Funding for Planned Parenthood Escapes Cuts" />
The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Funding for Planned Parenthood Escapes Cuts

Students on both sides of the issue respond to the budget decision

As stated emphatically at the top of its website, “Planned Parenthood is many things to many people.” No better words could sum up such a controversial organization.

Last month, the House of Representatives approved an amendment that would eliminate not only all federal funds for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, but also all funds for Title X family planning program, which offers similar services.

Although multiple initiatives to cut funding for Planned Parenthood have been presented to Congress over the past 25 years, the House of Representatives voted this year for the first time to eliminate funding from the entire Title X family planning program and Planned Parenthood.

Though rejected on April 8 from the final federal budget, the initial proposal sparked widespread controversy—Democrats on one side vying for the preservation of funds, and Republicans on the other, opposing the funding of what some perceive as an unprincipled organization.

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One of the issues at the heart of the controversy is a debate over Planned Parenthood’s mission and role in communities around the world.

TACT, the Teenage Communication Theatre, a Planned Parenthood-sponsored program, informs teens around North Texas about issues such as sex, dating, drugs, and body image. Several TACT members at Hockaday opposed the cut in funding.

In addition to an online petition, members of TACT attended a Lobby Day in Austin with other PPNT (Planned Parenthood of North Texas) volunteers to defend Planned Parenthood’s purpose and prevent the loss of government funding.

According to junior Regen, a two-year TACT member, “[TACT is] all about educating and spreading accurate information.” Regen and other members of TACT were outraged when Congress threatened to cut funds for Planned Parenthood.

The organization provides free condoms, cheap birth control, pap tests, STI (sexually transmitted infection) treatment and testing, general healthcare, and unbiased advice and support on a variety of topics for both men and women.

“Planned Parenthood (and other programs like it) provides cheap, easily-accessible health care for men and women who need it. Many people depend on its family planning services,” says Regen.

Senior Sarah, also in TACT, agrees. “One of Planned Parenthood’s representatives came in and explained it all to us,” she says. “I remember it was such a sad day; I left just feeling awful and angry that such a great organization was being unfairly penalized for just helping people.”

The girls point out that abortion consists of only 3% of the services offered by Planned Parenthood, and no government funding goes toward these abortions. Many centers, including Planned Parenthood of North Texas, do not offer abortion, and instead refer women seeking to terminate a pregnancy to an outside affiliate.

However, sophomore Emily says, “I have a hard time supporting an organization that does something that I think is unconstitutional and morally wrong.” Even though abortions are not directly funded by the government, Emily says, “The infrastructure of the whole organization is being paid for in part by taxpayer dollars.”

Although the funds and clinics for abortion are separate, the employees who may direct women to those clinics are paid in part by government funds.

According to plannedparenthood.org, 60% of women consider a family planning health center their primary source of health care.If funding had been cut, many of these women would have had to visit general hospitals or emergency rooms for these services, where the walk-in fee alone can exceed $500. For a low-income family without health insurance, a visit to the emergency room is not always feasible.

Even so, as Emily points out, the organization has been under scrutiny for multiple cases of alleged illegal activity.

In early February, Live Action, a youth-led pro-life movement, released a video of two of its members, one posing as a pimp and the other a prostitute, walking into a Planned Parenthood office to seek advice on running a business in sex trafficking.

In the video, the Planned Parenthood employee appears to turn a blind eye to the illegal nature of the situation and freely offer advice to the pimp.

The employee was fired the following day.

However, the legitimacy of this video and those that followed is under question, especially after a strikingly similar video, which was later revealed a hoax, resulted in Congress repealing funding for ACORN.

Beyond the scandals, Planned Parenthood is pressured, like so many other organizations, by the recent federal budget crunch. In this time of parsimony, Emily does not believe it is the government’s business to intervene in matters concerning health care.

“If you wanted to get tested for an STD, you could go [to Planned Parenthood], but I might say that is a decision based on a lifestyle choice…Why is it the burden of the taxpayer that someone has made a choice?” Emily suggests that, “Maybe private organizations like charities should be the one paying for that, not tax dollars.”

But Regen believes that Planned Parenthood merits the funding it receives. “Planned Parenthood gives so much to our community and our country, and government funding is a big part of that.”

—Annabel

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