By Danielle Spitz, Guest BloggerOctober 22, 2015
image via https://www.texastribune.org/2011/03/10/planned-parenthood-faces-major-funding-cuts/
I am in charge of my own body, and I never let anyone tell me otherwise. When the ability to have complete control over my body is taken away from me, I feel violated. Knowing that Planned Parenthood could cease to be a resource for me takes away from my control, and takes some of my feelings of safety along with it.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has been accused by Republicans of spending federal funds on lavish expenses rather than on women’s health care. She attended a congressional hearing on September 29, 2015 to defend the organization against opposing congressmen.
After a series of videos were released this summer exploiting Planned Parenthood’s selling of fetal tissue, politicians took this opportunity to scrutinize the organization and what it stands for. However, these videos were proven to be untrue and painted a thoroughly inaccurate picture of Planned Parenthood.
Fetal tissue has been used for medical research for nearly 85 years. After a fetus has been aborted, researchers take tissue samples with complete legal authority and use the tissue to research diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The tissue is also used to test the effects of various vaccinations.
Planned Parenthood is only one of many other groups that contribute to the study of fetal tissue, and a contribution it is, indeed, to the modern the world of science and medicine.
If the use of fetal tissue for medical research was not an accessible resource, countless medical advancements would not be possible and science as we know it would not be the same. Planned Parenthood is only one of many other groups that contribute to the study of fetal tissue, and a contribution it is, indeed, to the modern the world of science and medicine.
During the hearing, Richards was questioned about her salary and made to feel embarrassed of her own financial stability. When the major bank J.P. Morgan was recently proven guilty of fraud, the leaders’ compensations were never called into question. Congressmen Elijah Cummings immediately jumped to her defense, pointing out the misogyny and hypocrisy of the matter.
“I find it extremely hypocritical that republicans criticize the salaries of Planned Parenthood officials when you have violated no laws, especially while these same republicans completely ignore the CEOs of huge companies that are actually guilty of breaking the law,” Cummings said.
The sexist component of the hearing was completely evident and played a huge role in setting the tone of the meeting. Despite the fact that Planned Parenthood is exempt from any illegal activity, Richards was still forced to sit for hours on end, listening to the demands of politicians who are set on defunding the organization that helps women all across the country.
Although abortions are more often than not the most talked about service that Planned Parenthood offers, in reality, they only account for 3% of the organization’s services.
Abortions issued by Planned Parenthood do not use federal funds, despite the fact that abortions are legal in the United States. Although abortions are more often than not the most talked about service that Planned Parenthood offers, in reality, they only account for 3% of the organization’s services. According to npr.org, in the year 2013, 42% of Planned Parenthood’s services went to treating STIs/STDs, 34% went to issuing contraception, 9% went towards cancer screening, and 12% towards other, unspecified women’s services.
Planned Parenthood is so much more than an abortion clinic. For some women, Planned Parenthood is their safe haven– the most reliable resource they have for health services.
Before the organization was put into question, it was seen as a steady support system for women to rely on whenever they felt alone or scared. Now that representatives have taken it upon themselves to decide what is best for women’s bodies, the state of Planned Parenthood is unknown, and women are forced to stand on their own with nothing to fall back on. A world where my body is in the hands of anyone besides my own is not a world I wish to live in, and defunding Planned Parenthood takes away a woman’s civil right to have say in the fate of their own body.
I am fortunate enough to have people in my life that I feel comfortable talking to about birth control or STDs, but there are thousands of women across the country who do not have the same luxury. Planned Parenthood fills that incredibly scary void of loneliness that no woman should ever have to experience. The proposal to defund this organization, which only serves to help women, is unjust and outright unbearable.
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High school student Danielle Spitz is an aspiring journalist. She writes for her school newspaper and of course IATG! She loves reading, writing, running, binge watching anything on Netflix, shopping, and contributing to a world in which women build each other up and receive the respect they deserve.