In response to calls to defund Planned Parenthood, the organization’s leadership and it’s many defenders (both politicians and the media) claim that defunding would be an assault on women’s healthcare. But this is actually not true. While Planned Parenthood is by far the leading provider of abortions in the US, it by no means has a monopoly on women’s health and reproductive care. One can quite easily be against Planned Parenthood and yet be for women’s health.
An online symposium at National Review asked the question, “If Planned Parenthood Goes, Where Do Women Go?” and many of the answers were fantastic. The article is quite long (over 4,000 words), so below are a few of the answers that stood out to me and proves that there are plenty of options for women’s health besides Planned Parenthood (n.b. my favorite is C. C. Pecknold and his use of “choice architecture”):
Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies, Baylor University:
“So, it would not at all surprise me to see, soon after the disappearance of Planned Parenthood, growing platoons of pro-life citizens building on the work of the many crisis-pregnancy centers throughout America that have labored for decades under the suspicion, harassment, and condescension of the abortion-choice industrial complex. Because that supercilious contempt of bygone days would quickly become unfashionable, the pro-life movement would be unleashed to develop in its fullness what it has in the past 40 years nobly performed in conditions under which other movements would have folded.”
David Daleiden, project leader at the Center for Medical Progress:
“In short, women will go to federally qualified health centers, which provide all the services Planned Parenthood does and more, except abortions. FQHCs also treat you regardless of your ability to pay (PP does not provide any services for free). Like many millennials, I have received care at FQHCs, and they are great.”
C. C. Pecknold, associate professor of theology at the Catholic University of America:
“What defunding Planned Parenthood would really mean is a reduction in the costliest side of the house — the abortion side.
Consider a young woman, let’s call her Maria, and let’s say she’s black since most “clinics” are intentionally placed in minority neighborhoods, which is why half of all babies killed in Planned Parenthood centers are actually black babies. The young woman arrives scared and uncertain about what to do. The forms are filled out and she is given several options, including adoption referral. Last year, 327,000 babies were killed in Planned Parenthood clinics, while only 1,800 women took up the agency’s offer of adoption referral. What does that mean? It most likely means that Maria, and women like her, experience a certain “nudge” in a Planned Parenthood clinic. No one ever tells Maria to get an abortion. But there is a “choice architecture” in the Planned Parenthood culture that consistently inclines women to seek only one gruesome solution — a solution at which the agency truly excels.
Defunding Planned Parenthood will not mean that women will no longer be able to get access to reproductive health care. What it will mean is that the “choice architecture” will change. Planned Parenthood’s federally funded monopoly on “reproductive health” will shift to the thousands of crisis-pregnancy clinics (CPCs) whose “choice architectures” are not so ruthlessly inclined to death. CPCs have one thing in common that Planned Parenthood lacks: a choice architecture that really gives women options, good choices, and doesn’t use our tax dollars to ensure that 94 percent of pregnancy-related contact results in an abortion, as it currently does under the direction of Cecile Richards.”
Grace-Marie Turner is the president of the Galen Institute:
“Women do not need Planned Parenthood.
But where would women go instead? Community health centers and [sic] free, and charity clinics are an important part of the health-care safety net, offering alternatives in which the focus is on delivering health care, not the destruction of life.”
Michael J. New is a visiting professor of Economics at Ave Maria University and an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute:
“If Planned Parenthood disappeared, low-income women would still be eligible to receive health care from one of hundreds of federally funded community health centers. Pregnancy help centers would also pick up some of the slack. There are over 2,000 centers across the country that assist more than 2.3 million women annually. …
In the past 40 years, pregnancy help centers have succeeded where the abortion industry has failed. They offer real alternatives to literally millions of women facing crisis pregnancies.”
You can read the whole article here.