By Arielle Swinehart

Recently, a republican-sponsored bill to defund Planned Parenthood of about $1.3 million dollars was passed within the Senate in a 23-10 vote. The bill is now going to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Planned Parenthood has become very controversial, especially since the leaked videos by the Center for Medical Progress have come into the spotlight. The Whetstone community is divided, at least when it comes to the teachers I interviewed.

When asked about the bill an anonymous teacher said, “I am okay with the bill because I don’t believe the government should be paying for people to have an abortion. I think if somebody chooses to have it, I don’t care how poor you are, I think people should be responsible for their actions, and if you choose that then you should have to pay for that yourself.”

Planned Parenthood’s government funding comes from the Title X Family Planning Program and Medicaid. Planned Parenthood, by law, cannot use Title X funds in programs offering abortion as a method of family planning and they cannot use Medicaid funding for any abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother. This means that the state funding Planned Parenthood receives isn’t going toward abortion services.

“I’m totally against it [the bill]. I think that Planned Parenthood does a lot of great things.” Mr. Smith, our new ESL English teacher and braves messenger co-adviser, said.

Another teacher, Mr. Dobelle, said, “I think it [Planned Parenthood] is a good organization. I’ve known a lot of people that have used Planned Parenthood for regular health check-ups. Overall, I think it’s a positive organization.” Mr. Dobelle is also against the bill, “I think it’s horrible.”

The same anonymous teacher mentioned earlier says, “I’m sure Planned Parenthood does some really good things. I mean they do some really good things for women, and I would be all for giving money to Planned Parenthood, if there were no abortions given.”

Planned Parenthood provides all kinds of health services for women. Abortion services make up only three percent of services offered by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is also about prevention; about eighty percent of their clients receive services to prevent pregnancy. They provide STD tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV tests. They provide educational programs.
“Most of the people in Congress are old white guys and for the most part they shouldn’t be making judgments about what other people should do to their bodies.” Mr. Dobelle said, and he’s not necessarily wrong.

When looking at the thirty-three people in the Senate that voted on this bill, seven are women and twenty-six are men. Roughly eighteen percent of the senate is made up of women, while the other eighty-two percent is made up of men.

This means that the majority of people that voted on this bill were men. SO, men decided what is best for women, men decided what women should do with their bodies, and men decided how this money, that was originally used for all types of women’s health services, should really be spent. Men chose to defund Planned Parenthood.

So, what do you think? Should men have the ability to tell you what to do with your body? Should men have the ability to strip you of access to basic health services?

Tell your representative what you think of the bill before it’s too late.

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