Planned Parenthood debate

Planned+Parenthood+debate

  Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion has been a controversial subject in the United States. But even before abortion was completely legal, Planned Parenthood was around.

  Over the summer, the Center for Medical Progress, a group against abortion, released videos of members of Planned Parenthood discussing fetal tissue research, which uses tissues from fetuses for biomedical research.

  Some opponents of Planned Parenthood report that members of the organization have been selling fetal organs, which is illegal. Supporters argue that the videos were edited and the sale of fetal organs was legally reimbursed.

  This argument sparked heated discussion, as demonstrated in the Republican  debate hosted by Fox News, where all 10 candidates talked of defunding the organization.

  Founded in 1913, the organization primarily focuses on the reproductive health of women. Planned Parenthood reports that three percent of the procedures they perform are abortions.

  However, according to the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life political group for women, about a quarter of the abortions performed in the U.S. are done by the organization.

  Granite Bay High School senior Max Buzzard said he doesn’t personally support abortion; however, that doesn’t affect how he views the association.

  “I think it’s truly acceptable,” Buzzard said. “If kids need help, they need help from an organization that knows what is going on. There is nothing wrong with that, and (I don’t think) it should be defunded.”

  Senior Madeline Clark is also pro-life, but said she wishes to see the organization shut down or at least defunded.

  “There are ways around (going to Planned Parenthood),” Clark said. “You can get money almost any way you want. People need to work hard, because they can do absolutely anything if they do. (Planned Parenthood) is a little more accessible (for lower income people) – but that doesn’t mean if Planned Parenthood wasn’t there, it would be completely impossible (to access health care).”

  To Clark, the organization holds little consequence in daily life. Still, Kaiser Permanente gynecologist Sunny Khurana said that it has a significant national impact. If defunded, changes would be evident.

  “(Some of ) our own patients go to Planned Parenthood between jobs,” Khurana said. “Without Planned Parenthood, they would have to figure out how to pay for a doctor’s visit, get whatever testing they needed and then get the contraception.

  “People don’t think that is as critical … and then sometimes a large fraction will get pregnant, or a (sexually transmitted disease) … but then they won’t get themselves checked because that’s again going to be several hundred dollars out of pocket.”

  For people without health care, finding adequate care would be more expensive in the absence of Planned Parenthood.

  “If you go to a place that takes insurance but you have none,” Khurana said, “you don’t pay the insurance rate – you pay your own out-of-pocket rate, which is ridiculously higher.”

  Most patients that go into Planned Parenthood are there for contraception, STD testing or some type of family planning, according to Khurana.

  “In terms of low-income people, those services are probably critical,” Khurana said. “Without it, you are going to get pregnant and wind up with more abortions and terminations – which, I think, nobody wants, including Planned Parenthood.”

  When 10 percent of the GBHS population was polled, numbers were significantly lower than the national averages reported by Planned Parenthood, which stated that 20 percent of women and men in the United States have used Planned Parenthood for a service at some point in their life.

  Assistant principal Sybil Healy attributed the wide disparity to the demographics of the Granite Bay community.
  “Wealth does determine what you do, in terms of behavior,” Healy said. “We have a very large mega-church, Bayside; to have a mega-church, you have to have a large part of the population that attends that church. Roseville/Placer County area is a mixture, but mainly conservative. And you’ll find that your teaching staff, parents, student body and the rest of the community are pretty similar.”

  Compared to other parts of California, Placer County is a political outlier.

  “Our school district of five high schools, a continuation school and adult ed, etc. has about 10,000 student bodies,” Healy said.  “If you go to Elk Grove Unified (School District)  it has 85,000 students because it’s K-12, so it’s much larger and you have a more diverse student body… So they have a wider variety of culture, behaviors and socioeconomic levels.”

  There are several reasons people in other communities use Planned Parenthood more often than Granite Bay residents.

  “(There are) more people out of work and people with parents who are in prison or jail,” Healy said. “People have been laid off and don’t generate a lot of wealth as they do over here; again, that would … impact your health care. Most (of our students) go to physicians on a regular basis, so they probably wouldn’t need to utilize Planned Parenthood.”
  While some people feel very strongly about whether abortion is morally right or wrong, others feel that is not a clearly defined issue.

  “Society is not perfect, and to pretend that you can make a rule that will apply to everyone and just say ‘no’ – I think that’s just crazy,” Khurana said. “The reason that people are anti-abortion is (abortions) actually are destroying tissue that could conceivably produce life. But in some cases, it can actually kill the woman, too. Or the woman could get killed; certainly – in other countries and this country – (women could be) ostracized for having a child out of wedlock.”

  To make an abortion a black and white issue would be simplifying it, Khurana said.

  “It’s very, very easy to draw a line in the sand and say that we shouldn’t have (abortions),” Khurana said. “But no physician goes into medicine thinking, ‘yeah, this is what I want to do.’ It’s one of those things in society that exists because we have inadequate contraception.”
  Attitudes in Placer County are seemingly limited.

  “Even though we have the International Baccalaureate program at our school, we are not an international high school,” Healy said. “We are very provisional and narrow in our thought processes because we assume that everyone thinks like us, and they do not. If we took this group of kids to the Bay Area, to another high performing school, they would be absolutely shocked because …  it’s more global.

  “We don’t have that culture here. We don’t have awareness and structure, which is hard – and that’s why people will not talk about Planned Parenthood.”

 

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