By Josh Lofy
Nine hundred and fifteen pink crosses sat between the jumbled tables left over from the career fair on Oct. 3. They were placed there by a group called Students for Life of America, an anti-women rights non-profit located in Washington D.C. The pink crosses represented the number of abortions done by Planned Parenthood divided by the number 365. A presenter from the non-profit, Casey Tesauro, said that their data and information were from Planned Parenthood’s 2011-2012 Annual Report, but this is not completely true.
First, the number of pink crosses made abortion seem like it’s a frighteningly huge procedure being done on a large scale by many woman every day. When is the last time you heard of something so controversial as abortion being done 915 times a day? Well, if this were to be represented as a percentage of women in the United States, the number of abortions done by Planned Parenthood in 2011 (333,964), according the Planned Parenthood annual report from 2011-2012, divided by the number of women in the US in 2010, (159,003,948), according to Wikipedia, you would get 0.2%; I had to use Wikipedia because the US Census website is still not operating thanks to the Republican government shut down. That’s right; one fifth of one percentage point of all women in the US would have had an abortion procedure with Planned Parenthood in 2011, and that’s if and only if every abortion is a different woman every single time. That number seems a lot more real once it is put into perspective.
Students for Life also claim that 92 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services were abortion. I really tried to make that number work using the Planned Parenthood website that Students for Life told me, but there just isn’t a way. Using the Planned Parenthood numbers for programs that go directly to pregnancy services (i.e. contraception, pregnancy tests, abortion, family practice services) you cannot find a way to get that abortion percentage to that magic 92 percent. The actual amount of work Planned Parenthood does with abortion, 3 percent. None of these abortions are federally funded. There is a law that ensures that, known as the Hyde Amendment, and it passed in 1976. Students for Life claim the opposite. They contend that federal funds do go to abortions, but they’re wrong about that too.
The other information that Students for Life was handing out talked about breast cancer screening. Particularly how since 2009, “Planned Parenthood contraceptive services have dropped by 12 percent, and their cancer screening and prevention services have dropped by 29 percent.” This is true. According to the New York Times editorial “A Painful Betrayal,” the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure as of January 2012 said that they would cut their funding to Planned Parenthood by almost $700,000 because this group decided to become pro-life. This meant Planned Parenthood lost one of their biggest backers that supported cancer screenings, the service most people use Planned Parenthood for. That means that they chose to prevent cancer screenings that were offered for free to those who could not afford them; all of this because they wanted to be pro-life, which should also be known as anti-woman. There were several attempts to make this money up by people such as the New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but this would only make up for one years funding, and did not fully recuperate those lost funds for that year.
After already looking through most of their information, I went to Students for Life of America’s Facebook page and found that within the past four hours before my looking that they had made a post titled, “Don’t be a pansy.” With it came a photo of a flower. As the intro to their post said, “It’s simple: Preborn babies don’t need pansies fighting for them. They need strong, willful individuals to be a voice for them.” That’s right, if you are soft or caring, you’re not a willful individual. No, you are just a pansy. Feminizing insults that make fun of you for acting “like a girl” from a group that lies to women about what abortion is and its availability is something a pro woman group does not do.
This is not how you support women. This is how you take away the rights of the mothers of today, and the daughters of tomorrow. By banning access to true and honest education, and replacing it instead with lies and insults; these institutions continue to keep women from truth to make their own decisions about their own bodies. About what pregnancies they want to have, when they want to have them, how they want to have them. That is not a government’s choice. That is not a non-profit’s choice. That is not Planned Parenthood’s choice. This is a woman’s choice!
We have Planned Parenthood in Kern County as well. According to Julia Gonzalez, who has volunteered for and worked with Planned Parenthood through Club Gender Equality Now (GEN) and is a senior religious studies major with a women, gender, and sexuality minor, 70 percent of all patients that go to Planned Parenthood Bakersfield are below the poverty line. Most women who use these facilities are coming to Planned Parenthood for well-visits. This is an annual cancer screening exam that includes a breast exam for free or reduced costs.
There are no abortions done at the Bakersfield facility, but this doesn’t stop our city council from trying to force its small government views into everyone’s vaginas.
So let’s look at our own city’s new attempt to applaud such intellectual dishonesty. The Bakersfield City Council, according to Gonzalez, will be having a vote Oct. 16, at 5pm at South City Hall on the corner of Eye and Truxtun. This vote will be to applaud Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) that give out similarly misleading information to women about their own health and wellness. This is after our city council had attempted to vote to ban all abortion in Bakersfield, but stopped only after finding out that they may be sued for banning abortion. Consider this a last minute call to action. Come out and show your support for women and civil liberties. Come to show a block to the constant legal assaults that Bakersfield women have to tput up with from our “small government” city council.