Monday, April 11, 2011

The Truth About Planned Parenthood

I meant to post this on Friday night, but got lost in the whole federal government shutdown coverage (you know I love politics, right?).

Let's talk about Planned Parenthood, which was what the whole threat to shut the government down was about. The GOP was holding up approving the federal budget because of a rider they wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, which amounted to 0.0083% of the federal budget.

In 2009, Planned Parenthood provided 11.5 million services to women, men and transgendered women, of which only 3% were abortion services. And per The Hyde Amendment, no federal money actually pays for abortion services. The Hyde Amendment has been the law since 1976. That's right, since it became effective in 1977, no federal government dollars have been used to pay for abortions.

So what does Planned Parenthood do exactly if they're not in the business of killing a gazillion babies everyday using federal money?

Planned Parenthood provides basic healthcare services for women, men and transgendered women. It's one of the few places in America where transgendered women can know they will receive healthcare services with dignity. Planned Parenthood provides pap smears, breast exams, counseling on reproductive health and planning, HIV counseling, flu shots, and diabetes testing, just to name a few.

It is simply appalling to me that the GOP hates women so much that not only won't they allow single-payer affordable healthcare, but now they want to dismantle an organization with the mission of providing healthcare services to those who would otherwise go without. Ironically, thanks to the small amount of money Planned Parenthood receives from the federal governement each year (none of which, again, goes to fund abortions), the governement actually saves $4 for every $1 dollar spent on family planning. If you don't provide women with basic healthcare, it doesn't mean any problems they have don't cost anything. There's a reason that Ben Franklin's famous adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is true.

Let's listen to the truth about Planned Parenthood.

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Still don't believe me? Listen to the story of one woman who wrote to Lawrence O'Donnell on Friday. Yes, she's had an abortion, but that does not make her a bad person, as Glenn Beck would have you believe today (if you want to hear his hate-filled tirade, google it because I won't link to it). She's a woman who has had to rely on Planned Parenthood for her basic healthcare because she could neither afford private insurance nor qualify for it after she lost her job. Healthcare that could be provided by a single-payer system, if only we had one, but instead is provided by an institution set up to provide healthcare to all, no matter their ability to pay. And it's saved her life.

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Lawrence O'Donnell teared up when he read her letter. He did so because her story is all too common and without Planned Parenthood many women would die.

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