Sunday, May 15, 2011

Funding Planned Parenthood

Here is a student editorial about Planned Parenthood.
On April 14th, 2011 the U. S. Senate voted against Resolution 36 (58-42), which was similar to the Pence Amendment that has passed in the House of Representatives a few weeks prior. The main focus of the Pence Amendment was to defund Planned Parenthood as well as many of its affiliate organizations in the budget plan for the fiscal year 2011. The Amendment would have cut the $317 million Title X program which funds these family planning programs in our country. Of that $317 million budget allotted for family planning organizations Planned Parenthood receives approximately $75 million.
Representative Mike Pence (R-Indiana) sponsored this proposed amendment. Pence claims that by cutting the Title X program funding, then clinics providing family planning services would be less likely to be able to perform abortion procedures. This is despite the fact that federal funds already cannot be used to perform those procedures. Many supporters of this amendment feel that by cutting the funds, not only would it limit the amount of abortions that are occurring in the country, but also lessen the nation’s growing deficit.
The fact of the matter is that programs like Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations provide more than just abortion services. They provide a variety of services for men, women and teens such as gynecological exams, clinical breast exams, birth control services, emergency contraception, male reproductive health services, STI testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and counseling services, HIV testing and counseling, as well as HPV and hepatitis A/B vaccines. All of these services are provided to women and men who may not have access to these essential services otherwise. Abortion is not illegal in our country; Planned Parenthood Clinics are performing legal services, yet law makers are still trying to punish them. By trying to cut funds to family planning services, law makers are overlooking all of the life saving services that are provided by the organization, like cancer screens and HIV testing. Some of the services provided by Planned Parenthood actually prevent unwanted pregnancies and in turn prevent abortions. If women do not have access to the contraceptives that are provided by Planned Parenthood, then many unwanted pregnancies could result which could reduce the standard of living for both the mother and unwanted child.

Another point you could make is that cutting funding to Planned Parenthood won’t save money, because other costs incurred when people are unable to get the services provided through Planned Parenthood will be greater than the savings gained by cutting final support to Planned Parenthood. If abortions are immoral this shouldn’t be a consideration, but the fact is, abortions are much less expensive than the costs of helping a young parent take care of a child they did not want to bear. Most often, there will be costs to Medicaid, WIC, SNAP, TANF, and childcare subsidies that would be avoided if the government had funded the abortion.  It’s true that most children, even those born in poverty to parents who did not initially plan them or want them will grow up to be productive citizens who contribute more in taxes and economic activity than they receive in benefits when they are young and poor, but children born to poor, young, unmarried and unhappy mothers who didn’t want those children are at a higher risk of becoming a net economic burden, spending time in jail and so forth.  

In the long-term, it might be fiscally wise to make abortion more difficult to receive, if children born because their mothers didn't get abortions grow up, on average, to contribute more to society than they take in terms of resources.  In the short-term, it's not fiscally wise, because in their initial years of life, such children are likely to drain financial resources.  Now, again, let me stress that this is leaving aside questions of environmental burden and carrying capacity, and also entirely ignoring the value of human life, the moral issues around abortion, and religious values.  Once we include those in our considerations, I think all the financial considerations will become trivial to many people. 

Works Cited

Bosch, T. (2011, February 18). What Is the Pence Amendment, and What Does It Mean for Planned Parenthood? Retrieved April 22, 2011, from AOL News:
Cross, K. (n.d.). Proud to be Targeted by Planned Parenthood, Proud to be Pro-Life. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from National Right to Life Political Action Committee:
Eigenberg, C. N. (2011, March 19). Why we should protect Planned Parenthood. Retrieved April 30, 2011, from CNN:
Medical Resources: Teenage Pregnancy. (2009, November). Retrieved March 22, 2011, from March of Dimes:
NOCERA, D. N. (2011, February 18). House votes to defund Planned Parenthood. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from Politico:
PARKINSON, M. J. (2011, February 18). House Votes to Strip Planned Parenthood of Federal Funding. Retrieved April 30, 2011, from ABC News:
Pregnancy, N. C. (2010, January 26). Teen Pregnancy Rates in the United States.
Quinn, P. (2011). Illinois State Budget. Ch.6 Pg.23.
Teen Parent Services. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2011, from Department of Human Services:
Teen Parent Services Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2011, from Illinois Department of Human Services:

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