More to Planned Parenthood than you know

Vogt for Pedro

Rachel Vogt, Columnist

Planned Parenthood offers a wide variety of services including birth control and educating people on the different types and their options within using birth control, cancer screenings, well-woman visits, LGBTQ healthcare, HIV prevention, sex education, STD testing, pregnancy testing, HPV vaccinations, providing the morning-after pill, education on reproductive health and offering regular check-ups and also offering abortions and guidance about the procedure.

Many people often focus solely on the fact that Planned Parenthood offers abortions and makes their arguments for defunding of Planned Parenthood based on that fact.

However, many people are not educated on the procedure and all of the other services that the company offers to benefit all people. Many people argue that abortions are dangerous and take lives.
But are abortions dangerous? Abortions are not nearly as dangerous and risky as one may think. The fact is that an abortion is a safe, common and legal medical procedure.

Planned Parenthood has made it much easier to get educated on what an abortion actually is by publishing two recent videos that outline the two different kinds of abortions that a woman can get.

The two types of abortions available are medication abortion or in-clinic abortion. Medication abortion (also referred to as the abortion pill) is typically available up until the tenth week of pregnancy, after which an in-clinic abortion is usually recommended.

Planned Parenthood explains that medication abortions utilize two different pills taken one to two days apart. The first pill (called mifepristone) blocks the hormone progesterone, which stops the pregnancy from developing.

The second pill (called misoprostol) causes cramping and bleeding that empties your uterus. The process, which can last anywhere from a few hours to a full day, is similar to an early miscarriage, Planned Parenthood says, and involves passing clots and tissue, like a very heavy period.

While symptoms like tiredness or cramping might still linger in the days after a medication abortion, Planned Parenthood says you can usually go back to school or work if you’re feeling up to it.
During an in-clinic abortion, a medical professional empties your uterus, typically using gentle suction and sometimes other tools. Planned Parenthood says the process usually feels like strong period pain, but you can get medication to make it hurt less. Afterward, you may have some cramping, but normal activity is usually possible the next day.

Before any of that, for both types of abortion, someone at Planned Parenthood will talk to you about whether abortion is the right option for you.

But whatever option you choose, Planned Parenthood wants you to feel confident you’re choosing the thing that makes you most comfortable. Sometimes the decision to have an abortion is simple, and other times it’s more complicated. But either way, it’s your decision and only you know what’s right for you.

If Planned Parenthood were to be defunded, Planned Parenthood patients would have nowhere to turn for healthcare.

Anti-abortion politicians and extremists are to blame for spreading misinformation in an attempt to obscure what they’re really trying to do and hide how their attacks on Planned Parenthood would hurt patients, nearly half of whom are people of color, and many of whom live in rural areas.

Shutting down Planned Parenthood would be devastating because of how essential the company is for the people of the United States.

Being able to access health care at a Planned Parenthood is vital to the patients who utilize the services of Planned Parenthood centers because many of those patients do not have other accessible health care options. If Planned Parenthood were to be defunded and wouldn’t be able to provide care for those patients, nobody would be able to.

In fact, in more than 20% of the counties where Planned Parenthood health centers operate, there are no other health care providers who serve patients who rely on safety-net providers.

If Planned Parenthood health centers were to be shut down, other providers within the area wouldn’t be able to “pick up the slack.” There simply aren’t enough reproductive health care providers that would be able to assist the current Planned Parenthood patients.

Per year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide birth control for nearly two million people, as well as providing over 4.2 million STD tests and treatments; over 320,000 breast exams; and nearly 295,000 Pap tests (a test that collects cells from the cervix, or lower end of the uterus.

The cells collected in a Pap smear can detect cervical cancer and changes that may lead to cervical cancer.)

Meanwhile, more than two thirds of states already report difficulty ensuring enough providers for Medicaid, the nation’s largest publicly funded health care program. Providers of ob-gyn care who accept Medicaid, such as Planned Parenthood, are in particularly short supply.

In addition, Planned Parenthood health centers are more likely than other safety-net family planning providers to provide the full range of birth control (including IUDs and implants) on-site and more likely to offer rapid-result HIV testing.

In short, for many women in America, Planned Parenthood is the only place where they are able to get needed quality care.

If extreme politicians were to shut down Planned Parenthood, 2.4 million patients would lose access to care. Approximately 60% of Planned Parenthood’s patients access health care at its health centers through publicly funded programs like Medicaid or Title X.

Legislation that “defunds” Planned Parenthood immediately blocks those people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. If these efforts were to succeed, it would be a national health disaster.

Denying health care and education to millions of teens and adults won’t make the country any “greater” than it already is.

Denying care will only risk people’s lives and well-being, and limit their choices.

Politicians like Vice President Mike Pence, who’s led the charge to attack care at Planned Parenthood, would ultimately hurt those who already face significant barriers to accessing health care, and as such are some of our most vulnerable people.

Defunding Planned Parenthood would devastate the health care industry in the United States, and would be a massive step in the wrong direction for the country.