Friday, April 8, 2011

Debating Planned Parenthood

In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States made abortion legal in the case Roe versus Wade. In 2011, there is a debate in Congress as to whether Planned Parenthood, which performs some abortions, should continue to receive government funding. Currently Planned Parenthood cannot use government funding for abortions.

A person has the choice to believe that abortion is right or wrong. However, abortion is legal in this country and has been for almost 40 years. Why then is Planned Parenthood prohibited from using government funds to pay for abortions? Why then are the Republicans wanting to deny funding to Planned Parenthood because they perform abortions?

The Republicans and all members of the legislative, executive, and judiary branches of the government took an oath to uphold the constitution. The constituent does not address the issue of abortion in any way. The Supreme Court held that the right to privacy clause in the 14th amendment extends to a woman's right to an abortion. Therefore, until such a time that the constitution is amended to take away women's rights, every member of the Federal government must perform their duties in such a way that does not interfere with a woman's right to privacy, which includes a right to get an abortion according the Supreme Court.

Does that mean that Planned Parenthood should continue to be funded? Not necessarily. The government can choose to fund or not fund any private organization. But they cannot remove funding because their personal beliefs are at odds with the mission of the organization. They must instead base any decision to fund or remove funding on what is good for the people and this country.

Many would say that removing funding from Planned Parenthood would put more of a burden on society than funding it would. If a woman does not have access to low-cost or no-cost healthcare which includes pap smears, breast exams, birth control, and yes, even abortions as they are legal in this country, then more babies will be born into poverty and need government assistance, more women will not seek prenatal care so that more babies will be born needing extra medical care, and more women will die because they did not get screenings for cancers that can be cured with early detection. Since the women who seek care at Planned Parenthood are often low-income, the burden on the government will actually increase because more women and children will need medicaid and more of them will need more expensive curative medical care.

So, the question is not whether administering abortions should keep Planned Parenthood from being funded, the question is whether we can afford to not fund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood should not be punished for performing procedures which are legal in this country. If we defund Planned Parenthood because they fund abortions, will we stop allowing medicare payments to doctors who perform abortions? Members of Congress, I say to you, follow the law and not your personal beliefs, as the oath you took states.

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