not in favor of their actions. Sign the Letter here.

Thenera Bailey is the President of the SISGI Group a consulting and research organization dedicated to addressing global issues through sustainable impacts and strategic global initiatives. Learn more about the SISGI Group at


    • Taina on 27 February, 2011 at 9:29 am
    • Reply

    I too am surprised at the efforts that some will put in to push their agenda at the expense of others. They should know that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s activities are abortion-related! STD testing and prevention, cervical cancer screeenings, PAP smears, and sex education are critical to having a healthy sexually-active population, and those who preach “abstinence” are only kidding themselves. Bristol Palin is only one of billions of examples, and this fact has been proven throughout history. The policy of promoting abstinence is antiquated and harmful to our society because it is based on false foundations. I’m signing the letter and encouraging others to do the same!

    • Janae on 22 February, 2011 at 11:28 am
    • Reply

    Unknowingly, last week I called my local Planned Parenthood to attempt to setup an educational class that I, like you, use for my teenage education classes to teach them about STD’s and contraceptives. The lady told me that they are now charging $75 per presentation. I was blown away. In a school system we don’t have the budget for that, so those kids are missing out on valuable information.

    It’s crazy the lengths that people are willing to go through to push their own agenda forward. In Texas they are pushing through legislation that requires a woman to have a fetal sonogram and hear a heartbeat before she can have an abortion. She can decide to decline them but the doctor is still required to perform it and describe what they see to the patient, including development of the body and the organs. Just another bully technique. But while you’re cutting funding to programs like Planned Parenthood, who’s footing the bill for these forced sonograms.

    1. Yes there are so many services that Planned Parenthood and similar women’s health organizations provide that will be eliminated if these cuts continue. Your point about the sonograms is so interesting. The funny thing is uninsured mothers can struggle to access sonograms throughout their pregnancy but women who do not want to carry to term have access to the technology for free. Where is the sense in that? We need to prioritize better when it comes to health services. Thanks for commenting!

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