What’s that sound you hear? It’s the collective sighing of women’s healthcare advocates as they have to keep repeating the same facts and defending the same organization that for many women is their only healthcare.
I’m talking, of course, about Planned Parenthood and how it has been the focal point on the attack on women’s healthcare over and over and over. Just mention the name and many conservatives instantly work themselves up into a tizzy and start foaming at the mouth.
The next time your righteously indignant conservative friends and relatives start blathering about how evil Planned Parenthood is, these fun facts should shut them the hell up pretty fast.
I know, I know – it’s hard to debate with facts when the other party’s argument is pure emotion. However, let’s go ahead and prepare to test the cognitive dissonance by keeping ourselves informed. Now, I realize that using the numbers put out by an organization about themselves should rightly be suspect. What makes this a special case is that Planned Parenthood has had to prove these numbers at the drop of a hat multiple times. Being the favorite target of many a conservative politician around election time, if they were to have been outright lying, bending the facts, or misrepresenting the numbers in any way – they would have been shut down years ago.
Fun fact # 1: Planned Parenthood actually prevents A LOT of abortions
In some ways this may seem like common sense. What’s the best, realistic way to prevent abortions? Birth control. Now, this is when many delusional conservatives will start screaming that totally abstaining from sex is better. The big problem with that: it doesn’t work. Numerous studies have shown that abstinence-only programs do not delay when people start having sex – they only make it less likely that those people will use any kind of protection against STDs or pregnancy.
The Guttmacher Institute has come out with some interesting facts that confirm this common sense notion (and I did promise facts). Although the Guttmacher did not list the numbers for Planned Parenthood separately, it does mention that Planned Parenthood is by far the largest publicly funded family planning service (used by over 1/3 of low-income women) that is subsidized by Title X. These low-income women are three times more likely to have an abortion than their higher-income counterpart. Keep that in mind when considering this:
Family planning clinics that receive funding through the federal Title X program met 21% of the need for publicly funded contraceptive care in 2013. Services provided by these clinics helped women avert one million unintended pregnancies in 2013, which prevented 501,000 unplanned births and 345,000 abortions. Without the services provided by these clinics, the U.S. unintended pregnancy rate would have been 30% higher.
Fun fact # 2: Percentage of public funding that goes towards abortive services – ZERO
You see, public funding that Planned Parenthood gets is through something called Title X Family Planning and Medicaid. I mentioned Title X in the last point, but now is a good time to talk a little more about what it encompasses:
Some things Title X covers: FDA approved contraceptives, STD screening and treatment (that includes both men and women), cancer screenings, patient education and referrals. We’ll cover this more in a later fact.
What it doesn’t cover: abortions. It can’t. It’s against the law. A few years back (right around election time, of course) Planned Parenthood was asked to prove that not one dime of public money went towards abortions. Guess what? They did.
Fun Fact # 3: Research using fetal tissue has been used to create multiple vaccines and save lives
I know, the idea of using fetal tissue may seem “gross.” Heck, I think almost any surgery is unsettling to watch or think about too much, and I could never get myself to watch a video of something like eye surgery. That’s probably a big part of the reason I never considered becoming a doctor. Thankfully, there are people with stronger stomachs, who don’t get faint at the sight of blood, and they go through medical school and become doctors. My mother is in the medical field and can casually discuss medical procedures related to traumatic brain injury over lunch that make me almost lose mine. Those of us who have a hard time with these things need to be grateful to those who don’t and the advances brought by their work – including fetal tissue research.
Fetal tissues aren’t like adult tissues, with their amazing ability to rapidly grow, divide, and adapt to new environments. These cells have been used successfully in the medical field for many years, and have brought about many advances:
Fetal tissue research has already led to major discoveries in human health and has the potential to continue to benefit mankind. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “some vaccines such as rubella and varicella [were] made from human cell-line cultures, and some of these cell lines originated from aborted fetal tissue, obtained from legal abortions in the 1960s. No new fetal tissue is needed to produce cell lines to make these vaccines, now or in the future.” These vaccines have effectively eradicated a major source of child morbidity and mental retardation in the U.S.
Fun fact #4: 97% Of Planned Parenthood’s budget is used for women’s healthcare, only 3% for abortions
- Planned Parenthood provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests and nearly 500,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer.
- Planned Parenthood provides nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including 700,00 HIV tests.
- Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs and outreach to 1.5 million young people and adults each year.
Not to mention that the birth control provided by Planned Parenthood is not only used for the most obvious reasons, but also to treat women who have things like hormonal disorders. For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome, which effects over 5 million women in the United States and can be life-threatening, only has one medically approved treatment besides diet (which for most women is not enough)- medication regulating hormones such as birth control.
If the conservatives have their way. Thousands upon thousands of women will lose their only access to these services because it appeals to a certain type of ignorant voter to attack Planned Parenthood. Below is a Bill Maher clip that brilliantly highlights this as it makes a fool of the GOP representative:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0UYG5pwz4g&w=560&h=315]
Featured image via Pixbay.