By Mayra Rosales-Montoya
In the last few months, Planned Parenthood has received heavy criticism. Republican candidates and the pro-life demonstrators have been on the attack, sometimes with false information.
In a recent GOP debate, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina accused the organization of creating a video which featured “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ ”
This video does not exist. What does exist is a group of videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion organization.
According to an article on politifact.com, the videos “primarily show people posing as tissue brokers and talking with Planned Parenthood employees about procuring fetal tissue for medical research.”
Pro-life supporters have also accused Planned Parenthood of being nothing more than a chain of abortion clinics. In reality, PP offers a variety of services for men and women, many of which have no relation to abortion.
Among these services are sexually transmitted disease testing, pregnancy testing, providing birth control, sexual education, counseling and general health care. That means you could be walking into a clinic for something as simple as a flu vaccine, but that won’t keep the pro-lifers outside the building from shouting at and harassing you.
The abortion debate has gone on for decades now in this country, and still the people are split apart. Understandably, the idea of having an abortion is frightening and gruesome. The thought is uncomfortable for anyone, but it is also a concept that cannot fully be grasped unless you have personally been in that situation.
It is much too easy to place judgment on those who have gone through with it or even considered it. That is the root of this socio-political issue we face: lack of empathy and understanding.
I am not going to try to convince anyone that abortion is right, because that’s actually not what I believe at all. I also don’t believe that any woman who has had an abortion would be quick to recommend one to other women. What I do believe is that there are instances, unique to each woman, in which giving birth may not be the right choice. That’s the key word here, choice.
Pro-choice supporters don’t think that every pregnancy should lead to abortion. We believe that it should be the woman’s decision to give birth. The truth is, opting to have an abortion is a difficult and life-changing decision to make, but the option shouldn’t be stripped away by people who have never been in that situation.
There is a negative stigma given to women who even consider abortions. Many believe that it’s the woman’s fault, so they should take responsibility for their immoral choices. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and every case is unique in its circumstances. Some women are victims of rape, or face severe health issues that will affect the mother and fetus. Some women are drug addicts afraid that addiction has already affected the fetus. There are women who took every precaution and still became pregnant.
Planned Parenthood doesn’t judge. Planned Parenthood simply offers the accurate information women are seeking, a legal and healthy way to go about the operation and moral support that is much needed after such an emotional roller coaster.
Providing women with unbiased facts is one of the most important services Planned Parenthood can offer. This is because when women look up abortion on the internet, Google will likely lead them to Christian businesses posing as women’s clinics. These businesses lack medical staff and any sense of compassion for the women seeking information.
Before you really speak with anyone, you are put in a room by yourself and made to watch a disturbing video filled with false information about the risks and effects of abortion. Then, whoever speaks to you will lie to you about how far along your pregnancy is.
They do this knowing that the further along a woman is, the less likely to have an abortion she is. The entire experience is designed and scripted with lies to convince you to not have an abortion.
This was my personal encounter, and one that I share with women all over the country. When all I wanted was guidance in a life-changing decision, I was instead left traumatized and more anxious than before.
This was until I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood. After they educated me on my options, without any pressure at all, I decided keeping my pregnancy was the best choice for me.
To a distressed woman wanting simple answers to complicated questions, Planned Parenthood feels like a safe haven. They do not try to convince you of anything. They leave the decision completely up to you.