Your Rights to Equal Health Care (Including Planned Parenthood)

Throughout the debate surrounding funding cuts for Planned Parenthood, a lot of “facts” have been thrown around.  One side of the debate has been almost entirely about abortion.  The other side has talked a lot about general health care, particularly women’s.

So what ARE the facts?  What are our rights?  Do we have a right to the services offered by Planned Parenthood?  Is Planned Parenthood all about abortion?

  • Rumor: There is no right to health care.
    Fact: As you will see below, international declarations and laws clearly state a right to health care and access to health care services.
    But that’s international law.  What about the United States?  It only signed those laws, it never ratified them.  We don’t have a right to health care.
    Fact: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
    We should all be equally protected by laws.  Cutting the funding to those organizations that provide care to those who cannot get it elsewhere would leave these organizations and their clients unequal and unprotected.
    Food for Thought: Furthermore, do we really want to justify laws that violate human rights because the U.S. never ratified the international law that protects the inherent rights of human beings?  Just think what could become legal if we legitimize that standard.
  • Rumor: Margaret Sanger was into eugenics and that’s the real mision of Planned Parenthood.
    Food for Thought: First, if anything were judged solely based on the ideals of its founders, including the United States of America, we have no idea of the current mission of anything.  The founding fathers considered women and African Americans property.  They considered African Americans only as slaves who were certainly less than human.  Only white, propertied, wealthy men could participate in government.  Does any of that adequately describe the state of he U.S. today?
    The truth about Planned Parenthood is that they provide health care to those who do not have access to it elsewhere.  It’s not about eugenics.  It’s about providing access to those who need and deserve equal care.
  • Rumor: The U.S. takes great care of its mothers.
    Why would any mother need Planned Parenthood to help them out when our system supports them?
    Fact: Our system is actually one of the worst in the world when it comes to maternity care.  There is “little or no paid family leave after childbirth or adoption, employer reticence to offer breastfeeding support or flexible schedules, and workplace discrimination against new parents, especially mothers.”
    No way.  All the mothers I know have had great care.
    Fact: Just ask Diana, Samantha, Sarah, Theresa, Marissa, Hannah, Abigail, Helen, Paula, Juliana, Kimberly, and Anita.  We’re failing our families.
  • Rumor: Planned Parenthood is all about abortion.
    Planned Parenthood health centers are about prevention: 83% of their clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.  They help prevent more than 612,000 unintended pregnancies each year!  Only 3% of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.  What else does Planned Parenthood prevent?  Diseases like cancer, which can only be caught early through screenings like those provided by Planned Parenthood.  In fact, 17% of Planned Parenthood services are cancer screenings and prevention.  Here’s the complete breakdown of Planned Parenthood’s services:

  • Rumor: Abortion is already illegal in some places.
    Fact: Abortion is still legal in every state, including those currently considering bans.
  • Rumor: Title X funds abortions.
    Fact: PUBLIC LAW 91-572-DEC. 24, 1970 (Title X)
    “SEC. 1008. None of the funds appropriated under this title shall beused in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
    Approved December 24, 1970.
  • Rumor: Planned Parenthood doesn’t serve THAT many people, it’s not going to make a big difference in people’s health care.  It will just cut down on abortions.
    Fact: Planned Parenthood provides services to millions of people each year. 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.
    Prediction: Given how much prevention work Planned Parenthood does, cutting funding to Planned Parenthood could actually increase abortions due to an increase in unwanted pregnancies.
  • What about that SBA list of 12 reasons not to fund Planned Parenthood?
    Click here to see my responses to that list.
  • Don’t want to take my word for it?
    Read: No, It’s All About Birth Control (and a Little About Abortion):”I really should have warned Jay before she headed into the hornet’s nest that is debate over funding for Planned Parenthood. There’s a lot of heated rhetoric and misinformation and spin surrounding the issue, so it’s worth taking a look at some of the main questions.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Article 25.
    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Signed by the United States on October 5, 1977, but never ratified.

