It makes me a touch sad that much of the conversation about the possible de-funding of Planned Parenthood is centering around abortion and choice. I'm not saying that it's not a conversation that we need to have, but in general, federal funds don't go to abortions. When we make the conversation about Planned Parenthood one about abortion, we're side-stepping the issue of everything else that Planned Parenthood does. And this is a side-stepping that both sides of this issue are doing.
I did not have health insurance, nor access to student health services, in the second half of 1999, the first half of 2000, the last half of 2001, after I got laid off from the crazy clinic (sometime in 2002, I don't feel like looking right now) until I was back at State full time at the beginning of 2005, and from when I graduated in August of 2008 with my masters until this past August of 2010. That's a lot of years without access to health services.
In the meantime, the folks that I saw each year to make sure I wasn't dying of cervical cancer or breast cancer, to get my (medically necessary) birth control pills subscribed1, to get my thyroid meds prescribed, were Planned Parenthood. It still wasn't cheap, but I could budget for it and afford it.
Planned Parenthood does a lot more than abortions. They serve low income and/or uninsured men, women, and children with general health services, people who might not otherwise see a doctor at all for years.
I have health insurance now2, and I was appalled at what my insurance company was billed for my annual and my TSH for my thyroid (never mind all the other stuff that got run that I wouldn't have gotten run if I were self-paying.)
So, yea. Appalled and sad and tired, and I should probably clean this up and email my senators.
1. Not that I'm saying that only medical necessity matters, but sometimes, they are medically necessary. Also, birth control pills are a hell of a lot cheaper to fund than children.
2. As long as the state budget holds.