I went to Planned Parenthood for reproductive care from the time I was 17 until I obtained health insurance when I was 28.
During that time, I obtained birth control, STD tests, yearly pap smears and breast exams, all the standard "woman stuff" that most of the folks who are so anti-PP don't have to worry about because they don't have pesky things like vaginas, breasts, uterusses, and ovaries.
Every time I went there, they asked me if I felt safe in my current relationships (in other words, was I being abused). They counseled me about safer sex, AIDS, and other STDs. They asked me if I was addicted to drugs or alcohol. They had dozens of pamphlets on the walls about a range of women's health and women's safety issues. Everything from where to go for WIC to how to deal with menopause.
They never gave me an abortion. They never needed to, because they gave me safer sex education and birth control pills instead.
And the care they gave me throughout more than a decade as their patient in four different cities was consistently affordable, compassionate, professional, safe, and reliable.
When I was 23 or 24 I found a lump. I was terrified. I called Planned Parenthood in a tizzy and they got me in immediately. Thankfully it was normal. They educated me about the difference between normal and abnormal lumps.
At Planned Parenthood, 97% of the services provided have nothing to do with abortion and everything to do with education, STD care and prevention, cancer care and prevention, contraception. And 0% of the abortions are paid for with federal funds. ZERO. It's already law.
I don't know why the republicans have women and children in their crosshairs. I don't understand how they can justify spending squajillions of dollars to kill people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, but not a $300 million on Planned Parenthood.
It doesn't make any sense, because the Planned Parenthood issue is a red herring. They are fighting over something that they know people have passionate feelings about to DISTRACT us from the real issues and to get people too stirred up to pay attention to what's really going on.
It's government theater, and it's shameful.
If the government shuts down, they'll have failed us all, and Congress should NOT receive pay or benefits (health insurance, etc.) as long as they continue with the shutdown.
The whether-or-not-to-pay-the-military thing was probably a red herring, too. They probably intended to pay them all along, but they were able to waste time writing a bill, getting it through, debating it, and then passing it at the last minute to look like heroes even as they're failing us.
When are people going to start paying attention?