  • Article 12
    1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
    2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for:
    (a) The provision for the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child;
    (b) The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene;
    (c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases;
    (d) The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Signed by the United States on October 5, 1977, but never ratified.

  • Accordingly, provisions for maternity protection and child-care are proclaimed as essential rights and are incorporated into all areas of the Convention, whether dealing with employment, family law, health core or education.
  • Concerned that in situations of poverty women have the least access to food, health, education, training and opportunities for employment and other needs,
    Article 10
    (h) Access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health and well-being of families, including information and advice on family planning.
  • Article 11
    (f) The right to protection of health and to safety in working conditions, including the safeguarding of the function of reproduction.
  • Article 12
    1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.
    2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I of this article, States Parties shall ensure to women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confinement and the post-natal period, granting free services where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Article 14
    (b) To have access to adequate health care facilities, including information, counselling and services in family planning;

The Constitution of the United States of America

  • Amendment XIV
    Section 1.
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
  • Amendment XIX
    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Roe v. Wade

  • A pregnant single woman (Roe) brought a class action challenging the constitutionality of the Texas criminal abortion laws, which proscribe procuring or attempting an abortion except on medical advice for the purpose of saving the mother’s life. A licensed physician (Hallford), who had two state abortion prosecutions pending against him, was permitted to intervene. A childless married couple (the Does), the wife not being pregnant, separately attacked the laws, basing alleged injury on the future possibilities of contraceptive failure, pregnancy, unpreparedness for parenthood, and impairment of the wife’s health. A three-judge District Court, which consolidated the actions, held that Roe and Hallford, and members of their classes, had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies. Ruling that declaratory, though not injunctive, relief was warranted, the court declared the abortion statutes void as vague and overbroadly infringing those plaintiffs’ Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court ruled the Does’ complaint not justiciable. Appellants directly appealed to this Court on the injunctive rulings, and appellee cross-appealed from the District Court’s grant of declaratory relief to Roe and Hallford.
  • Facts of the Case: Roe, a Texas resident, sought to terminate her pregnancy by abortion. Texas law prohibited abortions except to save the pregnant woman’s life. After granting certiorari, the Court heard arguments twice. The first time, Roe’s attorney — Sarah Weddington — could not locate the constitutional hook of her argument for Justice Potter Stewart. Her opponent — Jay Floyd — misfired from the start. Weddington sharpened her constitutional argument in the second round. Her new opponent — Robert Flowers — came under strong questioning from Justices Potter Stewart and Thurgood Marshall.
  • Question: Does the Constitution embrace a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion?
  • Conclusion: The Court held that a woman’s right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman total autonomy over the pregnancy during the first trimester and defined different levels of state interest for the second and third trimesters. As a result, the laws of 46 states were affected by the Court’s ruling.

Planned Parenthood: Our Clients

  • Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education, and information to more than five million women, men, and adolescents worldwide each year.
  • Three million women and men in the United States annually visit Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers for trusted health care services and information.
  • Seventy-nine percent of Planned Parenthood health care clients in the U.S. are age 20 and older.
  • One in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.

Planned Parenthood: Our Work

  • Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 83 percent of our clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.
  • Planned Parenthood services help prevent more than 612,000 unintended pregnancies each year.
  • Planned Parenthood provides nearly one million Pap tests and more than 830,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer.
  • Planned Parenthood provides nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  • Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.
  • Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs to nearly 1.2 million young people and adults each year.
  • Planned Parenthood has more than four million activists, supporters, and donors working for women’s health and safety and our fundamental reproductive rights.
  • Join us in the fight for commonsense policies that foster the sexual and reproductive health and rights of individuals, families, and communities.

Related information:

This entry was posted in Children, Education, Family, Gender, Health, Immigration, LGBTQQAI, Reproductive Rights, United States, Women, Worker's Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

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