Republicans actively harming women’s health

Columnist Olivia Hunt

Columnist Olivia Hunt

“I’m pregnant and I’m going to have an abortion,” a girl leans over the table and whispers to her friend at a bustling coffee shop. “I’m 19 years old and trying to finish college, I’m just not prepared mentally, emotionally or financially to make such a lifelong decision right now.”

This is only one scenario of many that leaves women incapable of birthing and raising a child they become pregnant with.

The stigma against abortions and abortion clinics has existed and will always exist due to people having different views, whether it be religious beliefs, family values or personal reasons.

Unfortunately, this is the reality we are facing as women. As many programs that benefit millions are being defunded, Planned Parenthood is among them. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate on Thursday to overturn a law implemented by the Obama administration that prevented the defunding of family planning services.

“Mike Pence went from yesterday’s forum on empowering women to today leading a group of male politicians in a vote to take away access to birth control and cancer screenings,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.

Only two Republican senators broke from their party to vote against the defunding. Susan Collins of Maine said, “If you’re serious about trying to reduce the number of abortions the best way to do that is to make family planning more widely available.”

Abortions are extremely common considering 3 out of 10 women in the United States have an abortion by the time they’re 45 years old. These politicians fail to realize that the government funding that family planning services receive cannot be used to pay for abortions. Moreover, the contraceptive services provided by Planned Parenthood are estimated to prevent well over 200,000 abortions a year.

There are countless statistics that women could throw in the face of pro-lifers, but why should we have to? Why are we still fighting for our right to make our own decisions?

Since 1916, Planned Parenthood has been providing low-income women with services such as birth control, STD testing, cancer screenings, the morning after pill, abuse counseling and the list goes on. They even offer more general services for young children, flu vaccines, diabetes screenings, anemia testing, cholesterol testing and even a program to help quit smoking.

Locating the services that Planned Parenthood provides is as easy as making a Google search, so why are people hyper-focused on abortion services when that is just a small portion of what they do to help women? Men also benefit from Planned Parenthood services—do you think they’re going there for abortions?

Without services that provide safe abortion services performed by doctors, women will resort to performing them alone, which is endangering themselves, and will ultimately not reduce the number of abortions.

How will stripping women of their right to reproductive health care benefit these Republican lawmakers? These politicians are so preoccupied with instilling fear into people by making these power moves, they are ignorant to the devastating impact these changes are going to make.

No one should be able to take away someone’s right over their body. No one should claim that a woman who was raped and became pregnant is not legally allowed to abort the child of her rapist. No one should claim that a woman who has a miscarriage should not legally be able to abort the dead fetus inside of her. The truth is, there are a myriad of reasons that a woman chooses to get an abortion, and were sick of having to fight for our right to do so.