In modern American history, few organizations have been so hotly contested as Planned Parenthood. This charitable organization, which is dedicated to providing reproductive health care and family planning services to low-income women and children, has its fair share of both fervent defenders and outraged detractors.
As with any such situation, a series of popular perceptions have arisen in regard to the organization: who they are, what they do, and what their mission is. Either side of the debate, to some extent, is guilty of stretching the truth to suit their own narrative.
Here are 5 common myths about Planned Parenthood:
1. Planned Parenthood is Part of a Modern Liberal Conspiracy
Planned Parenthood is frequently regarded as being a modern phenomenon, and is often blamed for problems with “the current generation.” Ironically, this claim — along with the organization itself — can be traced steadily back through several “current generations.” In 2016, the organization celebrated its 100th birthday. Planned Parenthood’s inception coincides closely with American involvement in the first World War. It predates such noteworthy periods in our history as the Depression, and Prohibition, and was established several years before women’s voting rights were recognized. It predates Roosevelt’s New Deal, which pulled America out of its depression and revitalized the economy through thoroughly liberal economic actions, by almost 20 years.
2. Planned Parenthood Discriminates Against Men
In recent years, some opponents of Planned Parenthood have taken up the rallying cry that the organization only offers services to women and children. While these do represent the most common patients under the care of the organization, men can (and do) visit Planned Parenthood for a variety of treatment and care. The organization offers men a variety of cancer screenings, including for colon and prostate cancer. It also offers vasectomies, male infertility screenings, and a variety of sexual health services, all of which are accompanied by all of the usual procedures inherent to a regular checkup (such as having one’s weight and blood pressure checked). Men are treated with no less dignity and respect than the women who visit the clinics.
3. Federal Funding Pays for Abortions, Not Family Care
The use of federal money to pay for low-income families is often too controversial for many people. The notion that federal money is being used to pay for abortions, however, leaves many conservative and religious Americans (as well as some who don’t fall into either of those two groups) outraged. However, none of the federal subsidies ever authorized by congress have been enough to see to basic needs for the estimated 17 million Americans who require some measure of publicly funded care related to family planning and pre-natal care. Federal funding is not freeing up money for abortions; there are always more patients in need of other services.
4. Planned Parenthood is Essentially an Abortion Clinic
Politicians, in seeking to defund Planned Parenthood, have made numerous wild assertions about the percentage of the organization’s services that revolve around providing abortions. One congressman has even gone on record as asserting that up to 94% of provided services consist of abortions. This is a dramatic falsehood, rooted in clever manipulation of the data. It requires the largely arbitrary classification of certain services as being the primary focus of the organization, and in so doing discounts literally millions of non-pregnancy-related services provided to women and children each year, both in the United States and abroad.
5. Family Planning is an Unnecessary Extravagance
Many people have asserted that the services Planned Parenthood provides are not vital to the well-being of the public. In response to that, it is worth pointing out that this argument comes primarily from the conservative end of the political spectrum, from which vantage point people are primarily looking at the short-term cash outlay. The simple, unfortunate fact here is that, in areas of the United States where this view holds sway, rates of teen pregnancy and STD transmission are higher than they are elsewhere. Rates of such problems as infant mortality and complications in childbirth are also increasing in these regions, so quickly as to dramatically affect them at the national level. The organization provides supportive, compassionate services for people in a wide range of situations, many of whom have nowhere else to turn.
Disproving the Myths About Planned Parenthood
By staying informed, and listening to reputable news sources, a person will be better equipped to untangle some of the mass of untruths and exaggerations which has grown up around the services provided by Planned Parenthood. The organization provides vital services, which benefit the health of our population as a whole, to more than 3 million Americans annually. Given the resources, they would be able to provide their same high standard of care to more of the millions of American citizens who are in need of basic reproductive care.
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