Students argue for Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood logo.

PHOTO CREDIT: Planned Parenthood Facebook Page

Planned Parenthood logo.

By Sarah Jane Atkinson, Reporter

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A group of Masters of Social Work students head to the state capitol to advocate against the proposed bill, Bill H.R. 369: Defund Planned Parenthood Act 2019.

As part of a class project, graduate students, Catherine Morga, Hobert Gabuat, Esme Mendoza and Stephanie Rodriguez were given many different subjects to advocate for, and they ended up choosing Bill H.R. 369 for their senior project.

Through this project they created a project proposal, a Title X brochure and an online petition.

The proposed bill would defund Planned Parenthood, mainly on a basis of getting rid of access to abortion.

Bill H.R. 369 was proposed on Jan 9, 2019 by Missouri Republican Representative Vicky Hartzler. The bill is still currently in the introduction process, the next step would be passing it in the House of Representatives. The bill’s main aim is to stop the federal funding for Planned Parenthood and instead give the funding to other clinics.

The only way that the bill will let the funding continue is if Planned Parenthood eliminates abortions from their clinic services. The bill proposes that abortions can only be done under certain circumstances including, pregnancies as a result of rape or incest and in cases where a women suffers from a physical disorder or illness that would put her or the baby in danger.

Defunding Planned Parenthood means defunding the Title X Family Planning Federal Program.

In their project proposal, the MSW students stated that, “Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program that is designed to help low-income families with services such as preventive health services, patient education, counseling, cervical and breast cancer screening, They also help individuals with pregnancy prevention education, testing and referrals for sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).”

As part of their project the group of students will be making their way to Sacramento on April 10 to take part in Lobby Days, an annual event where “lay members meet politicians or public servants at various levels to advocate and explain support for legislation relevant to the NGO.” As for the graduates, they will be advocating against the bill that is trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

This group of students are not the only ones advocating for bills, they are a part of an entire class, SW 6160 Advanced Policy in Social Work. Professor of the course, Thomas Madhavappalil said, “The course has an advocacy project, it’s one of the important projects in this course.”

The Planned Parenthood Bill is one out of many that the students could choose from, these included; The Dreamers Act, minimum wage, ending police violence, paid parental leave and many more.

“We need social work students to learn skills about advocating for their clients, advocating for policies,” said Madhavappalil.

On her part in the project, Catherine Morga said that, “As social workers, one of our core values is to advocate for those in need, for the vulnerable population.”

Her reason behind advocating for Planned Parenthood is that if it were to be defunded it would take away a medical necessity for many, not just women.

“A lot of people think that Planned Parenthood is only there to help women with reproductive health but they also serve low income, urban and rural areas,” said Morga. “They not only have reproductive health but primary health. Defunding this act would affect millions nationwide.”

As part of the group, Hobert Gabuat said, “We wanted to do something we were all passionate about.” On choosing the topic with his classmates, Gabuat said that,  “We all decided, this is great, because it’s about choice.”

Gabuat’s felt strongly about this bill and was prepared to advocate against it. He said, “What people don’t understand is that there are different circumstances.”

Gabuat and Morga both mentioned the Kern County Planned Parenthood location has been open for 30 years.

“When we went there [Planned Parenthood] in February, that month was the first time they had an abortion,” said Gabuat.

The main issue that these students want service is that Planned Parenthood is more than just a clinic for abortions and that defunding it would be defunding the medical assistance that many rely on.