Congress needs to fund women’s health clinics


Kendra Harvey, Managing Editor

After Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg disturbed an entire neighborhood in the Mission by displacing locals to build his mansion, he has finally done something worth a “Like” — giving money to the largest provider in women’s health and family planning, Planned Parenthood.

Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan quietly funneled $992 million last year to the women’s health care clinics.

Although their motives are unknown, Chan’s career as a physician could have influenced the decision to fund the organization.

Planned Parenthood provides services in reproductive and sex health, education and outreach for birth control, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, help with relationships, gender and sexuality care and women’s health to over five million men, women and adolescents each year.

Economic and social status should not have any impact to who can receive these services.

Not all Americans have health insurance and Planned Parenthood fills in the healthcare gap for women and teenaged girls who might not otherwise be able to afford preventative, diagnostic or emergency reproductive medical services.

Women need routine Pap smears and breast examinations, and Planned Parenthood provides over 400,000 Pap tests and 500,000 breast tests annually without any cost.

One in 12 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 80 percent of which are unrelated to family history, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Breast screening for early detection and early treatment are the only treatment plans.

Women who cannot afford these health services should not be penalized by foregoing essential healthcare.

Congress has been back and forth about funding for Planned Parenthood, and after this uncertainty, the Senate voted last week to continue funding for Planned Parenthood and provide healthcare to women, despite the controversy around abortions.

Abortions only account for 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services, and no government allocated funds go to the abortion services, according to Planned Parenthood and the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s march report.

Planned Parenthood provides health services to people of all ages nationwide. This care is so crucial that more people, as Zuckerberg did, should use their platform to speak out for and support women’s health rights.