Attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on American women

It’s no secret that Planned Parenthood is under siege on a few fronts right now. As I wrote last week, the House GOP has proposed slashing all Title X family planning funding, some of which goes to Planned Parenthood clinics, and Rep. Mike Pence, emboldened by Lila Rose’s undercover videos, is introducing a bill that would specifically ban any federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

It has never been more clear just how little anti-choice politics has to do with saving babies. Planned Parenthood, and other Title X clinics, receive exactly ZERO dollars from the government to provide abortions. This hullabaloo is about funds that are solely used to offer low-income women (and men and teens) things like contraception, STD testing, pap smears, cancer screenings, and mammograms. That’s a whole lot of services that have exactly nothing to do with abortions–or else directly help prevent them. But in our fucked-up political lexicon, Planned Parenthood is short-hand for abortion–and attacking it scores you political points in some corners.

But far from the political football field of Congress, in the Real America where the rest of us reside, Planned Parenthood represents a whole lot more. It’s where 1 in 5 American women have gone to Planned Parenthood for health care at some point in their lives. Whether it was birth control pills when they were teenagers, or annual exams when they were uninsured, or an abortion when the unexpected happened. In fact, 60% of the women who get care from a family planning clinic, like Planned Parenthood, consider it to be their primary source of health care.

Anti-choice politicians think they can attack Planned Parenthood without attacking the millions of women who rely on its services. They think they can pander to anti-choice extremists while pretending they give a damn in the slightest about women’s health. They can’t. And the fact they’re trying suggests they think we are stupid or not paying attention. As Nancy Pelosi said last week, it “disrespects the judgment of American women.”

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sick and tired of being so disrespected. Let’s fight back: Make a video for the “America Needs Planned Parenthood” campaign. Tweet your support under the #ThanksPPFA hashtag. And call your Representative to demand they vote NO on these outrageous bills.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard. Before become a full-time writer, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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