Cuts to Planned Parenthood an Assault on Women's Health?

The storied and controversial nonprofit is facing life-threatening budget cuts

Planned Parenthood, the nonprofit organization that has provided affordable contraception, medical services and abortions to women for over 90 years, seems to grab headlines just for existing. But that existence could soon come to an end if some federal lawmakers have anything to say about it.

Claiming the organization has “a pattern of apparent fraud and abuse,” Republican Mike Pence of Indiana last week pushed a bill through the House of Representatives that would put an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood in 2011 -- a move Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards says is “the most dangerous legislative assault on women’s health in Planned Parenthood’s 95-year history.”

This is, of course, sparking debate across the country. From a group of college students who recently protested outside Pence's office (pictured) to the iVillage message boards, most agree that these cuts cannot happen. “Instead of these organizations trying to bring down Planned Parenthood, and other service providers, why don't they focus on the very real, economic and social issues that bring women to the doors of these clinics, seeking abortion services in the first place?” writes iVillage member hottllipps. “But, no, instead, they put their energy into trying to bring down an organization that provides medical care, preventative birth control, education, programs to prevent teen mothers from having additional children.”

Some are already willing to go to bat for the organization should the proposed cuts move forward. “Yes, it is time to fight back against these Republicans who would take away funding for such a needed organization, one that provides much-needed medical help to women who can't afford it otherwise,” says member iluvkrats. “We've had some people on these boards worried about Sharia law. Not me. I'm much more concerned about the evangelical Christianity that is trying to take over our government, our laws and our lives.”

Member r3dx1 proposed an idea to save the organization that sparked even more debate. “All Planned Parenthood has to do is split off it's abortion services to save everyone a lot of grief and help women,” she writes. “If abortion is really just a tiny small part of their business, it can stand alone and get private funding. Without a doubt there would be no shortage of wealthy liberals who would be happy to fund the very small cost of just providing abortions. This could be a win for everyone.”

“Why should that particular medical option have to 'stand alone'?” asks nwtreehugger. “That would actually make it more expensive to fund -- they'd have to have separate staff, separate facilities, separate budgets. Financially, it makes no sense.”

What do you think about the proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood? Chime in below or join the discussion on the iVillage message boards.

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