“I’ve been doing this advocacy for over 20 years, and this is the worst attack we’ve ever seen,” said Maggie Groff, vice president for external affairs of Planned Parenthood in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
She is speaking, for the uninitiated, of Friday’s vote in the House of Representatives to pass a healthcare spending bill, which includes an amendment that explicitly prohibits Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding.
“We know we do more to prevent abortion than anybody else,” Groff said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Planned Parenthood provides a full range of reproductive healthcare services, over 90 percent of which constitutes “preventative care” — things like blood pressure screenings, breast and cervical cancer screenings, Pap tests and HIV testing. They also provide abortion services.
“But,” Groff added, “abortions don’t come out of government money.”
Wait, you mean you currently do not spend any federal money on abortions?
“None. No federal funds are spent on abortions. Our abortion services are completely privately funded.”
So even if this bill were to pass, it wouldn’t stop you from providing abortions to women who could pay for them?
“If we could stay running, yes, that’s true.”
Which means that the effect of the bill would be what, exactly?
“That whole 90 percent — the preventative services we provide — would go. The health screenings we do all the time. That’s what the subsidies support … Every woman who comes to us with a medical assistance card would not be eligible [if the bill passed]. And that’s over 30 percent of our patients.”
Hmm. I’m no expert, but it kind of sounds like this isn’t really an anti-abortion bill. It sounds like an anti-women-and-poor-people bill.
“That’s certainly the impact and the effect,” Groff agreed. “There are many people who are looking at [the amendment] that way. I think it’s hard not to.”
I don’t know about anybody else, but I think that’s awesome. Because who likes women anyway? Nobody. We got to be first off the Titanic! It’s about time the special treatment stopped.
Besides, only one in five women receives care from a Planned Parenthood health center during her life. Twenty percent! Hardly anybody.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania branch only carried out 12,000-plus cervical cancer screenings last year, which — technically — save people’s lives. They also did almost 14,000 breast exams, which — again — are life-saving, but only in the literal sense of the word.
Planned Parenthood did provide contraception to more than 20,000 patients last year. They also performed over 100,000 tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV included. Which is a lot, I guess.
Also, guys, the economy! This bill is probably really good for the economy, otherwise there’d be no reason to —
Oh, actually, this amendment doesn’t save any money. Some healthcare professionals would lose their jobs, but that’s about it. So, yeah, scratch that theory.
This is not intended to sound cavalier about abortion. The idea that any woman, ever, in the history of babies, could possibly be cavalier about abortion, is both patently ridiculous and a subject for another column. But the fact is, this bill does nothing to prevent abortions. It only stands between women who need health care and people who are trying to provide it.
Want to do something? Sign the “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” petition. Planned Parenthood will be delivering postcards to Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-Pa.) office next week, and volunteers are needed for distribution and collection. If you’ve got the time, get in touch about helping to make calls and spread the word.
You can stand with Planned Parenthood. Surely should you ever be or know a woman in need, they would stand with you, too.
Jessica Goldstein is a College senior from Berkeley Heights, N.J. Her e-mail address is goldstein@theDP.com. Say Anything appears every other Wednesday.Comments powered by Disqus
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