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Planned Parenthood Defunding Prompts an Outcry

%22100+years+strong%22+banner+hanging+outside+of+Santa+Barbara%E2%80%99s+local+Planned+Parenthood+facility+to+celebrate+the+organization%E2%80%99s+100th+anniversary.+Planned+Parenthood+California+Central+Coast+continues+to+offer+confidential+walk-in+services+and+sexual+education+to+teenagers+in+the+Santa+Barbara+county+area.+
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Planned Parenthood Defunding Prompts an Outcry

"100 years strong" banner hanging outside of Santa Barbara’s local Planned Parenthood facility to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary. Planned Parenthood California Central Coast continues to offer confidential walk-in services and sexual education to teenagers in the Santa Barbara county area.

Photo credit: Jaden Gill

"100 years strong" banner hanging outside of Santa Barbara’s local Planned Parenthood facility to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary. Planned Parenthood California Central Coast continues to offer confidential walk-in services and sexual education to teenagers in the Santa Barbara county area.

Photo credit: Jaden Gill

Photo credit: Jaden Gill

"100 years strong" banner hanging outside of Santa Barbara’s local Planned Parenthood facility to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary. Planned Parenthood California Central Coast continues to offer confidential walk-in services and sexual education to teenagers in the Santa Barbara county area.

By Jaden Gill, Managing Editor

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On January 23rd, President Trump signed an executive order restricting federal funds from aiding organizations that promote abortion, reiterating his “pro-life” stance. Among these programs is the nationally renowned Planned Parenthood, which has since pledged to continue advocating for affordable health care, despite the loss of the $100 million it previously received from the U.S. government annually.

“We cannot — and will not — deny life-saving services to the world’s poorest women,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement. “We will work with governments and donors to bridge the funding and service gaps the Global Gag Rule creates. We will ensure that women can exercise their rights and access safe abortion and family planning.”

The pro-choice supporters occupy the vast middle ground on the abortion/reproductive health issue, including those who may be uncomfortable with the concept, but still view it as a personal choice. According to a Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who believe that having an abortion is a decision that should occur confidentially between a patient and their doctor is the highest it’s been since 2008.

With the recent controversy surrounding President Trump’s barring of federal funds, pro-choice advocates have been standing by females’ reproductive freedoms. Many of these Planned Parenthood supporters are teenagers who view the organization as a secure facility that provides valuable resources.

“Planned Parenthood is so important in that it gives options, it’s completely confidential and allows teens to feel safe and in control of their bodies,” said Bella Vigna, Dos Pueblos junior. “Teenagers can go in if they have strict parents or families that aren’t financially stable and they can get things that are generally expensive like condoms, birth control, and Plan B for free.”

Those protesting the recent defunding of Planned Parenthood, are emphasizing the argument that abortions are only a fraction of what the organization does, while supporters of the ban believe any place that facilitates aborting a child is inhumane.

“Everyone has a right to live, regardless of what stage of life they are in. The Founders knew this when they built this country,” junior Paige Maho said. “Regardless if one does not believe in the practices of Planned Parenthood, they still have to pay their hard earned money to fund it.”

Like Maho, many are opposed to their tax dollars being put towards abortions; however, that does not mean those same people turn their backs to affordable, easily accessible reproductive care.

Liora Goodman, Director of Public Policy and Community Engagement for Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, emphasized the reality behind the American people’s intentions regarding health and reproductive care.

“Sixteen national polls have shown overwhelmingly that Americans support Planned Parenthood,” Goodman said. “And even 48% of Trump’s own supporters do not want to see Planned Parenthood defunded. The American people do not want —and did not vote to see — their healthcare stripped away.”

Many pro-life partisans instead choose to support alternative health services that do not provide abortions. In Texas, for example, Planned Parenthood was replaced with The Women’s Health Club, which provides health screenings, birth control, and prenatal care. This is said to be an effective alternative by those who do not support all of Planned Parenthood’s services.

“They saw results. The abortion rate and the number of pregnancies dropped,” Maho said of The Women’s Health Club. “This new way of addressing women’s health care gave women helpful prenatal care, and if implemented for the rest of the country, would only have positive results.”

Goodman has dealt first hand with politicians who want to shut down the organization, but is not ready to walk away from the historical progress society has made in reducing teen pregnancies.

“Those hurt the most by recent funding attacks would be those who already face barriers to accessing quality health care — especially people of color, LGBTQ people, people with low incomes, and people who live in rural areas,” Goodman said. “Without Planned Parenthood, many of our patients would have nowhere else to go for care.”

The defunding will drastically impact teenagers both globally and in the Santa Barbara community, where numerous young adults rely on the contraceptives, well-women exams, and sexual education provided at the local Planned Parenthood.

“In 2013, Planned Parenthood provided education and outreach to 1.5 million people of all ages across the country,” Goodman said. “The teen pregnancy rate is at a historic, 40-year low, thanks, in part, to increased investment in sex education programs and access to birth control.”

The debate continues to intensify as pro-life and pro-choice activists advance to make their voices heard, but as the President moves to fulfill his pro-life campaign promises, both sides of the spectrum will begin to notice change, whether they like it or not.

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