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Keep your laws out of my uterus: why Planned Parenthood is essential to women’s health

I was raised in a Catholic family, and we weren’t Easter-Christmas Catholics — we were Mass every Sunday in ordinary time kind of Catholics. My brother and I attended Catholic school, went to Catechism classes and had extremely formal First Communion ceremonies. It would be a reasonable assumption that my upbringing in the Catholic faith would make me pro-life, and it would also be a reasonable assumption that my break with the faith makes me antagonistic towards pro-life advocates. Neither one of these assumptions is true.
I could take time to defend my pro-choice stance with a faith-based defense. I could discuss how Matthew, Chapter 7 says something to the extent of, “judge not, that you be not judged,” and then goes on to advise the sinner to see the log in his own eye before pointing out the speck in his brother’s. I could talk about how Mary Magdalene, condemned by her peers on Earth, was saved by Jesus only to become one of his closest followers and the first witness to his resurrection. I could remind people that use faith to back up their pro-life stance that they are doing exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches, because they aren’t God. But, I won’t do any of those things. I don’t believe in sin and I certainly don’t believe in God anymore.
My decision to be pro-choice arises out of my strong belief in bodily autonomy. I would no sooner tell someone what dress he/she should or shouldn’t wear than I would tell someone what he/she could or could not do to his/her own body. A great deal of attention is often given to the life — a term I use lightly and in the same manner that I would describe diploid cells as life — of the fetus but rarely is there much focus on the life of the pregnant woman. I think when considering abortion it is important to consider all of the intricacies and restrictions that it (rightfully) already has in place.
In 1973, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision in the case of Roe v. Wade. The Court ruled that the right to privacy extended to a woman’s right to have an abortion (aka make a decision about her own body) and also ruled that in an attempt to protect the potentiality of human life, abortions after the fetus’ point of viability were not legal. In this case the court defined viable as being able to live outside of the mother’s womb, including with artificial aid. So the argument that abortions end a human life (when abortions are only legal so long as that fetus has no potential for human life, even with the help of machines) — it’s over, it’s cancelled. Science won. I don’t say that to be insensitive, although it sounds that way; I say it to be honest. If a woman were to give birth to a fetus prior to the point of viability, the fetus would die anyway. It is not capable of being a life on its own yet, and it needs a host to survive. To suggest that any woman is obligated to be that host not only takes away her freedom and privacy, but also takes away her bodily autonomy. While I highly doubt that I would/will ever get an abortion, I hold that that is a choice every woman deserves to make for herself.
What is even more nonsensical to me is the mass of people who sing the duet pro-life, defund Planned Parenthood. To be pro-life, in my mind, would demand that I was also pro-Planned Parenthood.
According to CNN, only three percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortions. Since people tend to prefer big numbers, 97 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides are not abortions — that means to defund Planned Parenthood would punish the 97 percent of service-seeking patients who are there for birth control (which cuts down on unwanted pregnancies), sexual education information (which cuts down on unwanted pregnancies), vasectomies and female sterilization procedures (which cut down on unwanted pregnancies), pregnancy STI screenings and annual gynecological care. 
According to the same CNN article, a 2016 poll revealed that 26 percent of patients said the Planned Parenthood site was the only place that they could go for the services that they required. People who have no other option for sexual health care will have nowhere to turn with defunding of Planned Parenthood. Defunding Planned Parenthood would also add to the burden of unwanted pregnancies and desired abortions, a thing that I would think pro-life advocates would want to prevent. According to the Planned Parenthood website, their services help prevent approximately 579,000 unintended pregnancies in a single year.
It looks to me like Planned Parenthood is part of the solution to lowering abortion rates, not part of the problem. I find it hard to think of being pro-life and anti-Planned Parenthood, unless you just want to be mad all of the time — something’s got to give. But at the end of the day, I just have to pose one political question: If you want smaller government, why is it that you want to leave your government in my uterus? It has been and always should be #MyBodyMyChoice. 

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