I am writing this with a very heavy heart, on Thursday President Trump signed an executive order that seeks to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform abortions.

I visited my first Planned Parenthood when I was 18 and started having sex.  I filled my purse with free condoms from the lobby and got my first prescription for birth control.  They helped to teach me about safe sex, so I was able to graduate college and not have a child when I wasn’t ready or contract an STD that could have changed the course of my life.

Planned Parenthood offers services related to sexually transmitted infections, fertility, contraception, pregnancy care, breast and cervical cancer screening, and abortions.

Planned Parenthood gets Federal funding in one of two ways: the majority of federal funding comes to Planned Parenthood in the form of reimbursements through Medicaid, the government funded health insurance plan for people with low income.  Medicaid reimburses Planned Parenthood for medical services it provides for preventative medical screenings (including cancer screenings, which help save women’s lives), HIV testing, STD testing and birth control.  Planned Parenthood also gets funding through Title X, which is only allowed to be used for family planning services.

In Obama’s last days in office he signed an order that prohibited state and local governments from withholding Federal funding for family planning services regardless of if they perform abortions.  Trump offered (so generously, sarcasm intended) to preserve federal funding of Planned Parenthood if they stopped performing abortions.  Dawn Laguens, the Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood, responded by saying “Let’s be clear: Federal funds already do not pay for abortions, offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept. Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is nonnegotiable.”

There is a huge public misconception that Federal funds pay for abortions – THEY DO NOT.  Tax dollars already do not pay for abortions due to the Hyde amendment, which was passed in 1976 which does not allow Medicaid to pay for abortions. Since 1994 there have only been three narrow exceptions: when continuing the pregnancy would endanger a woman’s life, or when the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

Courts have already shot down bans on placing restrictions on Medicaid reimbursements.  So, Trump went after Title X, the Federal family planning program.  Title X gets distributed by grants to states, leaving states the power to set the criteria for recipients.

Make no mistake that Trump has made anti-abortion legislation a priority during his early days in office. He also reinstated the Mexico City policy, which blocks US funding to any nongovernmental organization that performs abortions around the world regardless of if the money is used for abortions or not.

In my opinion, because the conservatives in America have not been able to make abortion illegal, they instead try to make it very hard for women to have access to places to get safe abortions. Which is why they seek to defund Planned Parenthood, so they can no longer afford to run their clinics, which do a multitude of other things besides abortions.  Our rights are under attack and I will not go backward on the rights our fellow feminists have fought so hard to obtain.  We cannot afford to be apathetic as our rights are being trampled on by old white men who have no idea what having a vagina is like.

Four million women depend on Title X for family planning services.  Half of these women are women of color or women in rural ares who have no where else to go.

So what can we do to get into action:

  1. Know the facts and stay informed:

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2) We can use our voices to speak up to friends and family on the topic.

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3) Congress is in recess until April 23rd, so please contact your state and local representatives while they are in town.

4) Donate to support Planned Parenthood Health Centers and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

5) Schedule an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood for your health services.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Please share this with your loved ones and remember #wewontgoback.  Together we have the power to enact real change.