In the US, Planned Parenthood has been the recent subject of a “clearly coordinated attack”, first around the abortion issue, and just last week around all the other sexual and reproductive health services they provide to men, women and teens. The House of Representatives voted on Friday to end all $327 million of the federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care for Planned Parenthood.
I know that abortions are a contentious topic, but that’s not what’s at issue in this discussion. But Friday’s vote was not about abortions (although the discussion in the House would have us believe otherwise). In the States, federal funds have not been used for abortions since 1976. Friday’s vote is the first step in taking away the Title X Family Planning program funding that Planned Parenthood uses for family planning, preventative health services and prioritizes low-income families. This includes Pap smears, breast cancer screening, and urinary tract infection screening and treatment. Anne Friedman’s interview provides a quick recap of the issue, as does her blog at Feministing – House votes to defund Planned Parenthood, and I am livid:
What Friday’s vote means is that the US is continuing to discount the importance of preventive health care – not only in terms of saving lives, but also in improving the quality of people’s lives, reducing further transmission of infection and saving money by detecting and treating infections early.
If you are from the States and want to write the House of Representatives and let them know that you disagree with their decision, or the Senate and tell them the reasons why they should vote against this amendment, or if you are just generally wanting more information, check out the Planned Parenthood campaign ‘I Stand With Planned Parenthood’. Advocates for Youth is also encouraging action on this important issue on their blog – Let’s Keep the Pressure On!
This is a huge step backwards as far as sexual and reproductive health, preventive health care and women, men’s and teen health is concerned. It hurts gender equity, sexual health equity, and further excludes people from accessing basic services that improve health outcomes for women, men, teens, moms and babies. Its a very good cause to be investing in, but sadly the House didn’t quite see that picture. In any case, take advantage of the sexual health services that are available to you now – they might not be around for long.