Unplanned Parenthood


Anti-abortion protestors outside the local Planned Parenthood.

Elena Scott, Editor

     Many of you have heard the word “defunding” circling around lately as Planned Parenthood has cut ties with the federal family planning program. But what does this really mean for Planned Parenthood and its nationwide clientele? All roads lead to money. Everything is going to be more expensive. People that rely on Planned Parenthood as a health care provider will have to start paying more of their money to receive the basic health services they need. That is, of course, IF the services they need are still available to the public. Because of the recent alterations made to the Title X grant, Planned Parenthood will be losing an income of around sixty million dollars. Because of this loss of income, many of the nationwide clinics may not be able to offer inexpensive birth control or sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings. If you are not getting the checkups or the education you need then you will not be able to fix the problem- which makes it seem like the nation is moving backward. 

     This is a loss and it does have a negative impact on public health. When asked about the defunding, Aren Wright a  junior at Olympia High School and a member of Teen Council (a peer-led sexual education group run by Planned Parenthood) said, “When it comes to the defunding I think it kind of just shows like an overall larger trend toward devaluing and defunding reproductive health services and education and that really concerns me [because] that’s a bad trend to be starting.” 

     The inability to reach the health services that a person needs will create a domino effect when it comes to public health. No STI screenings? More sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). What do more STDs lead to? Even more STDs! The loss of birth control will create the most ironic impact. No birth control will lead to unwanted pregnancies, which will lead to abortion. 

      This loss of funds, however, should not have a direct impact on abortions, which many people are not realizing. As long as Planned Parenthood clinics stay up and running they will continue to provide people with safe, legal abortions. That’s why they’re called Planned Parenthood. Even when they were receiving the federal family planning grant, (which is a grant that provides money to public health services) that money was never allowed to be spent on abortions, so the loss should have virtually no impact on that specifically. 

     But wait… why did Planned Parenthood stop receiving this money? Before the defunding, they were receiving their money from the Title X (pronounced Title Ten) grant, which is funding that helps provide access to health services such as but not limited to pregnancy testing, pap smears, birth control, pelvic exams, counseling, and HIV testing. Title X money cannot be put towards abortions. In 2018 a “gag rule” was proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This promising name was given to the rule because of its gag-like effect on health care providers. This rule stated that the provider was prohibited from referring the patient to any abortion services or even discussing the option of abortion at all. Again Planned Parenthood. This rule conflicts with state laws that require providers to discuss all reproductive options. Because of this new rule, Planned Parenthood was left essentially “defunded.” 

     Although the state is challenging the rule, federal regulations are still very much in effect. Kelly Cooper, The Policy Director of the Department of Health, when being interviewed described,  “16 sub-recipients in [the] calendar year 2018,” being impacted by the loss of the grant. 

     A very common misconception is that this defunding will be mainly preventing abortions, which is simply not the case. The defunding will only be harming basic health services and causing the prices of those services to escalate. Are students at Olympia High School educated on this topic? “I hope they’re ignorant but I also don’t want them to be ignorant,” Zophia Crawford, an Olympia High School junior and member of Teen Council says. Teen Council’s goal is to spread information and educate students, especially on sex ed. related topics. Crawford and Wright both participate in this group with the hope of combating ignorance, by educating those around them, one day at a time.