Trump vows to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood if reelected – here’s what that really means

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The President of the United States has made several claims and serious decisions that will impact this country for years beyond his time in the White House. Some of these decisions (mainly tweets) are known for causing immediate social backlash, but he likely won’t live to see the day the legislature he approves and implements truly impacts the American people. 

Donald Trump proposed budget cuts earlier this year that made headlines — a near $587 million budget cut for the National Park Services and a $2.4 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency. So it wasn’t a shock when Trump, a man — someone who cannot physically give birth to a child — decided that it would be in America’s best interest to “defund” abortion providers across the nation, should he be reelected in November. 

“President Trump is the most pro-life president in American history, and with four more years in the White House he will continue to transform the federal judiciary by appointing judges who recognize the sanctity of life and finally defeat the Democrat-backed abortion industry,” a Sept. 3 press release for Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign read. 

Trump also wrote a more detailed letter to pro-life organization, Pro-Life Voices for Trump, in which he explained that he would “fight for the unborn around the globe” by “stopping taxpayer funding of the big abortion industry, such as Planned Parenthood.” 

What Trump seems to forget is that Planned Parenthood provides more than just access to safe, legal abortions. The non-profit organization also provides healthcare, proper sexual health education and more to those that need it (some 2.4 million people). Planned Parenthood provides the necessary resources and access to testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the corresponding treatments and diagnoses, emergency contraception, breast exams and even after-hours sexual health education through online chat forums, among other things. 

Teen pregnancy is at an all-time low. The rates of infection for STIs in the United States are at an all-time high. Clearly, the work of organizations such as Planned Parenthood is fundamental to the changing landscape of sexual health education in the U.S.. Sexual health is one of the most taboo topics in American culture. No one wants to talk about it — and no one seems to want to talk about STIs. But, after young adults were able to access proper sexual education, teen pregnancy rates saw a drop. Who is to say Planned Parenthood can’t shift this conversation to provide the proper education surrounding STIs as well? 

Abortion is just one area that Planned Parenthood encompasses. To defund Planned Parenthood is to deprive American citizens access to public health programs. To defund access to public health in programs in the middle of a global pandemic? Seems like a decision that is not well thought out. The use of the term “defund” is simply to appease Trump’s anti-abortion voter base, but the implications go much further than just Nov. 3. “Defunding” one of the largest healthcare providers in the United States will only serve as another means of keeping those that Trump wants at the bottom, even lower.