Standing with Planned Parenthood

By Sarah Stubbs

As I write this column on Wednesday evening, Sept. 29, I am thinking about all of the pink that I saw on my Twitter timeline and Facebook feed today – and all of the posts by individuals either upset or excited about that pink.

Tuesday was not only National Coffee Day, but also National Pink Out Day. For this Pink Out, Planned Parenthood offered free STD testing in 28 different cities and advertised heavily across many different platforms in order to gain support for federal funding.

Some Planned Parenthood supporters rallied near their local Planned Parenthood clinics or showed support online by filtering their Twitter avi or Facebook profile pictures to have a pink hue. They followed this with the hashtag #StandWithPP. Tim Ryan, the representative for Ohio’s 13th district, was the first person on Twitter I saw today with the pink avi.

Being a young woman and supporter of women’s rights, I have been following the Planned Parenthood investigation closely. In case you haven’t been, here’s a brief synopsis:

In July a series of videos were put out by an anti-abortion group in the Center for Medical Progress attempting to expose Planned Parenthood for selling fetal tissue for profit.

Since then, a state report in Missouri said Tuesday that there is no evidence that a Missouri Planned Parenthood was selling fetal parts for a profit. According to the New York Times, other states that were deemed compliant with state laws were: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, South Dakota, and Massachusetts.

The videos put out by Center for Medical Progress sparked much debate and conversation around reproduction rights and eventually government spending.

Tuesday’s National Pink Out Day coincided with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ testimony to congress about the video controversy and how their federally granted money is spent.

Although there is now a Republican-led committee that is planning to further investigate the videos, the main debate has shifted to government spending and whether or not Planned Parenthood should keep receiving federal aid.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a horrible idea.

Thanks to Rep. Tim Ryan’s tweets, I learned some statistics that truly (and literally) hit home with me: Akron’s Planned Parenthood sees nearly 7,100 patients a year and there are about 56,939 Ohioans who depend on Planned Parenthood’s services yearly, too.

Planned Parenthood offers general health exams, cancer screenings, STD and STI testing, birth control, family planning, and in some cases abortion.

I don’t use Planned Parenthood for my health needs because I don’t have to. I am still on my parent’s health insurance plan and I also have the convenient opportunity to use UF’s Woman Kind Clinic through the Cosiano Health Center, but I know several women who do use Planned Parenthood’s services and I know how important this resource is to them.

Working a waitressing job for the past two summers for some extra cash to head into the school year with, I’ve worked with women who waitress full-time for a living. Now, it’s no secret that a waitressing job is not going to offer you health benefits. So, a lot of women (like some of my coworkers) must seek health services from more affordable options like Planned Parenthood.

Some people assume that Planned Parenthood hands out birth control like candy and will let anyone receive an abortion — this is not the case at all. I think that some often forget that Planned Parenthood clinics are equipped with qualified health professionals who must abide by state laws and procedures.

If you wish to use Planned Parenthood’s services and do not have proof of insurance or have no insurance at all, they will analyze your paystubs to see where you are at financially and then make price adjustments from there. Nothing is ever 100 percent free, but they do work with you. In fact, if a woman has no health insurance and no job, she often has to pay full price for specific services.

Defunding Planned Parenthood would be irresponsible and even cruel, in my opinion, because so many women would lose services that they need and have a right to receive.

I think Rep. Ryan said it best in his tweet: “I’m disappointed the GOP are yet again prioritizing politics over governing.”

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