Tess-tify: Much more than abortions


Tess Riecke, Photo Editor

I’m just going to get to the point. I am furious and as­tonished that in 2015 there is a fight to defund a service that is vital to health.

I am talking about Planned Parenthood, but I am absolutely not going to discuss the moral­ity of abortion. In fact, abortions represent a whole 3 percent of total services Planned Parenthood provides, which means the other whopping 97 percent of services is worth talking about more.

These services include cancer screenings, STD and HIV testing and treatment, contraception and sex education.

Pro-lifers are crying out that Planned Parenthood is killing life (again, not going to discuss the spe­cifics about abortion). However, the most vocal aren’t acknowledging the fact that Planned Parenthood vastly improves life.

There are count­less testimonies about the life saving treat­ments performed for women and men that they couldn’t receive anywhere else due to lack of in­surance or money.

I can’t even begin to imagine a world, let alone the United States, without Planned Parenthood. It seems terrifying.

Cancer screenings and prevention represent 16 percent of services. A mammogram costs, on average, $100 without insurance, and a pap test can cost anywhere from $30 to $200.

To those with insurance or a de­pendable income, these prices seem low. However, to some women in college, this can be a month’s worth of groceries.

Planned Parenthood offers these screenings for free or at a very low-cost. Men also benefit from low-cost testicular cancer screenings.

STD and HIV testing and treat­ment are also available and repre­sent 35 percent of services offered.

Douglas Coun­ty (mostly com­prised of Omaha) still has the high­est STD rate of any other county in the nation. Chlamydia is the most reported with 3,390 cases in 2014. Sadly, chlamydia is one of the STDs that does not show any symptoms.There could easily be hundreds of other cases in the Omaha area.

Another 35 percent goes towards contraception which includes intra-uterine devices, birth control pills and emergency contraception. In the last year or so, Hobby Lobby made headlines because the company was fighting the part of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies to cover contraception in their health insurance.

If more companies take similar ac­tion, where would men and women go for access to contraception? Planned Parenthood.

Most importantly, Planned Parent­hood offers sexual education. The lack of sex education in schools is one of the greatest failings in the United States.

Without Planned Parenthood, there would be even more unwanted pregnancies and higher STD rates.

Planned Parenthood isn’t just an organization in the United States. Women and men can gain infor­mation and healthcare for free, all around the world including devel­oping countries that desperately need it.

About 70,000 young women die every year due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Planned Parenthood is constantly trying to provide healthcare to women and in­fants to decrease death and illnesses.

I would like to point out that U.S. government funding does not go towards abortions at Planned Parenthood because that is against the law. All of the funding goes towards life-saving treatments and tests.

How could anyone in their right mind believe that defunding Planned Parenthood is a good idea? The whole point to being pro-life is to fight for the rights of all lives. I would think that in­cludes a college student who needs to be tested for ovarian cancer and not just a fetus.

But hey, as long as they were born, it doesn’t matter what hap­pens to them after, right?

I’m not angry at people who are pro-life. That is a personal choice and I greatly respect that. I am angry at the people who are viciously attacking an organiza­tion that helps millions of people because of one service offered.

If Nebraska’s U.S. senators, Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer, along with 51 other senators have it their way, the nation and the world will lose a valuable and vital resource for millions of men, women and children.