5 Approaches That are More Effective Than Defunding Planned Parenthood

Emma Huggins, Staff Writer

With the recent election and the official confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barret, the defunding of Planned Parenthood has become a highly controversial topic. Roe vs Wade is at risk of being overturned, which would give individual states the freedom to ban abortions.  The issue with this and the so-called “Pro-life” community is that they often see the problem of unplanned pregnancy through a lens that only addresses abortions and ignores the other factors. Defunding Planned Parenthood and criminalizing abortion is actually counterintuitive, and here’s why: These are 5 alternate approaches to decreasing unplanned pregnancy–all efforts of Planned Parenthood that do not jeopardize a woman’s choice:

  1. Improve sex education in schools 

According to the 2014 CDC School Health Profiles, less than half of high schools and one-fifth of middle schools include all 16 topics the CDC has deemed essential to sex education. Most states have a loose guideline of sex-ed curriculum; however, most curricula are left up to individual school districts. Of those states, only 13 require the information being taught to be medically accurate (USC Nursing). This allows for a broad spectrum of information that US teens are being given, with many schools still only teaching abstinence. If given an education that covers all areas of sex and sexuality, teens would be better prepared before having sex, hence preventing unwanted, teen pregnancies.

  1. Provide more accessible birth control and contraceptives

62 million women in the US are of childbearing age, and about 70% of them are at risk of unintended pregnancies. More than a third of US  women have struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and as a result, used birth control inconsistently. Not only can this cause unplanned pregnancy, but it can also affect general physical and mental health.  Birth control pills typically range from $15 to $50, and other forms of birth control like IUDs and implants can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, even with insurance. Planned Parenthood offers 15 different birth control services, for men and women, and is making many strides in making it more accessible to the general public (Office of Women’s Health).

  1. Create more emphasis on the importance of consent in sex

Consent is the agreement to participate in any sexual activity. It is a vital part of all sex education that is often left out or not given enough attention. Consent is a preventative tool for any form of sexual violence or abuse, which is why, when used correctly, it can be very important in counteracting unplanned pregnancies.

  1. Destigmatize conversations on sex and sexuality

The topic of sex and sexuality has been and continues to be considered “taboo” in many cultures, especially in cultures that value religion highly. These religious and conservative groups tend to be the headliners of “pro-life” and anti-abortion movements. Destigmatizing sexuality would allow for a more open conversation about promoting sexual health and wellness, which includes preventing unplanned pregnancy.

  1. Hold offenders of sexual violence and rape accountable

According to RAINN, only 230 out of every 1,000 sexual assault cases are reported. That averages to about 3 out of 4. And a huge reason why many cases go unreported is that people have little trust in the justice system to bring them justice. This is because so many accused sexual assaulters and rapists go unprosecuted, and even when they are prosecuted, many of the repercussions are not nearly as severe as necessary. In our society as a whole, it has been shown that those accused of sexual violence are often still capable of achieving success. There are so many celebrities, CEOs, and government higher-ups that have been accused or even proven of committing sexual violence, yet they still hold so much power. We need to create a culture where people are held accountable and doing so would decrease these crimes from being committed in the future and hence decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies.