The House made an appalling vote last week to strip federal funding from the national health care provider Planned Parenthood. The anti-choice Congress touted a message of tough cuts for tough times as they suggested that the services were not fundamental enough to earmark a shake of the federal piggy bank. Do not be fooled. This is not a budget issue; this is an absolute assault on reproductive rights.
On the same day, the House hushed Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum when she suggested that the Pentagon’s sponsorship of NASCAR teams was a waste of taxpayer dollars. The armed forces spends million of dollars annually in order to advertise through race teams, including the allocation of $7 million each year to racer Randy Newman from the U.S. Army.
Yes, our House, our government, our holders of democracy found it was more pertinent to fund cars polluting the environment and making left turns for four hours rather than providing the nation with affordable health services.
The $75 million that would be filched from Planned Parenthood would be just enough to fund approximately four hours of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What a relief, we’re saving wartime from an early lunch to a late dinner by making an entire nation vulnerable to STDs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
Studies have shown that not investing in preventing unintended pregnancies actually costs the nation much more than it saves. A report released by the Guttmacher Institute detailed that for every dollar spent on family planning, taxpayers save $4.
This is not an issue that should so fervently erupt into an argument about abortion. Planned Parenthood does provide abortion services, but the vast majority of its overall services are committed to preventative measures. Abortions account for only 3 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood. Women’s services range at all ages, from a girl’s first period to the first signs of menopause. Planned Parenthood is accessible to all women regardless of income level. Young women are able to receive education not only on sexual health, but also body image, healthy relationships and vaginal health.
The theft of funding from Planned Parenthood is not just a women’s issue. Despite the fact that men will be enormously affected by unintended pregnancies, Planned Parenthood provides men’s services in countless ways, from testicular cancer screenings to education about ways to prevent premature ejaculation.
Maintaining funding for Planned Parenthood is essential for this nation. We must demand that the representatives of our nation defend our rights.