Reply: “Abortion clash at heart of shutdown debate”

Federal Funds for Preventative Health Services

In response to the April 12th opinion piece, “Abortion clash at heart of shutdown debate,” VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood would like to correct some factual errors.

While the media surrounding the federal budget debates centered on abortion, the fact is that the federal funding in question is what allows Planned Parenthood to provide high-quality, low-cost, preventative health care to women, men, and teens.  These federal dollars go to annual PAP exams, contraceptives, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment.  Federal law already prohibits the use of federal dollars for abortion services via the Hyde Amendment.   Thankfully, 58 US senators saw past the rhetoric behind this amendment; eliminating Planned Parenthood from federal grant money is not only fiscally irresponsible and bad public health policy, but it would also leave several hundreds of people in Alaska without access to basic preventative health services.  Primarily, the people to bear the burden of that legislation would have been low-income and uninsured women.  Thankfully, both Alaska senators, Senator Mark Begich and Senator Lisa Murkowski, saw the danger in this kind of legislation, and voted in favor of women’s health.

Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization in the nation to decrease the rate of abortion in our country.  Nationwide, over 90% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are preventative.  And preventing unplanned pregnancies is the only way to lower the rate of abortion in the US.  This means giving women, men, and teens access to the information and resources that will keep them healthy and help them plan whether and when to have a child.

April happens[ed] to be Get Yourself Tested (GYT) month, an effort put on by MTV and Planned Parenthood.  Alaska often leads the nation with high rates of Chlamydia and gonorrhea—not to mention the high rates of sexual assault and domestic violence that our state reports every year.  It seems we have very serious issues to face as a state.  Arguing over the less than 1% of the federal budget that pays for annual exams is not helping anyone.


–VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood, UAA student club