The controversy around Planned Parenthood has recently brought the issue of abortion back into the news, and it seems like the right time to take a hard look at public opinion polling.
Recently, governor and presidential nominee John Kasich signed a bill into law, which, in effect, defunds Ohio’s Planned Parenthood. The result of this was made clear by CNN’s Tom Kludt and Cassie Spodak in their Feb. 22 report, which states, “The law will prevent more than $1 million in funding from the state health department from going to the nonprofit to fund programs such as HIV testing, health screenings and prevention of violence against women.”
When Texas cut Planned Parenthood and others from its payroll, the consequence was that, between 2011 and 2014, the number of births covered by Medicaid climbed 27 percent, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to the Guttmacher Institute, having a baby is estimated to cost $8,000 -– this includes things like prenatal care, labor and delivery. Planned Parenthood is one of the organizations helping people with these choices.
People who get pregnant who do not want children at a specific point in time might not have $8,000 lying around that they can spend on having a baby. This will plunge the new parent or parents into debt, therefore making them unable to give their child the best life possible.
Parents should be able to choose based on their own plans, their social and economic situation, and any other facet their life, whether they want to bring a child to this world or not. It would be one thing if Republicans were only fighting to make abortions illegal, but what they are doing is endangering the health of millions of women in the U.S.
As seen above, Planned Parenthood and its fellow clinics are not only there to conduct abortions, but for health screenings and prevention of violence against women. People like Kasich are endangering women who have been abused. One might say that a growing birth rate is good. This may be true on the surface, yet when we plunge into the matter we see that this does not hold water.
This all began with the Center for Medical Progress releasing what they alleged was footage of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue.
Just recently a grand jury declined to indict anyone from Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast — the initial target of the investigation. Not only did the jury not indict Planned Parenthood, it did indict the director of the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden, and his associate, Sandra S. Merritt, for criminal felony charges of tampering with a government record. Both have pleaded not guilty.
According to the New York Times, Judge William H. Orrick issued a preliminary injunction ordering abortion opponents not to release videos they had secretly made at meetings of abortion providers, and he added that, “the opponents’ claims that such organizations were illegally selling fetal tissue were baseless.”
This backs those that argue that Planned Parenthood was never illegally selling fetal tissue, and, therefore, is a definite blow for the anti-abortion camp.
Much of this debate has been clouded by emotions and values. Let us take a step back and look at the data. Gallup, a prominent polling service, reported on May 29, 2015 that Americans are 50 percent pro-choice. This marks the first time in seven years that pro-choice matched the pro-life movement in American opinion polling. With safer practices, Roe v. Wade and the stigma being somewhat reduced over the last 20 years, public opinion has clearly shifted in favor of abortion.
“I believe abortion should be legal because women should have the right to choose what they do with their own bodies,” said Brianna Tweed, a freshman.
Other students are more conflicted with the debate.
A male student named Chis Brizen, a senior, described himself as a pro-lifer and supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood as an institution. He does not think that the other services that Planned Parenthood provides are big enough to be mitigating factors.
“I am very torn between my opinions,” said freshman student Marina Ciniglio. “I know for myself, I could never have an abortion just because I can never do it emotionally. However, I feel it is not my place to tell someone that they cannot have one. My religion taught me it was wrong but I don’t see a problem with it.”