By Beatrice Santiago
What is Planned Parenthood?
Before we can talk about the resources of Planned Parenthood, I think it is important to understand the history of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood started at a time when sex education and birth control was not permitted in the USA. A woman by the name of Margaret Sanger would soon change all that. She was raised in Corning, New York in 1916. After seeing her mother suffer from seven miscarriages, Margaret Sanger decided to study birth control. She later traveled to Europe where she would learn about not only birth control but sex education. As a huge advocate for Women’s rights, she would soon see restrictions from opponents.
Her first birth control clinic was shut down by police. (However, the clinic was still able to offer information about birth control.) Margaret Sanger spent 30 days in jail for refusing to pay the fine. This experience led her to travel the country and talk about birth control. Eventually, two organizations named Birth Control Clinical Bureau and American Birth Control League, joined to become Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A 1936 court ruling established that birth control and the information given about it would not be seen as immoral. This was one of many barriers birth control and its education has broken through to reach the public prominence it has today.
What are the resources of Planned Parenthood?
When looking at the website of Planned Parenthood, I found it to have easy to find tabs and info for women or anyone wanting resources. Topics cover: Pregnancy Prevention, to Health and Wellness, Sex and Relationships, and Sexually Transmitted
Infections (STDs). Additionally, there are guides for high school students and information about sex education. All this I believe is vital to not only women but men as well. In Idaho, there are three centers of Planned Parenthood: Boise Health Center, Meridian Health Center, and Twin Falls Health Center. Therefore, if you wanted to go to one in Idaho from Moscow, it would be about a six-hour drive. That is a long distance. Luckily, there is one across the border in Pullman, Washington.
Here on our campus, we have the Planned Parenthood Generation Action. They are a group of college students that fight for reproductive rights and educate people about sexual health. They give out resources, such as condoms, and they currently have sales where a big percentage of proceeds goes to Planned Parenthood. I know of and have talked to many of the members of this organization. I found out what makes them so successful is they are so approachable and willing to help with any questions one may have.
Why is Planned Parenthood so controversial to this day?
Planned Parenthood has been in controversy and been targeted by lawmakers, such as we saw with Republican Senator Dan Foreman here in Idaho. (Generation Action traveled six hours to Boise, the capital of Idaho, to meet with Foreman. One of the goals of their trip was lobbying for women to have a 12-month supply of birth control.) The main issue people have with Planned Parenthood is over their abortion services. According to NPR News, Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of abortion. The abortion procedure accounts for 3% of what this organization does.
Abortion often conflicts with people’s religious beliefs. Although, I understand these beliefs, I do not possess the same views. After having many heated debates with loved ones about abortion, I better understand their point of view. Two reasons why abortion should not be legal are: opponents see a human being that can potentially grow up to change the world for the better, and abortion is not morally right. These concepts are valid. However, sadly, many have made it impossible for both religion and pro-abortion to coexist. I have always felt that I had to choose one or the other–but not both.
There was a time in history when religious groups did support birth control.
Religions such as the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church, and the Anglican Communion fought to legalize abortion in the United States, during the 1960s.
A Latina Trying to be Religious as well as Pro-Choice
I love religion. I love the concept of it. I love God. I need God in my life. But, I have been struggling for quite some time with my beliefs and all Planned Parenthood does and stands for. As a Latina, I always had some sort of religion put before me. As a Catholic, I grew up having pictures of God and the Virgin Mary in my house and they are now in my apartment. Along with this, I do think that Abortion should be legal, and it’s the decision of women to use birth control (or not). Sex education and the choice to use it should be placed in our hands, too. It is important for our community, especially in this day and age.
–College students do have sex and it is important to be able to be informed and protected.
–I believe I should be allowed to be both religious and pro-choice.
–Planned Parenthood provides me the resources and services to enable, not only me but everyone else to have these freedoms.