Planned Parenthood: Defend it, Don’t Defund it
During his presidential campaign and after the U.S. Presidential elections, one of the promises president-elect Donald Trump has made was to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization providing reproductive health and educational services to people across the United States. This outlandish promise to defund this organization contributed to Trump’s immense popularity amongst religious conservatives claiming to be in support of the pro-life movement, which advocates against the medical procedure of abortion.
The subject of abortion is ever-increasing in popularity, especially and specifically in the contexts of politics; regardless of the politician’s stance on the matter, people will be upset. Either devout worshippers or women’s rights activists will be disappointed should the politician express support for the agenda against their own. Of course, Planned Parenthood has always been the center of this conversation — their other services, however, remain overlooked. According to their website, Planned Parenthood’s abortion services make up three percent of all of the health services they provide, which means their other services, such as Pap tests, breast exams, and testings for sexually-transmitted infections, make up the remaining ninety-seven percent.
In Michel Foucault’s book, titled The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume I, part one discusses the “repressive hypothesis,” which suggests that the rise of the bourgeoisie has contributed to the negative perception of efforts towards pleasurable activities and how sex has been assigned to the private sphere, to be indulged by a husband and a wife; non-procreative sex occurring outside of these socially-acceptable confines — heterosexual marriage — is not only frowned upon, but it is also considered to be unthinkable. This ideology — that sex should only occur between one married man and woman — is shared by many of Donald Trump’s supporters; the mere existence of an organization like Planned Parenthood defies the very notion they defend, simply because Planned Parenthood caters to couples other than those who married or straight. Because Planned Parenthood strives to be as accessible and inclusive as possible, Donald Trump and his supporters feel that their rights are being taken from them, instead of rights being granted to those who did not have them previously.
Those who devoutly advocate for the pro-life movement tend to cite religion as justifications for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, claiming that the organization is an infringement on their religious freedoms and beliefs. However, the act of defunding this organization restricts access to a variety of people (women, men, the impoverished, etc.), economically discriminating and debilitating them. Although Foucault’s “repressive hypothesis,” discusses how sex has been relegated to a taboo conversation topic, nowadays, it is clear to see that shifting the amount of exposure sex is getting is not any more liberating if the conversation is constantly questioning who is having it and why. If anything, any conversation about sex and its regulations without involving, or incessantly ignoring the voices of those whose bodies are involved is no longer a conversation — it is a targeted attacked against those whose voices are silenced by the state.
The fate of Planned Parenthood is undecided as of right now, what with Donald Trump not being inaugurated as of yet. Many fear for the future of their reproductive health, and have begun doing research about IUDs and restocking their birth-control pills; other people with the financial and social capital have begun collecting donations and starting fundraisers for Planned Parenthood. Despite the frightening people our president-elect is praising and considering for certain powerful political positions, such as Mike Pence, Indiana’s 50th governor and an avid opposer of same-sex marriage and homosexuality in general, as his vice president-elect, Planned Parenthood tweeted this tweet from their Twitter account, eliciting hope from almost twenty-five-thousand people: