Are Planned Parenthood and its services wrong?


A Planned Parenthood in Houston, Texas. Centers like this provide healthcare for men and women everywhere.

Taylor Easter

Planned Parenthood is a reproductive health service known for providing abortions, although that’s not all they do. Since most people believe that abortion is all they provide, most people criticize them and even talk about defunding Planned Parenthood because of abortion. Even though they do provide abortions, is it necessary to defund and criticize Planned Parenthood for a service that is rarely provided by the group?


It is important that we discuss this, especially after the November shooting of a Colorado Planned Parenthood and because Congress has voted eight times on defunding Planned Parenthood. We already have a federal law which mandates that taxpayer dollars may not be used for abortion, so patients already have to pay for that themselves.


Planned Parenthood and Abortion

Though Planned Parenthood is known for providing abortions, that is not all the organization does.  In fact, the group claims that only 3% of its contact with American women is for abortion. Other services offered by Planned Parenthood include, but are not limited to, classes on health and sexuality, access to contraceptives (various methods of birth control and emergency contraception), and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Abortions are just one of the many sections on the Planned Parenthood website. The other sections include Birth Control, Body Image, General Health Care, Pregnancy (just keep in mind that Planned Parenthood’s aim is to prevent pregnancy and provide women with options in case they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy).

Although Planned Parenthood’s primary focus is not abortion, their view of abortion is unique. The website is designed in a way that makes girls feel better about having abortions. The website says, “Abortions are very common. In fact, 3 out of 10 women have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.”

Not everyone visits Planned Parenthood to have an abortion. In a popular BuzzFeed article, staff members Lara Parker and Kirsten King asked 17 fellow staff members why they visited a Planned Parenthood. Only one staff member was there to have an abortion. Additionally, not all of the staff members asked were female. Out of the 17 staff members asked, two of them were male. A lot of the staff members asked went to Planned Parenthood for contraceptives or affordable health care services.

As someone who is pro-choice, I do not think that Planned Parenthood is wrong. I believe that abortion is a woman’s choice, and it is not society’s job to judge a woman who does. You can’t judge a person based on one choice. A woman can choose to have an abortion for a number of reasons. She could’ve been sexually assaulted, or carrying the baby could cause harm to the mother. Instead of judging a woman who chooses to get an abortion, society should try to support these women.

What Dickinson MYP Students Are Thinking

Students here at Dickinson seem to support Planned Parenthood. Eighth grader Maya Daly said, “It’s actually a really important corporation that provides affordable STD checks and breast exams to those who don’t have the medical insurance to afford it.”

Seventh graders Savannah McMahan and Luke Henderson seem to agree with her. Luke specifically agreed with Maya’s statements on affordable healthcare for people who cannot afford it.

“Planned Parenthood is an amazing thing, okay? Also, I know many people think it should be banned or, like, defunded because of abortion, but really, that’s, I think, 2% of what they do. Even if you are against abortion, it is a woman’s choice. It’s not your decision,” Henderson said.

“You have nothing to have against Planned Parenthood. It’s innocent,” McMahan said. She made it clear that she supports Planned Parenthood, and has no reasons not to.

Eighth grader Joshua Mortenson had a different idea on abortion, not Planned Parenthood.   “I’m still contemplating whether it’s a viable thing to do, because it violates some human rights,” Mortenson said. When asked why he thought so, Mortenson replied, “Because I do not think it is within the human power to destroy a life before it has been given a chance.” Additionally, when the topic of Planned Parenthood came up, Mortenson said, “I think that it’s just a very difficult matter.”


What Celebrities are Thinking

Planned Parenthood has received support from celebrities as well. Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence has stated that Planned Parenthood provided her with birth control and other contraceptives when she was growing up in a religious home. In an interview with Glamour, Lawrence also mentioned her opinion on the November shooting of a Colorado Planned Parenthood.

It’s so awful…it isn’t just an attack on abortions; it’s an attack on women. Because Planned Parenthood is so much more than [abortion.] My mom was really religious with me when I was young…And I wouldn’t have been able to get birth control if it weren’t for Planned P. I wouldn’t have been able to get condoms and birth control and all these things I needed as a normal teenager who was growing up in a Jesus house.

