Planned Parenthood: The Facts and Fictions

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately in the United States, you’ll notice that Planned Parenthood has been a common topic of discussion. Numerous state and federal politicians are trying their hardest to defund the clinic organization by any means necessary. Throughout the Facebook comments and click-bait headlines, there’s a lot of misinformation going around on the origins and the current practices of the nonprofit organization. This article will hopefully address any questions that readers have about Planned Parenthood.

What is Planned Parenthood?

Planned Parenthood is a not for profit organization that provides low cost reproductive health care in the United States. Founded in October 1916 by Margaret Sanger, a well known health care advocate for women, and has been providing health care and birth control to Americans for 100 years. Planned Parenthood currently operates 650 centers across the country, and has a helpful link showing where the closest one is to your location and the various services that each clinic provides.

What services does Planned Parenthood provide?

Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of reproductive services such as abortion, birth control, emergency contraceptives (morning after pill), general health care, HIV testing, LGBT services, Men’s health care, pregnancy testing, STD testing, treatment, vaccines and Women’s health care. Planned Parenthood also offers services and education on body image, healthy relationships, and sexuality.

Staffed by experts from various medical fields and social work, each employee understands that health is always the primary focus, no matter the situation and at little or no cost to the patient. As clearly stated on the Planned Parenthood site:

“Planned Parenthood will continue to provide quality health care to women and men — whether or not they have insurance. So you can still come to us for the care you need, when you need it.”

Is abortion a legal procedure?

Abortion is a legal procedure made in the landmark decision Roe V. Wade in 1973. The ruling declared that a state cannot restrict nor interfere with a woman’s right to receive an abortion within the first trimester of the pregnancy. The state could however enact regulations in regards to the mother’s health in the second and third trimesters, respectively.

Abortion law varies state by state, and there are limitations on when an abortion can be performed, depending on the trimester of the fetus. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Abortion Ban, passed by Congress in 2003 and signed into law by President Bush, is not unconstitutional. The law bans interfering with a fetus by the second trimester, limiting the amount of time a woman has to proceed with the surgery.

There are numerous measures that various state and federal lawmakers have introduced and passed in order to limit abortions, including down-to-the-inch requirements for operating rooms, requiring that rooms be far larger than needed in the event of an emergency. Certain states require that abortion clinics and doctors maintain a relationship with local hospitals in the area, giving a veto power to an institution that isn’t involved in the process. These measures are called TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) laws.

Why is there so much controversy over Planned Parenthood performing abortions?

Planned Parenthood is a leading provider of abortion and other reproductive health services, and therefore takes the heat from many conservative and anti-abortion movements and laws. Many pro-life advocacy groups believe that life begins at the moment of conception, and termination is considered murder. Many of these groups are religiously based, and while there is nothing wrong with religious advocacy groups, the conflict of church and state does come into play.

One of the most controversial and recent claims has been that Planned Parenthood has been selling body parts from aborted fetuses on their own black market in the United States. In July 2015, the Center for Medical Progress released a video showing evidence of a Planned Parenthood professional stating that she collected body parts from aborted fetuses in a conversation in 2014. As observed by Snopes, the entire situation is curious because the initial video conversation was held for over a year, and begins with the President of Planned Parenthood condemning “inappropriate behavior”, even though the comment was made on a different issue more than ten years ago. CMP claims that the entire two hour conversation was unedited (other sources say it was). The actual video itself doesn’t give any specifics on what the conversation is really about.

Apart from the absurdity of this claim, state investigations into the matter have all proven that no body parts or fetal tissue was sold on underground markets.

So what does the future hold for Planned Parenthood?

Planned Parenthood just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 2016, and continues to provide and educate the public on reproductive health in the United States and abroad. Planned Parenthood Global is a branch of the organization that assists and helps families globally in receiving sexual and reproductive health care, and promoting education of their services worldwide.

Even though lawmakers continue to attack the attempts at a universal health care system in the United States, Planned Parenthood has promised to stay and provide health care to all that need it. The organization has endured a lot over the past 100 years buthas proven that time and time again that they are more than a abortion clinic, but a low cost health care provider to all those who need assistance.