There is news gathering around whom President Donald Trump will be appointing as Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services. This is crucial because this person will be in charge of healthcare services and organizations like Planned Parenthood who provide them.
In an article by the Huffington Post, it states that as of April 28,
“President Donald Trump on Friday said he intends to appoint Charmaine Yoest, a prominent anti-abortion advocate, as assistant secretary of public affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services.”
This news of his potential anti-abortion nominee comes after an important bill that was recently passed. On March 30, Vice President Mike Pence had to break a tie in the Senate regarding a bill regarding funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood. This bill will allow states to not provide funding to healthcare clinics that provide abortion services. These events could pose unequivocal harm to those seeking affordable medical care. President Trump’s secretary pick as well as the bill can infringe upon a woman’s right to healthcare and her ability to choose what to do with her own body.
Previously, according to an NBC News article,
“The Obama regulation — a Department of Health and Human Services rule — prohibits states from cutting Title X family planning grants to community health centers that serve mainly low-income Americans solely because they offer abortion services.”
Now that the bill has been passed and the former President Barack Obama regulation is no longer in effect, people may find it difficult to obtain healthcare services. The article continued, saying that Planned Parenthood believed the bill would allow states to discriminate against organizations, such as themselves, that provide healthcare along with abortion services (NBC News).
Samantha Wesner, Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Gable Health Center at Albright, explains her view upon the topic of Planned Parenthood in an interview.
“I think Planned Parenthood provides a service to women who need access,” said Wesner. Wesner believes women’s health is important and that they should be able to know what is going on with their bodies. Though she does not refer her college patients to outside services, she does recognize that Planned Parenthood provides care for women who need it.
While Wesner does support Planned Parenthood, she says that she does not support federal funding to pay for abortion services.
When Trump took office he reinstated the Global Gag Rule. The Global Gag Rule prohibits funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation which affects many men and women (Washington Times).
In 1973, the US Supreme Court decided in the court case Roe v. Wade that women had control over their own bodies. It said that women have the right to choose how to make their own medical decisions, even those that include abortion. Now that people are seeking new ways to defund Planned Parenthood and other family healthcare providers, people will have less accessibility to affordable treatment.
Elizabeth Sutcliffe, a future 2018 Albright graduate majoring in international relations and public health, believes Planned Parenthood is important because, “It is a primary source of healthcare for most men, women, and children who live in low-income areas and are potentially subject to poverty.” She is currently the treasurer of the NOW organization on Albright’s campus which is focused on educating people about women’s and human rights. Sutcliffe says that they host events that, “increase awareness of oppression and self-acceptance, and fighting for the political, economic, and social equity between women and men!”
Before the new bill was passed by the Senate, governmental funding was allocated to Planned Parenthood; however, taxpayer dollars were not used toward abortion services.
According to the Department of Health and Human Service’s website,
“Family planning services funded through the Title X program include: clinical family planning and related preventive health services; information, education, and counseling related to family planning; and referral services as indicated. By law, Title X funds cannot be used to provide or encourage abortion.”
Abortion is a controversial topic and the reason why many oppose Planned Parenthood; however, that only accounts for three percent of their services. Regardless, states should not be able to discriminate against family planning healthcare providers because they offer such services.
Gary Priore, a Junior Scientist at Chembio Diagnostic Systems Inc., believes women’s health and Planned Parenthood is important. He had attended the Women’s March on Washington after Inauguration Day this year.
Priore thinks the Women’s March, “Showed the voices of the people who need to be heard. By marching it shows that people are serious about the things going on in this country.”
He believes, “Planned Parenthood is important because . . . it is about planning parenthood. It’s not just that, it’s contraceptives, it’s learning how to plan for having a child and having a family.”
Regarding the gag order, he believes that women should be able to have autonomy over their own bodies which is stated in Roe v. Wade. Priore said, “It’s somebody elses body, you should be able to choose what you want to do with your body, not have somebody tell you you’re limited by this or that.”
Planned Parenthood’s website says that it provides health care to five million women and men each year. Their health care includes sexual and reproductive, as well as education and information. These services are necessary for women’s’ and men’s health. Planned Parenthood’s mission is prevention and health services.
“The other 97 percent of services were for contraception, treatment and tests for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings, and other women’s health services.”
Without Planned Parenthood, Sutcliffe feels that, “hundreds, even millions of individuals will go on without affordable healthcare services or a trusted doctor to get the proper care. Those who are of low-income may also feel like they have no choice in alternative options towards medical care due to lack of financial stability.”
Wesner believes that womens health is important, saying, “It’s important to start out young,” and, “to teach women how to take care of themselves and really know what’s going on with their bodies.”