Cancer screenings, STD testing, contraception, abortions and health services all are offered by doctors’ offices and hospitals. However, they also are offered by Planned Parenthood — an organization people cannot stop talking about.
Recently, controversial videos of what Planned Parenthood has done with fetal tissue have sparked a debate about whether Planned Parenthood should continue to receive public funding. Without federal aid to Planned Parenthood, many middle- and lower-income individuals would not receive the medical care and contraception they need.
Although faced with many doubts and criticisms, family-planning organizations like Planned Parenthood improve our economy. Funding will continue to reduce poverty, increase income and overall boost the economy.
The hardest and most controversial aspect of supporting Planned Parenthood lies in debunking the myth that the organization solely spends its funding on abortions. In the organization’s 2013-14 annual report, it states that 42 percent was used for STD/STI screenings, 34 percent for contraception, 11 percent for various health issues, 9 percent for cancer screenings and only 3 percent for abortions. The 3 percent of abortions is not funded by federal funding. The 34 percent used for contraception vastly assists the economy.
In a recent Guttmacher Institute study of women who receive contraception from Planned Parenthood, 63 percent reported that it allows them to take better care of their families. In the same study, 56 percent claimed that public contraception allowed them to take care of themselves financially. Issues like unplanned pregnancies and overcrowding in homes can lead to poverty when women are not financially stable. More women can enter the workforce when they are able to plan their families. In the 1970s when birth control became widely available, there was a 30 percent growth for women in skilled careers.
Family-planning organizations do not aid just women but also their children. Children born after the onset of Planned Parenthood were more likely to live in higher-income homes. They were 15 percent less likely to live in a home that received public assistance and were 4 percent less likely to live in a home with a single parent, according to a September 2015 article in The Atlantic.
What is the most important in this case is understanding federal costs versus federal benefits. In 2014, Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million in government funds. However, half of all births in the United States are paid for by public insurance. In 2010, the government expenditures on unplanned pregnancies including births, miscarriages and abortions totaled $21 billion, according to a March 2015 Guttmacher Institute news release. The cost of funding Planned Parenthood is substantially less than covering the costs of not having it as a resource.
In 2015, abortion rates have fallen. This is due to the contraception available that was mandated in President Barack Obama’s health-care law. Fewer abortions equal better family planning for women. Better family planning for women equals more women receiving higher education and entering high-income career fields.
The federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives allows women to plan their families, which increases income for women and boosts the market. The cost of unplanned pregnancies on the federal government is greater than what it gives to Planned Parenthood, which would only hurt the economy if it was entirely defunded. Protesting, contacting your local representative, and becoming more informed are all ways Planned Parenthood can receive funding. Defunding Planned Parenthood would be an economic mistake, thus funding must continue.
Third-year in public affairs
John Glenn College Campus Ambassador