Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that provides affordable reproductive health services. Planned Parenthood’s goal is “to provide trusted community health care, inform and educate the community, lead the reproductive health and rights movement, and advance global health.”
They are publicly funded by both the government and also receive money from independent donors. This makes it possible for Planned Parenthood to provide services to people who cannot afford insurance and other health services. The majority of federal funding “comes to Planned Parenthood in the form of reimbursements through Medicaid, the government-funded health insurance plan for people with low incomes.” According to Planned Parenthood action, “Just like other kinds of health insurance, Medicaid reimburses Planned Parenthood’s doctors and nurses for the preventive medical services they provide, including life-saving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control. There are no special favors here.”
Planned parenthood is often viewed through negative lens because it “is all about abortion” for women. This is not the truth because they provide many other services; abortion being one of them. The services they provide include abortion, abortion referrals, birth control, emergency contraception, HIV testing and treatment, patient education, pregnancy testing and services, STD testing, treatments and vaccines, women and mens health services, and general health care. According to the Planned Parenthood website they are, “one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education.” The controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood is based on the common misconception that Planned Parenthood is all about abortion, when in reality there are so many other reproductive services it offers.
Some statistics regarding the percentages of the services they provide are as follows;
“abortion services account for about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities. That’s less than cancer screening and prevention (16 percent), STD testing for both men and women (35 percent), and contraception (also 35 percent). About 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s users are over age 20, and 75 percent have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line. Planned Parenthood itself estimates it prevents more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year, and 220,000 abortions.” These numbers are important because its crucial to note that abortion accounts for the smallest amount of Planned Parenthood’s services.
Most of the people who rely on Planned Parenthood as a means for health care fall far below the poverty line. Approximately, 2.5 million women and men in the US visit its affiliate health centers for services and information each year. Therefore a lot of people rely on Planned Parenthood for their affordable health services. Since they receive donations from outside donors and money from the government they are able to make the care they provide available for those who may not be able to afford insurance. One of the largest demographics of people who rely on these publicly funded health care services are people of color, “people of color in the U.S. are less able to access quality health care due to the intersecting consequences of racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and other systemic barriers. So, they’re more likely to rely on federally funded programs to access health care.” It is important to take into account how much people really do rely on not only planned parenthood but other publicly funded health programs.
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