Defunding of Planned Parenthood impacts more than abortions

Francesca Demming

With college students turning to Planned Parenthood for health care services at a lower cost, funding restrictions make some concerned about their access to care.

The Planned Parenthood Advocates organization at Kent State are students who work together to advocate for health care and seek to spread awareness about the services Planned Parenthood provides.

Madison Newingham, president of Planned Parenthood Advocates, said she believes rising expenses due to the defunding of Planned Parenthood will affect college students.

“If funding is taken away, it’s going to be pretty problematic in the sense that Planned Parenthood won’t be able to provide its current services in the same capacity,” Newingham said. “Clinics in lower income areas might have to close depending on where they are geographically. There will be cuts in education, which is also very vital in preventing the need for abortions.”

President Donald Trump signed a bill April 13 to withhold federal money from places that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood. This bill contradicts former President Barack Obama’s regulations preventing states from defunding women’s health centers. Trump’s new bill gives states the ability to cut funding if they choose to do so.

“We’re not going to allow, and we’re not going to fund, as long as you have the abortion going on at Planned Parenthood,” Trump said. “We understand that, and I’ve said it loud and clear.”

Trump is against Planned Parenthood because the center provides abortions, but the organization also provides many other services, according to their website.

The government also considered giving Planned Parenthood money if it agrees to discontinue performing abortions. Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the New York Times that Planned Parenthood would never accept money to stop providing abortions.

“Offering Planned Parenthood money to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept,” Laguens said. “Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is nonnegotiable.”

Anne Roux, a senior integrative studies major, said Planned Parenthood is a service she uses, and it is a very important place for her.

“Planned Parenthood helps so many people, and it would be a real shame if it lost funding,” Roux said. “It is such an important place for so many women to get health care services that they need from doctors who actually care about what happens to them.”

Caris Kuhn, a sophomore political science major, said Planned Parenthood provides more than just abortions; They provide basic health care for both men and women.

“Planned Parenthood does nothing but good for the community,” Kuhn said. “They genuinely stand for so many good things. If funding was cut it would affect people’s basic health care and education, especially in impoverished communities.”

Thomas Beeler, sophomore zoology major, said Planned Parenthood should not be defunded because it was created to give women access to health care and education.

“Planned Parenthood gives women the tools and the knowledge to exercise the right to their own body,” Beeler said. “I think that it would be detrimental to our society if Planned Parenthood was defunded.”

Jocelyn Smallwood, the communications director at Planned Parenthood in Kent, Ohio, said there is confusion about laws and how they affect Planned Parenthood; However, Planned Parenthood’s doors will remain open.

“A lot of what we do at Planned Parenthood is preventative measures. There is a general level of concern about health care because of the current climate. It doesn’t seem like health care is a priority. The current climate is one where we need to stay vigilant,” Smallwood said.

There are other services at risk of being taken away, which are not discussed often. States that have defunded Planned Parenthood, including Indiana and Texas, have seen an epidemic in the numbers of individuals diagnosed with HIV.

Smallwood says taxpayer’s money cannot go towards funding abortions, but the money the government is looking to defund is the taxpayer’s money. Other services besides abortions are at risk of being taken away at this time. Smallwood adds that these funding cuts could affect how many people Planned Parenthood can serve at a time.

Smallwood said she believes it is important for individuals to make decisions about their personal health care.

“We think that decisions regarding abortions should be made by women, not by politicians,” Smallwood said.

Francesca Demming is the social services reporter, contact her at [email protected].