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According to 50 percent of Americans, I am pro-death.
Because Americans currently classify themselves as being pro-life and pro-choice in the debate about the legality or morality of abortion.
I choose to vote pro-choice. So wouldn’t that make me the opposite of being pro-life? I can say with good authority that I am not the opposite of pro-life. I promise I have never murdered anyone.
However the connotation associated with being the opposite of pro-life makes it seem like I am – to some.
In recent elections, a point of contention was the government funding of Planned Parenthood. Urban Dictionary definitions of Planned Parenthood include “a place to decide the fate of your child, fully ‘equipted’ with a revolving door for those who are completely irresponsible and use abortion as a form of birth control over and over again.” According to Students for Life’s Planned Parenthood Project, which held a demonstration on campus Wednesday, “92 percent of PP’s pregnancy services were abortions.” This is blatantly false.
Only 3 percent of their funding goes toward abortions. Out of their $11 million budget, only about $300 thousand went toward performing abortions, according to their annual budget. Most of the money PP receives goes to treatment and testing of reproduction-related health concerns. Nearly $4 million – 41 percent – of their budget deals with testing or treating STDs for both women and men.
The rest of their funding goes to services involving cancer screening and prevention, contraception, pregnancy tests, prenatal services, family practice services, adoption referrals and various other procedures.
One argument against PP I keep hearing is that it is wealthy enough to survive without government funding. Hardly. Around 45 percent of their revenue comes from government health service grants and reimbursements. It’s hard to survive with half your budget.
Others say PP is not safe for women or girls, and critics recently pounced on a PP in Delaware for having “unsafe and unsanitary conditions.” Although the state of that particular PP was unacceptable, it is important to keep in perspective the scope of their operations. Many health care facilities struggle with cleanliness and safe conditions. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, more than 100 thousand people die each year due to infections contracted while in health care facilities. That is an alarming statistic and one that shows a wider issue. One that should drive change, not agendas.
Another misconception is that abortions are performed almost exclusively on pre-teens. However, according to the National Abortion Federation, most women who have abortions are older than 18. Only 20 percent of abortions are performed on women between the ages of 15 and 19, and most states have laws requring girls under 18 to have parental consent for an abortion. And while the most fervent objections to PP come from religious sources, it turns out that more than 70 percent of abortions are performed on women with religious affiliations, according the Guttmacher institute. PP is an asset for many people of all walks of life. You do not have to seek or need an abortion to go there. Losing PP would be a travesty, regardless of how you feel about one issue.
Just because you would not receive an abortion does not mean other people should not be allowed to. Prior to Roe v. Wade, thousands of women died due to illegal abortions. Now, abortions are 11 times safer than childbirth with less than 1 percent of procedures resulting in major complications, according to the National Organization for Women’s website.
An abortion is not an easy thing for a woman to go through. An abortion is never black and white. It is important to realize that voting for a woman to have control over her body does not mean she supports death. It is more appropriate to say that those who are not pro-choice are anti-choice. They vote for women to live by their policies. They vote for the end of PP, a place for people seeking health help. They vote for less freedom in the United States of America.
Eleanor Hasken is the assistant photo editor and editor of The Kentuckian. Her Thursday column appears weekly in the Kernel.
Note: A previous version of this column incorrectly referenced the National Center for Policy Analysis.