Deputy News Editor
In the early days of his term, President Trump reinstated a bill dating back as far as Ronald Reagan’s presidency that removes federal funding from every nongovernmental foreign health facility that provides abortion counseling. As defined in The New York Times article released Monday Jan. 23, the day of the signing, this bill “freezes United States funding to health care providers in poor countries if they include abortion counseling or if they advocate the right to seek abortion in their countries. In other words, this bill simply stops federal U.S. money being given to any third world health group that offers or supports any form of abortion services.
Let me make something extremely clear. Though many pro-life activists and groups are applauding Mr. Trump for finally banning tax dollars from going towards abortions, I will go as far as to say that they are misinformed. The Helms Amendment has been in place since 1973 and it clearly states that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.” That means that for more than 40 years it has been illegal for taxpayer dollars go venture overseas and pay for abortion services.
So despite popular belief that it’s tax dollar morality that is being saved, it’s not. It goes much deeper than that.
Many, if not all, of these facilities that fall under the bill provide other health care services such as birth control, STD testing and treatment, and HIV testing. There is SO much more to them than just abortion counseling, and in the poor countries many of them are located, it is these tests and contraceptives that people need the most for their personal health.
Moving forward, Mr. Sean Spicer stated to the press, President Trump has “made it very clear he is a pro-life president.”Fine, that is his belief like many others, and a whole other group of people are pro-choice. It’s been an ongoing debate since before most of us Springfield College students were born. Based on Mr. Trump’s pro-life standpoint, an educated prediction would be that if the President were to make next steps on this matter it would be to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S. States like Iowa that are already halfway to the finish line as the G.O.P has already approved preliminary components of that state legislature.
Now, I can understand that pro-life supporters would want to defund them for their abortion services, but looking at the big picture, that is selfish.
Planned Parenthood is, again, SO much more than abortions. Since 2016 is still hot off the press, their most recent report is from 2015. In that report, abortion was only three percent of their services used. THREE. Thirty-one percent of their services were providing birth control and other contraceptives, and 45 percent was STD testing and treatments.
Now, I ask you to all think back to when you were in high school. I’m sure there was somebody you knew, or maybe it was you, who wanted birth control or needed an STD test but was too afraid to ask a parent, or a doctor to help them get it. Maybe they didn’t have a primary care doctor, maybe they didn’t have health insurance, maybe they didn’t even have a parent. Planned Parenthood, and other facilities like it, were the places they could go to get discreet and reliable tests and contraceptives.
Planned Parenthood also gives information to parents and teenagers who may face an unwanted pregnancy so they understand it and can avoid abortions. They offer advice and information for teenagers who are in relationships or who are sexually active to ensure that they are protecting their health and well-being in the process of enjoying those relationships. Abortion rates are already at the lowest they have ever been because people now have the resources to help prevent unwanted pregnancies before they happen. I can’t say it enough, Planned Parenthood is SO much more than abortions.
In 2015 alone, Planned Parenthood provided over 4 million STD tests and treatments, 651,000 of which were HIV screenings. They provided over 2 million people with proper birth control, and out of over 635,000 cancer screenings they gave through breast exams and pap tests they detected over 70,000 cases early enough so they could be treated. So, if the government decides to defund Planned Parenthood for one of its least used services, they will be taking away critical screenings and treatments for over 6 million people.
We at Springfield College are lucky enough that our institution provides us with testing and contraceptives. An immeasurable amount of people in America and in the world aren’t fortunate enough to have that available. They rely on places like Planned Parenthood for their health.
We have to have faith that whoever is in office will do what is best for our country, and throughout his campaign Mr. Trump has said he wants to make America for the people. Mr. Spicer even stated in his press conference that “[President Trump] wants to stand up for all Americans.” But I leave with this, if we take away Planned Parenthood, who is standing up for those 6 million plus Americans who depended on it?