In the interview, Lawrence’s final comment on Planned Parenthood is, “But seriously. What harm comes from supplying people with birth control, condoms, Pap smears, and cancer screenings?” I agree with you on that one, Jennifer. If you are against abortion, that’s fine, that’s your belief. However, is there any reason to be against affordable reproductive health care and contraceptives? I, personally, do not think so.

Several celebrities have tweeted their support for Planned Parenthood. Singer Sara Bareilles says she supports Planned Parenthood because they gave her contraceptives, support, and information when she was a teen. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted that she supports Planned Parenthood and always will. Actress and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell tweeted her support as well. Other celebrities who support Planned Parenthood include Mia Farrow, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Perkins, Andy Richter, Sara Ramirez, and Holland Taylor.


Criticisms of Planned Parenthood

I believe that most of Planned Parenthood’s criticism comes from the fact that most people incorrectly assume that all Planned Parenthood provides are abortions. I myself believed this lie for a long time. In an article for, Steven Ertelt refers to Planned Parenthood as the “abortion business” and the “abortion company.” In reality, only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. They also provide healthcare services for people who can’t afford it.

However, some of the criticisms of Planned Parenthood have to do with the fact that they have been accused of selling the body parts of aborted babies. This evidence came from heavily doctored videos, and there is no actual evidence that they did anything illegal. They donated fetal tissue for medical research, which is legal. The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, has defended this claim, stating that the parts they used from aborted babies would be used for research.

After the November shooting of a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, Planned Parenthood received backlash over Twitter. Most of the criticisms came from people who disagree with abortion, with a lot of criticism stemming from the belief that Planned Parenthood kills thousands of babies and never makes national news.

However, not all tweets were critical of Planned Parenthood. Novelist Bryn Greenwood, who worked at a Kansas Planned Parenthood in the late 1990s, tweeted, “Our clinic didn’t perform abortions. We did well woman exams, dispensed birth control, & treated STIs.” That tweet is just one tweet in a series of tweets defending Planned Parenthood.

Other tweets detail the various acts of terrorism Greenwood and the other employees endured. Those tweets include, “2 cherry bombs were left on our doorstep after hours, causing damage & clinic closure. Imagine what it’s like going to work after that,” along with “Gasoline was poured under our back door & ignited 4 times. Twice while the clinic was occupied, causing patients to be evacuated,” and “We received hundreds of phone calls, threatening to torch our clinics & kill the ‘murdering whores’ who worked there.” In conclusion, Greenwood tweeted, “The goal was to make us afraid to come to work, to make us quit, to make us close the clinic. That’s terrorism. That’s how terrorism works,” and “Anyone who approves of harassing clinics is giving support to terrorism. #StandWithPP.”

I agree with Bryn’s tweets. It is not right to try and hurt people based on the choices they make. I do not think that itis right to try and police someone’s beliefs. I do not think it is right to agree with people who choose to harass and bother the Planned Parenthood employees and patients. I do agree that we should stand with Planned Parenthood, not against them.


Why I Agree With Planned Parenthood

My reasons for supporting Planned Parenthood are simple. Planned Parenthood is not an “abortion company.” Planned Parenthood provides few abortions. Planned Parenthood provides access to contraceptives, STI testing, and other services that America actually benefits from.

Here is why I disagree with the critical tweets. In my opinion, abortion is not murder. Murder is defined as “the unlawful killing of one human being by another.” First of all, abortion is legal, so it is not unlawful. Second of all, at the point where most abortions are performed, the embryo would not be able to survive outside of the womb on its own. A human being is defined as having  “superior mental development,” “power of articulate speech”, and “upright stance”. A fetus is defined as “an unborn human baby more than eight weeks after conception.” By this definition, a fetus is not a human being–or at least not until birth.

In some states, it is illegal to have an abortion after 20 weeks. According to the Planned Parenthood website, “While a majority of abortions in the U.S. occur in the first trimester, it is important that a woman and her doctor have every medical option available. Laws banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy would take a deeply personal decision out of the hands of a woman and her doctor.” The website also points out that it could be emotionally painful to have to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons and not being able to do so.

In conclusion, I do not think that Planned Parenthood is wrong. I do not think its services are wrong.  I do think that it is important to support Planned Parenthood and the people who choose to seek out the services offered by Planned Parenthood.


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