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On November 27, a shooting took place at the Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Robert Lewis Dear is currently being held on suspicion of first-degree murder for having killed three people and injuring nine. Family, friends, and numerous ex-wives report Dear to be a man of religious conviction, an extremist in his violent beliefs, and an abuser of women– all of which he felt would be absolved through Christian faith. Dear has reportedly expressed that those who attack abortion are doing “God’s work,” identifying the members of the Army of God– an anti-abortion extremist organization– as “heroes”.
This act of terrorism is certainly not the only of its kind. From its initiation, Planned Parenthood has faced great backlash and aggressive oppositional behavior to their mission. Despite extremist responses to their best efforts, the organization also celebrates enormous triumphs for having helped five million women, men, and young people a year, as well as legal celebrations including the U.S. Supreme Court rule of Roe v. Wade in 1973, legalizing a woman’s right to choose to abort a pregnancy in consultation with a doctor.
Following the recent Colorado Springs attack, President Obama delivered an inspiring message, reaffirming his support for Planned Parenthood and mourning the lives sacrificed and lost as result of the tragedy. But as issues regarding gun violence and women’s health continue to popularize debates, the future of Planned Parenthood, other feminist organizations and legislature which follow their sentiments are facing an uncertain future. While the Democratic presidential candidates have expressed words of sorrow and solidarity, few Republicans have offered a response.
News from Dec. 3 brings further harmful and disappointing feelings, as the U.S. Senate voted to go forward with efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. Funds allocated to the organization have been under reconsideration after videos implying sale of fetal tissue were leaked, then later falsified.
The majority of backlash is rooted in deep religious and conservative politics controlled by white men who are anti-abortionists. One must recall the importance of abortion’s legality, as the lives of many were compromised due to complications from lack of research and availability prior to the laws which currently protect it. Continuous government efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are representative of our nation’s value for women’s rights. Furthermore, abortion is not the only procedure available at Planned Parenthood. The organization also provides contraception for men and women, funds research on birth control, and offers education to both the public and specialists about contraceptives.
President Obama is likely to veto legislation for stripping Planned Parenthood of government support. The coming change in leadership, however, leaves the future of the organization and the legality of abortion in danger.
A woman’s future cannot be compromised by a pregnancy that is unwanted or caused by rape. Complications in pregnancy and drug use that bring harm to herself and the fetus during pregnancy are also not valid reasons for compromising that future. Conservative men cannot accurately decide a woman’s right to choose. Planned Parenthood is steadfast in their refusal to let them hinder it. Conservatives fail to understand the terrifying situation a woman is faced with given the reality of an unwanted pregnancy.
Many Planned Parenthood clients lack the educational and financial means to avoid unwanted pregnancy and to ultimately provide for a child. In general, they may lack necessary support. Pro-choice is often confused with pro-abortion. Oppositional opinions and law-makers must consider themselves, their children and their grand-children. They must consider the extremely personal and life-altering decision that abortion entails. Abortion is not a safety net, but the assurance that if desired, a woman can claim agency over her own body.
Planned Parenthood’s Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens promises to keep the doors open and not to be “…deterred by violence, smear campaigns, or cynical political attacks…” Planned Parenthood is committed to continue providing “health care free from violence, threats, or intimidation.” Stand with Planned Parenthood. Stick with Planned Parenthood. Support a woman’s right to choose.