Planned Parenthood: More than just an abortion clinic
I can't tell you whether to vote red or blue on the ticket in November.
I can't tell you which presidential candidate is going to bring about the most economic, social and environmental change for our country.
I can't tell you what to believe from a moral, ethical or even religious standpoint.
But as a young, unmarried woman in a world that historically has found ways to shame and condemn those fitting my description, I feel I have been silent on one issue for far too long.
With the election only a few short weeks away, my news feed is filling up once again with one increasingly hot topic — the "defunding" of Planned Parenthood.
Just this month, in a campaign letter written and signed by President Donald Trump — shared online by the USA Today Network — he reiterated plans he has touted throughout his presidency and campaign to stop taxpayer funding of "the big abortion industry," including Planned Parenthood, through the Title X Protect Life Rule.
The first problem to unpack in Trump's goal to defund Planned Parenthood is what that actually means for this nationwide nonprofit organization.
According to Planned Parenthood, defunding refers to stopping the organization from being able to be reimbursed for providing services to people who rely on Medicaid insurance or who are eligible for free or reduced services through the Title X program.
This program is currently the only federal program that is specifically dedicated to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and preventive health services.
By cutting Planned Parenthood out of this program, hundreds of thousands of low income people will lose the ability to get access to the many services the nonprofit offers.
So why would we do this? Well, it was right there in the campaign letter — to stop women from receiving abortions.
Again, I may not be able to change anyone's mind on the pro-choice versus pro-life debate.
And now may not be the best time to get into why we are all so obsessed with having control over women's bodies in the first place — although I have a few educated guesses.
But, what can't be denied is that Planned Parenthood is so much more than a member of the "big abortion industry."
In Michigan, services Planned Parenthood offers include wellness exams, affordable birth control methods and education, pregnancy testing, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HPV vaccinations for women and men and HIV/AIDS treatment referrals and education.
And I could go on.
On that long list of services, yes, abortion for medical and surgical purposes is included, but how can we argue for taking away all of those other necessary and potentially life-saving procedures from such a large percentage of our country's population?
You may not agree with some of what Planned Parenthood does, and I can't personally vouch for the organization's overall treatment of their employees or clients, but all people — women, men and teens — who go to Planned Parenthood deserve to continue to have an affordable option to ensure their health and safety.
Taylor Fussman is a reporter for the Lake County Star. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.