Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood

My final project for the class that I created my blog for is focused on, in a nutshell, the way that reproductive rights are being threatened under the Trump administration.

In my first post of the series of four that I wrote, I write about Trump’s plans to defund Planned Parenthood and to limit women’s access to healthcare. I leave readers with the question as to why more people don’t seem to care about problems that are deemed “women’s problems.”

My second post focuses on some of the movements that came out of the threat to defund the organization, including several hashtags that were used on Twitter, some of which I even participated in.


Photo by: Beth Kanter, “Planned Parenthood Fan Page Profile Photo”, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr

While my second post focuses mostly on media movements, my third one focuses on the outpouring of support in the form of monetary donations that Planned Parenthood received in the wake of the election, because tweeting can only do so much.

My fourth and final post serves to remind American women that we aren’t being the only ones affected by this administration’s actions. I write about the reinstatement of the global gag rule, a policy that prevents any nongovernmental organizations that are funded by the US, many of which are in developing countries, to even mention the word “abortion.”

Our rights and our healthcare are at risk now more than ever, all thanks to the Trump administration, and we need to fight back harder than we ever have before.


It’s Not Just US

Even though Trump is only president of one country, his plans and actions are already affecting individuals, specifically women, all around the world.

One of his first actions in office (it was literally done just THREE DAYS after his inauguration) was signing an executive order that reinstated the Mexico City Policy, more commonly referred to as the global gag rule.

Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s president, responded to the rule’s reinstatement in a video in which I think she explains it and its repercussions pretty well and in simple terms. The organization, which is obviously against the global gag rule, also has a handy-dandy page on its website that I referenced when I first found out about the rule because honestly, I had no idea it even existed before Trump reinstated it.

As explained in this awesome article from The New Yorker that I really think you should read, the global gag rule prevents the US from contributing “to nongovernmental organizations that ‘perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.'” So basically, if an organization is receiving funding from the US, they’re not even allowed to mention abortion or provide their clients with information about the procedure.

The policy was first introduced in 1984 under Reagan’s presidency and has since been put into place by every Republican and taken away by every Democrat. So, for eight years, we didn’t have to worry about the literal millions of women in developing countries that are put in danger.


Photo by: Kevin Gill, “Earth”, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr

Pregnancy is already risky for women in developing countries without access to proper care and the global gag rule just exacerbates the danger.

The policies of the rule this time around is, however, much more dangerous than it has been in the past. The rule now limits funding to programs fighting against HIV/AIDS and those that fight “many other infectious diseases, and [promote] maternal and child nutrition.” How could anyone think that this is a good idea???

We sometimes are blinded by our own problems and fail to realize that the repercussions of the actions taken by the leaders of our country extend beyond our borders.

Trump isn’t just hurting us – he’s hurting the entire world.

We’re Persisting – The Money

Beyond tweeting and showing support on social media for Planned Parenthood, which is what I wrote about in my last post, supporters of the organization banded together, organized, and showed their solidarity in so many different ways, one of which being by donating.

According to The Atlantic, after the election (before he was even inaugurated!!!), “organizations whose agendas counter those proposed by President-elect Donald Trump,” like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, received an outpouring of donations and volunteer applications.

The ACLU received “roughly 120,000 donations totaling more than $7.2 million” in only five days!! That’s crazy!!

AND, in the first three days after the election, Planned Parenthood received almost 80,000 donations!!! That’s also crazy!! Cecile Richards, the organization’s president, called it “unprecedented.”

Individuals weren’t the only ones donating to these organizations, though. Several different companies got in on the action, a few of them being record labels. Run For Cover Records and Tiny Engines both opened up their catalogs on Bandcamp, an online platform for sharing and selling music, as pay-what-you-want with all of their proceeds going to Planned Parenthood and, in Tiny Engine’s case, the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well. Additionally, Run For Cover Records promised to match the donations up to $5,000.

It’s so obvious that people care about organizations like Planned Parenthood – so many people want to help. If anything good has come out of the election, it’s the fact that people are showing how much they care, banding together, and taking action now more than ever before.

We’re Persisting – Social Media

One of the very, very few positive things that’s come out of the election of an atrocious excuse for a human being as president is the amount of organizing, teamwork, and support that has happened since then. A sense of community has developed among the like-minded people who refuse to normalize his actions or those of the people who make up his administration.

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, which goes over some information about Trump’s plans to undermine women’s health, women, including myself, are scared. But in case you haven’t noticed, we’ve banded together, specifically to try and keep that from happening.

After it was announced that Trump so badly wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, and even more so after he became elected, people around the world (not just in the United States!!!) started showing their support for the organization on social media outlets, specifically on Twitter, by using the hashtag #IStandWithPP. I’ve seen it trending worldwide on multiple occasions.


