September 29, 2015

Students Voice Concern Over Threats Of Defunding Planned Parenthood

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Correction appended

As Congress faces its budgetary deadline Wednesday to prevent a government shutdown, funding for Planned Parenthood has emerged as one of the most contentious issues.

Following a controversial series of videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissues, many conservatives in Congress threatened to block any funding bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood, according to The New York Times.


Planned Parenthood supporters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana defend the nonprofit in August. (Edmund D. Fountain / The New York Times)

Late Monday evening, Senate Republicans and Democrats voted to advance a spending bill that would fund the government through December without cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood, The Times reported. If Congress fails to pass this temporary spending bill, the federal government will shutdown.

Until recently, whether the government would remain fully open remained unclear as conservatives threatened to shutdown the government over Planned Parenthood funding. Before Monday, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would defund the nonprofit for a year.

In light of the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood funding, many Cornellians have spoken out, expressing the need to properly fund the organization.

Zoe Maisel ’18, chair of public relations for Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood at Cornell, said she hopes that national criticism of the defunding dispute will motivate people to appreciate the importance and scope of the organization’s services.

“Last year alone, Planned Parenthood provided sexual and reproductive health care, education and outreach to 5,180,000 women, men and people worldwide,” Maisel said. “Many Cornell students have used Planned Parenthood services because they are offered in a nonjudgemental, private way.”

Radhika Gupta ’18, women’s issues liason at large for the S.A., added that the organization is an important resource for women.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood is a loss of credible and helpful information and, more importantly, a loss of a support line when [people] have no one else to turn to,” Gupta said.

Maisel argued that defunding Planned Parenthood would not simply “move money” to other health care programs, she said.

“Many patients who use Planned Parenthood health services do so because it is the only accessible clinic around, and because it is affordable,” Maisel said.

Matthew Indimine ’18, chair of the S.A. Health and Wellness committee and U.A. undergraduate representative, criticized the unnecessary politicalization of an organization that “plays a vital role in our society.”

He pointed out that Planned Parenthood connects many associations involved in reproductive health.

“Given that Planned Parenthood fosters collaboration from various communities and groups, defunding could destroy a necessary channel for change,” he said.

Maisel added that estimates show cutting off funding from Planned Parenthood will not reduce fiscal costs for the government.

“Government spending would [increase] in the long run as a result of more demands on Medicaid and other health support systems,” Maisel said.

As the Senate attempts to reach a compromise about Planned Parenthood, Vox and other Cornellians will participate in Pink Out Day Tuesday — a  nationwide demonstration of support — according to Vox Vice President Lauren Cooley ’16.

Pink Out Day’s efforts to reach the Cornell community will include chalking, poster distribution, a social media campaign and decorations, according to Cooley. Vox’s goal is “to clear up any misconceptions Cornell students may have,” she said.

“We really want to show our fellow Cornellians that there are students who passionately support Planned Parenthood and the many essential services it provides to 2.7 million people per year,” Cooley said.

“Many Cornellians undoubtedly rely on the services of Planned Parenthood, and we want them to know that we will fight for them,” Cooley added.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Zoe Maisel ’18 is the president of Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood at Cornell. In fact, Maisel is the chair of public relations for the organization.