On Friday, May 18, the Trump administration officially moved forward with proposing plans to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood, specifically in regards to using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
The move is not new legislation, but rather it is a reinstatement of 1988 Reagan administration regulation that required recipients of Title X federal funding to clearly separate their use of taxpayer dollars for services providing contraceptives and family planning from those used for abortion.
The regulations were abolished under the Clinton administration, but are being brought back with a key change. As told by a Trump administration official to The Weekly Standard, “Unlike the Reagan regulation, the proposal will not prohibit counseling for clients about abortion,” thereby continuing to ensure women have access to full information about their options unlike under the former regulations.
President Trump was even quoted by CNN during the election as saying that he is sure that Planned Parenthood “do[es] some things properly and good and good for women. And I would look at that” before making a decision on defunding the organization.
The problem with this proposal does not lie in the motion itself, but rather in the reactions of those who claim to be supporters.
The attitude the administration has taken towards the issue has been look at it, then decide the proper course of action. However, many in the Republican party are touting the mantra of defunding Planned Parenthood first, then reviewing the consequences later.
It is unfortunate that any proposal dealing with abortion must be through executive action, not legislation, as the issue is too stigmatized to go through either of the Houses of Congress.
I am proudly pro-life, a conviction that motivates me to represent populations that are voiceless, a belief that translates to multiple other issues as well, such as discrimination or human trafficking. Using my privilege of having the ability to be heard is not something I can use for my own gain, but rather I feel called to use the benefit to defend and be an ally for those who are less-advantaged.
But even in the midst of my own strong feelings towards the situation, I find it appalling that anyone would think to attack the president because of his desire to be moderate regarding funding Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is often the only means to necessary contraceptives and other forms of healthcare for many low income women across the United States. Simply doing away with the organization will accomplish reducing abortions, but it will also create new problems in its wake without a proper alternative.
Both pro-life and pro-choice supporters can agree on the goal of reducing unplanned pregnancies, and simply cutting Planned Parenthood without replacing the positive services correlates to a decrease in women using birth control and an increase in pregnancies, as was the case after the state of Texas cut funding toward Planned Parenthood.
I am supportive of ensuring that no federal funds are used towards performing abortions; there is a moral implication of our government sponsoring an end to the cycle of life that needs to be discussed more often. However, I equally support acknowledging that Planned Parenthood supplies services outside abortions that ultimately contribute to solving the issue of protecting unborn children through providing resources to ensure family planning.
The fact that anyone would discourage our president to act thoughtfully and rationally is disappointing. I think any dedicated advocate, either pro-life or pro-choice, can agree that this issue is much too important than to simply throw around as political capital. Our consensus as a nation concerning this issue has massive implication for the sanctity of human life and equality for our society.
Thus, I imagine few issues more worth our time, careful consideration, and most importantly our rationality when dealing with how to parcel out regulations that give respect to everyone. The fact that this issue cannot even be discussed across party lines between Democrats and Republicans is disconcerting, as it guarantees that nothing will ever be done.
What is happening in our country that our response to issues of life and justice have become politically stigmatized? When did we become more focused on our parties rather than the people?
I know that this article risks my being labeled as a Trump supporter, anti-woman, among many other names. But I am willing to take that risk for the cause of promoting moderation and mediation.
It is ridiculous that our government cannot find a way to take on legislation concerning an issue that has crucial impacts on human life, and instead only finds these causes as an opportunity to make a political statement, instead of focusing on the true seriousness behind the issue.
I hope in my lifetime to one day see this issue hit the Senate floor, proposals read for the unique merits they bring, and for compromises to be made so that we as a nation can begin to accomplish mutual goals.