For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jan 06 2017
by Diana Pope

College Students Respond to GOP Plan To Defund Planned Parenthood

By Diana Pope - Jan 06 2017
This Thursday, Republican lawmakers announced that they will be removing funding from Planned Parenthood. House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the defunding measure will pass through Congress next month as part of an effort to repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Planned Parenthood is one of the country's largest health care providers, and is the nation's largest provider of sex education.  This organization provides STI testing, birth control, cancer screenings, hormone therapy, health care and abortions. 

Ryan announced this bold action after working with an investigative panel that forwarded the recommendation that Planned Parenthood should lose its access to Medicaid reimbursements and federal family-planning funds. It will be an arduous process for Democrats to oppose this new proposal considering that Republicans currently hold a 52-to-48 Senate majority.

 If the measure becomes law, Planned Parenthood will lose nearly forty percent of its funding. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi are  calling for activists to voice their concerns against the potential defunding of this organization.

However, conservative groups are saying that these anti-abortion measures are long overdue and believe that the government should not provide funds to an organization that has historically been known for providing abortions to women. The Trump campaign signed a letter in September pledging support for "defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions." 

College students are concerned that the defunding of Planned Parenthood could strip their access to necessary health services. Fresh U interviewed college students to hear their opinion about the new proposal to defund Planned Parenthood: 

Lydia Smith, Bryn Mawr College 

Well, I think it's a divisive and ignorant decision. At its worst, this move is an attack on low-income families and women, removing their already limited and underfunded access to health care and family planning. Most people behind the push don't understand, or care to understand, what Planned Parenthood actually provides to the public, so this action is the result of misinformation and scare tactics on behalf of conservative media and right-wing Republicans. Our only option is to resist. We have to take it upon ourselves to fight against this injustice, which means demonstrating, donating (to Planned Parenthood, but also non-profits supporting PP), calling our representatives. We need to make it known that we, the American people, won't willingly give up one of the biggest health care providers in our country. When politicians attack individuals' bodily autonomy and right to affordable health care, we must take a stand.

Julie Anne, University of Michigan

Speaker Ryan’s recent remarks are a continuation of the historical streak of anti-choice Republicans choosing fiction over fact. The attempt to defund Planned Parenthood has happened before, and will continue to happen, because they choose to believe in a false narrative. Planned Parenthood is one of the largest healthcare providers in the country. Only 4% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion related - but the GOP is more concerned with retaining radicalized voters than in protecting our right to comprehensive, affordable healthcare — a terrifying precedent that will, unfortunately, gain traction with the Trump presidency. Defunding Planned Parenthood will only increase abortion rates, since access to contraceptives will disintegrate, as well as increase abortion-related deaths. If this goes through, the only ones with blood on their hands will be the GOP.

Amelia Maria, Bryn Mawr College 

I am very angry. Planned Parenthood provides accessible health care to millions of people. It should not be shut down or defunded for political reasons. PP helps people get birth control, STD tests, cancer screenings  and other services. I find it unconscionable that lawmakers (Republicans led by Paul Ryan) would risk cutting off their constituents from such critical and life-saving health care services for a party agenda. It's disgusting and dangerous.

Rebecca Nachman, Bryn Mawr College

The defunding of Planned Parenthood is especially upsetting because none of the government's money was going to abortion in the first place. People think that Planned Parenthood is solely an abortion clinic, while in reality abortions only account for a small percentage of the services they provide. When the government defunds Planned Parenthood, they're defunding birth control access, STI testing and care, general gynecology, pre-natal care and sex education. It's incredibly ironic that access birth control and sex-ed lead to less unexpected pregnancies, and by extension less of a need for abortions, but the people who so deeply hate abortions are getting rid of their preventative measures. Politicians are taking away women's bodily autonomy, and it's not okay.

Zoe Plumb, Roger Williams University

My reaction to the Planned Parenthood defunding is that it is a joke. They have already been banned from using federal funding for abortions, and defunding Planned Parenthood means that the statistically lower income people will not have safe screening and reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood allows for people to screened for a wide range of issues, and defunding it means that now people don't have any where to go for these life saving measures that they provide.... Where will women go for their help?

The potential defunding of Planned Parenthood has caused discontent among many college students across the country. Planned Parenthood is currently rallying students to voice their concerns to the government, because so many individuals rely on this organization's important health services. It will be interesting to witness what happens in the coming weeks with this proposed legislation from the Republican Party. 

Lead Image Credit: Sarah Mirk via Flickr Creative Commons 

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Diana Pope - University of Tennessee Knoxville

Diana is a political science major who also enjoys journalism, history, and philosophy. She loves writing, researching, and debating about politics. In her free time, she enjoys Grey's anatomy marathons and reading detective fiction.

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