One current issue being debated about the American healthcare system is whether or not Planned Parenthood should be funded by government dollars. Opponents of Planned Parenthood largely disagree with the organization because it provides abortions, which are not federally funded. Proponents of the organization want to keep services available for Planned Parenthood patients, most of who are low-income women. The preferable solution to the Planned Parenthood debate would be a decision that does not remove important services from a disparaged population. Funding Planned Parenthood should be continued, as it is the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens rather than remove proven beneficial family planning resources from the public.
The recent election has Republicans in a powerful position, and special budget rules require only 51 votes to defund Planned Parenthood. This means that Democrats cannot prevent Republicans’ long-time efforts to defund the organization with a filibuster. Republicans are ideologically against the organization because it provides abortions and transfers fetal tissue for medical research. The party is overwhelmingly pro-life and against fetal tissue and stem cell research. They disregard the other services Planned Parenthood provides. Additionally, the healthcare system in America is being prepped for a huge overhaul with the efforts of the new presidency aiming at repealing and replacing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). The financial woes of these changes will require cuts wherever possible to sustain any healthcare system (Davis, 2017).
Regardless of a person’s opinion on abortion, the fact that Planned Parenthood provides other services more so than abortion cannot be ignored. In fact, only three percent of the services provided include abortion, and abortion is not federally funded with the exception of few cases such as rape or when the mother’s life is at risk. The majority of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are preventive services such as pap smears, immunizations, and screening for cancer. They also provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases and family planning services. The organization reaches populations that do not have other access to healthcare, and consequentially provides a service that is integral to many communities (Primrose, 2012).
Defunding Planned Parenthood would remove its federal funding through Title X grants that provide for family planning services. Other health services are typically paid through Medicaid dollars (Davis, 2017). As such, defunding it would significantly reduce healthcare expenditures by the federal government, but this would either remove essential services to the public or erroneously displace the burden. The preferred decision to this dilemma is to continue funding.
Many people believe that our healthcare system is a private industry, but the responsibility of government has caused steadily increasing government involvement and legislation to protect its citizens and benefit society. The provision of social security, Medicare, and Medicaid takes up a large portion of the federal budget, and regulation surrounding these payers have increased as a result. Since state governments have traditionally regulated private insurance companies, the mandated insurance included in the ACA again increased federal government involvement. Republicans have argued that federally regulating private insurance would increase competition in the market as it expands without the limitations of state boundaries. In the case of Planned Parenthood, the elimination of funding would result in negative health consequences for mothers and children. Research shows that it would not save the healthcare system money (Durkee, 2017).
Planned Parenthood delivers valuable services to the population, and unless replacements are available, it is unreasonable to defund it. Opponents want it defunded for ideological beliefs rather than the benefit of the population. Defunding will be met with huge opposition and support for Planned Parenthood services. The role of the government in healthcare is to protect its population, and in order to do this, Planned Parenthood should continue to be funded.
- Davis, S. (2017). What you need to know about the coming fight over Planned Parenthood funding. OPB. Retrieved from http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-coming-fight-over-planned-parenthood-funding/
- Durkee, A. (2017). How the government funds Planned Parenthood on the state and federal levels. Retrieved from https://mic.com/articles/165449/5-previous-super-bowl-halftime-shows-that-broke-ground-or-stirred-controversy#.dHqcSR44i
- Primrose, S. (2012). The attack on Planned Parenthood: A historical analysis. UCLA Women’s Law Journal 19(2)