Supporters of Planned Parenthood protest de-funding listen02/28/11 Janelle Irwin
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Protesters gathered Friday in front of Congressman Bill Young’s office in Seminole in support of Planned Parenthood. The protest was in response to Young’s vote to de-fund the organization.
President Obama requested $327 million in Title X money, a budget that funds agencies supporting sex education and women's healthcare. Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides affordable healthcare to both men and women has long been a recipient of that money. Supporters of de-funding Title X say it is a budget cut aimed at decreasing the national deficit. But Planned Parenthood’s Director of Public Affairs Wendy Grassi said this budget cut is merely a short term fix.
Representatives claim that this cut has nothing to do with their stance on abortion, that it is only aimed to reduce spending. However, the bill’s sponsor, Mike Pence of Indiana, called it “A victory for taxpayers and a victory for life” after the bill passed the House on February 18th. Pence has a long standing history of pro-life activism. Mike McIntyre, a Representative from North Carolina also said that Planned Parenthood is an agency that promotes abortion. But federal law forbids agencies from using federal grant money for abortions.
Women seek treatment at over 800 Planned Parenthood locations nationwide. Julia Mullins is one of them. She said organizations like Planned Parenthood are the only health care option for women such as herself.
Abortions make up only 10% of Planned Parenthood’s services. The other 90%, the part that benefits from Title X funds, seeks to prevent the need for women to go to the last resort. Mullins said she is concerned not just for herself, but for the scores of women that will lose out on what little health care they have.
The battle is not over for Planned Parenthood and other Title X beneficiaries though. This bill must still pass through the Senate. Grassi is hopeful that the Senate will recognize the importance these federally funded health care services play on public health and family planning.
Grassi said there is no way to quantify the effects de-funding will have on Planned Parenthood and the patients it sees if it passes. A day of lobbying will occur in Washington on March 1st in hopes to win votes against the bill.
Representative Bill Young did not respond to our request for an interview.