COMMENTARY | Democrats and Republicans finally agreed to a budget compromise on the night of April 8. According to the Washington Post, Democrats agreed to a bill that bans all tax-payer funded abortions in Washington, D.C., and Republicans gave up the fight to defund Planned Parenthood — for now, anyway.
These concessions on both parties’ parts allowed the federal government to avoid a shutdown that could have cost tax-payers millions of dollars. Prior to this agreement, the federal government came to an impasse, largely due to clashing views over how federal monies are spent, specifically those given to Planned Parenthood, an organization well-known for performing abortions. Just like many issues in Washington, this one is not so much about Planned Parenthood as it is about partisan ideology. The reality is that Planned Parenthood does more good than harm by providing valuable services to communities.
When I was in high school, I was a curious teen with a steady boyfriend. Even though I was close to my parents, I did not feel comfortable talking to them about safe sex and intimacy. I knew about Planned Parenthood and I felt comfortable going there to talk to the staff about my questions and concerns. The staff at the clinic I visited was knowledgeable and nonjudgmental. A few months after I used their services, a friend of mine confided in me that she had been having unprotected sex with a 28-year-old acquaintance. I encouraged her to go to Planned Parenthood to get tested for STDs and pregnancy, which she did.
All over the country, teenagers are using Planned Parenthood’s services to get condoms and other preventative devices; to get tested for STDs (including HIV); and, in some cases, to have abortions. According to Planned Parenthood’s website describing its services, “more than 90 percent is preventive, primary care, which helps prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screen for cervical and other cancers.”
Yes, Planned Parenthood has some holes in its reputation, but every organization does, even though we may want to believe otherwise. The evidence, however, is convincing-Planned Parenthood provides essential services to people who cannot or will not get them elsewhere.
I write this article as a 30-something wife and mother who used the services of Planned Parenthood when I was 17 because I felt comfortable doing so. I hate to think that other teenagers in similar and different circumstances (my children in several years, for instance) might not have this resource as they move through their tumultuous adolescent years, when sex seems more like an adventure than a responsibility. Here is to hoping they make wise choices.
Paul Kane, Philip Rucker, and David A. Fahrenthold, “Government Shutdown Averted: Congress Agrees to Budget Deal, Stopgap Funding,”The Washington Post
“Who We Are,” Planned Parenthood