Photo by: Women’s eNews, “I Stand With Planned Parenthood”, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr

It’s even been popping up on my newsfeed today after the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Trump’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, that proposes to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

Celebrities, politicians, and other organizations, like the ACLU, even used the hashtag to show their solidarity and support for Planned Parenthood, which undoubtedly helped it spread across so many different social media platforms.

The organization even made a website from the hashtag, I Stand With Planned Parenthood, that acts as a resource for people to get updates, a platform to share stories, and encourages them to take action and to donate.


Photo by: lookcatalog, “Birth control pills”, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr

Another social media campaign that’s use is chronicled in Planned Parenthood’s 2014-2014 Annual Report is the hashtag #BirthControlHelpedMe. This one didn’t go as viral as #IStandWithPP, but it helped women share their stories as a means of expressing how important access to affordable birth control for multiple reasons.

There are sooooo many different reasons for women to go on any given type of birth control. For example, beyond preventing pregnancy, the birth control pill can help regulate periods, help control acne or menstrual cramps, help lessen the effects of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (a really extreme form of PMS), and can help women suffering from endometriosis, too. Honestly, the list goes on and on.

For myself, #BirthControlHelpedMe manage the symptoms of my polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that causes a hormonal imbalance that the birth control pill helps regulate.

In addition to the hashtags that everyone was able to participate in, the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, took to social media, too. She went Facebook Live back in January when the plans were announced to defund the organization!! She addressed several concerns of women who were, and probably still are, worried about their healthcare coverage and reproductive rights.


Photo by: Sarah Mirk, “Mirena IUD”, (CC BY-NC 2.0), via flickr

In the video, Richards says that Planned Parenthood saw “a 900% increase in women trying to get an IUD appointment” after the election. An IUD, an intrauterine device, is a long-lasting, hormonal form of birth control that would last longer than Trump’s presidency. This fact alone is enough to make it clear that women see the risks and are scared about the availability of other methods of birth control under the current administration. Today’s House decision about the AHCA is more than enough to validate our fears.

Make America Care About Women Again

When Donald Trump was campaigning for president, one of the issues that was consistently at the forefront of my mind was that of women’s health – my health – and I was scared. And I wasn’t alone.

During his campaign, his obvious sexism came out over and over again, each remark and incident seeming even more sexist and misogynistic than the last. From threatening to sue and calling the several women that came forward about having been sexually harassed liars to basically giving men the go-ahead to assault women, it became pretty evident to me, and to people all around the world, that this man has an inherent hatred for women.


Photo by: George Skidmore, “Donald Trump”, (CC BY-SA 2.0), via flickr

Throughout his campaign, Trump vowed to make it harder for women to access birth control via the defunding of Planned Parenthood, which would also cut women off from receiving other basic forms of health care, including essential procedures like mammograms and Pap smears,  basically stripping women of their basic healthcare and bodily autonomy.

At the Republican Presidential Debate of February 26, 2016, Trump said this about Planned Parenthood:

As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I’m pro-life. I’m totally against abortion, having to do with Planned Parenthood. But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood.

So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly. And I wouldn’t fund it.

I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3 percent. I don’t know what percentage it is. They say it’s 3 percent. But I would defund it, because I’m pro-life. But millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.

Okay, so there are several things about this statement that I could bring up to criticize it. Like the fact that he says he doesn’t believe the fact that only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions, despite literally admitting that he doesn’t “know what percentage it is.” Or the fact that it’s full of logical fallacies and that he really can’t form a completely coherent sentence.

But instead, I’m going to focus on its contradictory nature.

Trump blatantly states that “millions and millions of women” receive healthcare from Planned Parenthood and are “helped greatly,” but then states that he doesn’t really care because they also provide abortions, too.


Photo by: Fibonacci Blue, “Planned Parenthood in St. Paul”, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr

The man is so concerned with his own desires that he’s willing to overlook the needs of **literally** millions and millions of women that receive basic and life-saving health services from Planned Parenthood.

Despite what Trump might or might not know, Planned Parenthood’s 2014-2015 annual report (the most recent one that I could find) reports that, indeed, only 3% of services they provided were abortion services. The majority of their services, 45%, were STI/STD testing and treatment which, by the way, includes testing for women AND men.

The second most common service that Planned Parenthood provides, coming in at 31%, is different forms of contraception, which actually includes vasectomies. I mean, I’m no expert, but the fact that Planned Parenthood provides so many women with contraception is probably part of the reason why their abortion rate is so low. But that’s just me.

So, yeah, millions and millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood, but many men are, too. Defunding Planned Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue – we need to stop pretending like it is.

But even if it were solely a women’s issue, why should that make it any less legitimate?