For the last several months, the women's health organization Planned Parenthood has been under attack.
It started with a series of videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal body parts. This week, it culminated into a congressional hearing where Planned Parenthood president Cecil Richards testified before a congressional committee.
What seems to be lost in the entire debate is that Planned Parenthood is actually well thought of by America. 47 percent of Americans think of Planned Parenthood favorably, compared to only 31 percent who don't. That's a higher approval rating than the President and either political party. It also has only gone up since the videos released in July.
During the hearing, there were two intense moments worthy of clarification: one came when Rep. Jason Chaffetz displayed a chart he claimed to show abortions now outnumbered cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. It was later discovered that the chart, which was produced by a pro-life group, had no Y-axis. The result was that it looked like Planned Parenthood had given more abortions than cancer screenings, which wasn't true.
Another came when Richards was asked to explain the discrepancy between her stating that abortions were three percent of Planned Parenthood services while their numbers showed it made up 86 percent of its revenue. Richards calmly explained that discrepancy was because no federal funding goes to abortions, and because they are so expensive they do make up 86 percent of their non federal revenue. In other words, a lot of their money comes from federal funding money and pays for other services, while most of their outside revenue comes from abortions.
Then today, on Reddit, a woman showed a side of Planned Parenthood that has been lost in all this.
"I didn’t have an abortion eight years ago, and I thank Planned Parenthood for that."
That was the headline of a post she made. The body told her story:
When I was a fifteen-year-old rape survivor with no money who had just found out I was pregnant, I naturally believed abortion was the only option. The counseling Planned Parenthood gave me is the reason I didn't have an abortion, which is a decision I know I would have regretted.
They didn't lie to me, the way crisis pregnancy centers lie to vulnerable young women– they didn't talk about God's wrath or "post abortive syndrome" or made-up cancer statistics. They just told me the truth. We talked about options, free of any religious baggage or moralistic agenda. There was no guilt or shame. No one at PP ever tried to talk me into it OR out of it.
And we were able to come up with a plan that would make carrying to term a viable option, because that's what I really wanted to do. I got all my prenatal care there, and it was a great experience. I even got hooked up with some free parenting classes in my area that were geared toward younger moms.
I personally do not believe in abortion for any reason other than the life of the mother being in imminent danger. That is only my personal belief, and I do not presume to have the right to impose that on other people via the legal system or other means– I'm not in their situation, and I can't make their choices for them. It may be the right choice for someone else, and that's not my place to decide. I can only speak for myself and my own situation.
Abortion was not the right choice for me eight years ago, and PP helped me see that there were alternatives in my case, and helped to make those alternatives possible.
It's just another reminder that Planned Parenthood is more than just abortions.