Analysis

No, women won’t be catapulted into poverty if Planned Parenthood is shut down

Abortion activists like to claim that Planned Parenthood is vital to American women. If Planned Parenthood is defunded, or worse, shut down, then women would have nowhere to go for health care! Of course, this is laughably, demonstrably false.

The latest to make the spurious claim that women utterly rely on Planned Parenthood and would be forced into poverty if it disappeared is Bryce Covert at The Nation.

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Not only will shutting down Planned Parenthood force American women to become entrenched in poverty, anyone who wants to shut down Planned Parenthood is a “terrorist” — literally. Covert says that congressional Republicans who voted to defund Planned Parenthood are totally the same as Robert Lewis Dear, the mentally disturbed man who went on a shooting spree at Planned Parenthood last year:

What terrorists like Dear and Republicans in Congress want is basically the same: to shut down Planned Parenthood and deny women access to abortions. If they got their wish, it would serve only to make poor women poorer and increase the number of unintended pregnancies.

… Shutting down Planned Parenthood wouldn’t just affect access to abortion, of course. The group provides many other services to low-income women. Poor women are more likely to have sex without birth control—and access to affordable contraception would shrink further without the existence of Planned Parenthood. Among 491 counties with Planned Parenthood clinics, 103 have no other place where low-income patients can obtain affordable contraception.

It may be nice living in an alternate reality where Planned Parenthood is a shrine of women’s health care, but here in the real world, things are a little different.

First, American women hardly rely on Planned Parenthood. We’re told that 1 in 5 women depend on Planned Parenthood for health care — that’s a lie. And even the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm, has statistics that prove this is a lie. Planned Parenthood only serves a small percentage of American women.

Second, women have plenty of options besides Planned Parenthood — even women living in poverty. Planned Parenthood is far outnumbered by comprehensive health care clinics. And there is no shortage of options for poor women, either. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are growing, as are community health care clinics. These clinics provide health care to women regardless of their ability to pay.

It may soothe pro-abortion consciences to pretend that Planned Parenthood is absolutely vital to women and therefore must be funded and supported, even though it’s an untrustworthy organization that is bad for women. But the fact remains that women don’t need Planned Parenthood — and would be better off if it disappeared.

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