For many of us, the words “Planned Parenthood” are almost synonymous with “abortion clinic,” but in fact, they should be more synonymous with “cancer prevention,” “men’s health care” and “LGBT services.”
The mission of Planned Parenthood is “to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual,” according to their website.
Despite what protestors may have you believe, you cannot walk into Planned Parenthood and get an immediate, government-funded abortion.
“Federal funding is not being used to pay for abortions,” Ruth Lednicer, director of media and communications for Planned Parenthood in Michigan, said.
The procedure is paid out of pocket or by private insurance and has at least a 24-hour wait period, according to Lednicer. In fact, the government cannot fund abortions according to the Hyde Amendment, with rare exceptions including incest and rape victims.
“We do offer abortion services,” Lednicer said. “It is a legitimate medical procedure that women have a right to.”
With the inauguration of President Trump, misinformation and protests are on the rise. Sources like “protestpp.com” giving exact dates and locations of Planned Parenthood protest, including the Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood on Feb. 11, the third since President Trump’s inauguration, according to protestpp.com.
“Obviously, [Trump] is on a different page than [Planned Parenthood],” Lednicer said. “The President and especially the Vice President have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Medicaid often reimburses at a lower rate than price of medication and Planned Parenthood has, for many women, been able to cover the rest, according to Lednicer. There aren’t other providers who are able to fund that.
“It actually means the worse thing for our patients,” Lednicer said. “They’ll tell you there are other places which can pick up the slack, but we know from experience there is not.”
There aren’t other Medicaid providers who are able to fund that remaining amount, according to Lednicer.
“More than one-quarter of Michigan’s 83 counties have no OB/GYN doctor. PPMI is often the only place our patients have to access health care,” according to the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
If Planned Parenthood gets defunded, many patients won’t have access to vital services it offers.
With President Trump vowing to take down Planned Parenthood, it would seem the protests are unnecessary, however many protests are not based in trying to change the government.
“Those protests are really about trying to intimidate patients who are going to get health care services like Pap smears and STD testing,” Lednicer said. “It’s really designed to intimidate those women walking in the door. It’s their legal right to go get health care.”
With President Trump in office, many women are worried for their future in health care services from Planned Parenthood.
“What we did see, and I mean literally the day after the election, there was a huge intake of calls from women who wanted long-term birth control,” Lednicer said. “They wanted to get something in place that they knew would last the entire Trump presidency.”
Although they offer abortion services, most of Planned Parenthood's efforts are put towards pregnancy prevention.
“97 percent of what we do is not abortion services,” Lednicer said. “The majority of what we do is working towards pregnancy prevention.”
In fact, unplanned pregnancy is at a 30-year low and teenage pregnancy in the United States is at an all-time low, according to Lednicer.
“The best way to reduce abortion rate is to reduce unplanned pregnancy,” Lednicer said, which is exactly what Planned Parenthood seeks to do.