For these first few months of your presidency, you are making crucial decisions as to which current problems take precedence over others. As you do this, I encourage you to address the needs of American women. As the feminist movement becomes more and more prominent, and as more and more people protest and discourage women’s rights, I have been slowly starting to realize that I am scared for my future. I am scared to be a young woman growing up in this country.
I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by feminist peers and family members for a majority of my life; I go to an all-girls school, I outwardly advocate for women’s rights in-person and on social media, and I was raised to believe that all people—men and women alike—should be treated equally. This lifestyle means that I am constantly aware of the conflicts women face on a day to day basis. The decision to defund Planned Parenthood for one year, and possibly forever, is one of the biggest blows to the women’s rights movement.
A huge misconception that many politicians seem to believe is that Planned Parenthood is first and foremost an abortion clinic. In fact, a majority of the services they provide consist of preventative and primary care: educating women and men about preventing sexually transmitted infections, screening for both STIs as well as cervical and other cancers, and treatment of STIs and cancers. According to Planned Parenthood’s 2015-16 Annual Report, abortions only made up 3% of all services they provided that year. So, not only are politicians trying to pull government funds from an organization that aims to provide sexual health care for both women and men, but they are trying to slowly take away a resource for people to educate themselves on their own sexual and reproductive health. In the same Annual Report, Planned Parenthood performed 635,342 total Pap tests and breast exams. 71,717 of those tests caught cancer in its early stages and abnormalities. If we take away an affordable and accessible resource like this, we will be taking away an institution that women can trust to receive personalized care.
It can no longer be taboo to talk about a woman’s sexual and reproductive health. If a woman is raped and impregnated, it is not her fault that she is now carrying a child. She deserves the right to choose to keep the undeveloped baby or not. Sexual and reproductive health care need to be taken seriously because sexually transmitted infections cause as much damage as nonsexually transmitted infections, the choice to abort a fetus because it is unwanted or doing harm should not be a discussion but a right, and that choice should be considered part of a woman’s human rights.
In conclusion, I urge you Mr. or Madam President to take a look at your daughter, or your female friends and their daughters, or to the 157 million women in the United States of America and know that they deserve the right to choose. Look at them and know that if you take away Planned Parenthood, you take away more than abortions: you take away a healthcare service that provides education on as well as many different tests and treatments for sexual and reproductive health issues. Making women’s rights a priority will ensure a better future for all 157 million women and generations after them. I wish to see a better future for my daughter someday, is that so much to ask?
I wish you a productive and meaningful first year as President of this beautiful country.