Written by Karie Holton
Over the past several weeks, Planned Parenthood has been hit with a series of attacks meant to expose and terrorize the organization and those who support it. The attacks range from attempted cyber infiltration that would result in the exposure of sensitive employee data to sting videos released by an anti-abortion group claiming to show the organization providing fetal tissue to researchers.
These attacks are nothing new, but have drawn media attention and resulted in a proposed bill that would take away more than $500 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood.¹
Attacks like these represent attacks against reproductive health and rights as a whole, and should be recognized for what they are—violence against women.
What Do I Mean By “Reproductive Rights”?
When referring to reproductive rights, people are often quick to think of abortion. While abortion is a part of it, it is certainly not the only reproductive freedom we’re fighting for, and not the only service Planned Parenthood provides.
Reproductive rights and freedoms also include access to birth control and condoms, access to sexual healthcare, sex education, planning information, adoptions, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization and generally any information or health related service connected to reproduction.
The State of Reproductive Rights in Louisiana
In 2014, Louisiana received an “F” grade and was given the second worst ranking in the country from NARAL Pro-Choice America based on women’s reproductive rights in the state. Here are a few facts about reproductive rights in Louisiana:
- 92 percent of Louisiana parishes have no abortion provider.
- A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.
- The parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.
- A woman must undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; the provider must show and describe the image to the woman.
Why Should You Care?
Planned Parenthood represents a symbol of healthcare for millions of women. But access to their many services is at risk because of both legal and funding issues. Organizations like Planned Parenthood allow individuals to access knowledge that prepares them for a sexually healthy life.
What Planned Parenthood needs now is outspoken, widespread support from people in all movements. We need to let the organization’s attackers know that shutting down Planned Parenthood will increase STI rates and unplanned pregnancies. We need to demonstrate that this is not just a women’s issue, but a public health issue, an educational issue and a human issue.
If you support women’s and sexual health, it’s more important now than ever that you tell everyone that you #StandwithPP.