House votes to defund Planned Parenthood

The House voted 241-187 to defund Planned Parenthood for one year.

Funding for Planned Parenthood is in the hands of the U.S. Senate after the House of Representatives voted 241-187 in favor of defunding the nonprofit organization for one year Sept. 18.

The vote comes in the wake of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, which appear to show that the organization has made money off of the sale of human fetal tissue and organs obtained through abortions. The videos have intensified pro-life support around the country. Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing, saying the videos were heavily edited and made to distort actual events.

“As a trusted health care provider, Planned Parenthood has extremely high standards — and if there are ever questions about whether our standards are being met, we want to know about it so we can take swift action,” Planned Parenthood’s Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a news release.

However, Planned Parenthood’s services include more than abortions, and defunding clinics has some concerned about the future of sexual health for people who cannot afford mainstream services, such as students.

“I know a lot of college women I know have used Planned Parenthood for birth control and wellness exams because it’s affordable, and I feel like women’s health in this town would be horrendous (with a total defunding of Planned Parenthood),” senior Mayme Jordan said.

Planned Parenthood received about $500 million from the government annually. Those funds cannot be used toward abortions, which account for about 3 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood performs.

The Congressional Budget Office reported that a permanent defunding of the organization would increase government spending by $130 million because funding that would have gone to Planned Parenthood for their services would be reallocated to other clinics performing the same services under Title X, and Medicaid funding would be provided to more births than the current amount of 45 percent.

On MU’s campus, other options are available for students to get sexual health care, like the Student Health Center. Dr. Susan Even said it is important for students to be proactive and aware of their health.

The Student Health Center offers many of the same services as Planned Parenthood, like sexually transmitted infections tests, pregnancy tests, birth control and vaccines for human papillomavirus and Hepatitis B. The Planned Parenthood in Columbia also offers the morning after pill and abortions.

Even said there are many negative outcomes to not being sexually aware, like wearing barrier protection every time there is sexual contact. Another risk is pregnancy.

“We think about women as getting pregnant, but young men may be involved in the decision making process or have an impact in the unplanned pregnancy, which could have an impact on how long it takes for the student to get an education and whether they can afford to get an education,” Even said. “That’s one pretty life changing outcome.”

According to Planned Parenthood’s website, it is the nation’s largest provider of sex education and has about 700 centers across the U.S. In 2013, it performed over 10 million services nationwide, about 300,000 of which were abortions, according to the 2013-14 Planned Parenthood Annual Report. Government aid provided 41 percent of their funding.

Even said that students’ health is important no matter what provider they go to and that there are many health risks associated with not seeking care.

“Part of being healthy is being sexually healthy,” Even said. “Someone who doesn’t engage in sexual activities with other persons is still a sexual being and so having an understanding in all of the things involved in being healthy would include sexual health.”

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