What the War on Planned Parenthood is really about.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health, as well as maternal and child health services. It has been almost 100 years since it was founded on Oct 16, 1916. Recently the call to de-fund the organization has once again risen to a feverish pitch in the halls of Congress. Eloquent speeches and political rhetoric aimed at, if not destruction, then at least to cause serious damage to the institution’s ability to provide the vital and essential services that Planned Parenthood does for women, children and men nationwide.
The attacks on Planned Parenthood usually escalate with each “political season” with the candidates vying for office, mostly on the conservative right, using fiery hate-speech and unrelenting focus on one particular service that the organization provides to women as the singular reason the entire organization needs to be utterly destroyed. That service is abortion. Whether you are pro choice or pro life, I happen to be both, it needs to be stated for the record that only 3% of the health services provided by Planned Parenthood have anything to do with abortions. Which means that 97% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are about the health and well-being of its clientele, which is predominantly women, but also youth and men. They provide vital services such as women’s health care, mammograms, cancer screening and prevention, STD/STI screening, prevention and care, sex education, contraception, family planning, HIV education/testing and treatment, and much more. Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services to people who, otherwise, may not be able to afford or have access to them. Their slogan is “CARE. No matter what.”
Recently, those who want to bring Planned Parenthood down, because they provide abortion services and, for some, even because they provide contraceptive services have begun to bring a new focus to their argument. Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood, along with Ethel Byrne, in 1916. Birth control was a way to give women the option whether or not to become pregnant and the ability to actually plan their pregnancies and increase the economic stability of their families. It was revolutionary; empowering women and giving them some semblance of reproductive freedom. However, Sanger was a proponent of eugenics and her racial politics have become the new line of attack on the organization she founded nearly 100 years ago. All of which has nothing to do with the work or focus of Planned Parenthood in 2015. To say that Planned Parenthood is located specifically in the Black community to “control” the Black population is a patently false statement. The truth is, only 14% of the organization’s clientele are Black, and 60% of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in predominately white neighborhoods, not Black. Additionally, there is already a federal law that prohibits any federal money to go towards the financing or funding of abortion, so why do these political zealots want to throw the baby out with the bathwater?
Sanger’s birth control movement did have support in black neighborhoods, beginning in the 1920s when there were leagues in Harlem started by African Americans. Sanger worked closely with NAACP founder W.E.B. DuBois on the “Negro Project,” which she viewed as a way to get safe contraception to African Americans. The point is using the politics and/or beliefs of Margaret Sanger are a Trojan Horse (forgive the pun). The founders of the United States of America had some despicable political and social views as well, and yet, I embrace my citizenship whole-heartedly and work towards the equality and justice, promised in the Constitution that didn’t originally include me.
The real agenda could be that CHOICE is still a problem for many who are threatened by the empowerment of women and girls over their reproductive health. Threatened by the right of women to take control over their destiny and not become victims of it just because they are female. And for this cause, “they” have decided to destroy Planned Parenthood.
Up Next Week: Last Days of Summer