At the risk of stating the obvious, there’s an abundance of political issues in America that directly and seriously impact women. If there’s one political issue women should be informed about, though, it’s the fate of Planned Parenthood clinics. Conservative attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood clinics represent an urgent threat to the livelihood — and lives — of women across the U.S., especially low-income women, and the ongoing struggle to keep them open is a battle that isn't likely to end any time soon.
Of course, this is far from the only political issue facing women that merits attention. Discrimination at the workplace, anti-abortion laws, sexual assault on college campuses, underrepresentation in STEM fields, and of course, the far-reaching effects of the patriarchy in general are all serious problems that merit addressing, and being well-informed about them will be essential to solving them.
But the war on Planned Parenthood threatens women on a number of different fronts, and despite the fact that Republicans have not yet succeeded in defunding the organization, the ongoing attempt to do so is still a constant and continuous threat to the health of American women. Here’s why this is such an important, far-reaching issue.
Planned Parenthood Provides Wide-Ranging Health Services To Women
Planned Parenthood clinics provide a huge range of essential services. Affordable access to abortion is, of course, a critical issue in and of itself, but Planned Parenthood does a lot more than just perform abortions. It provides cancer screenings, contraception, STD tests and treatments, and outreach programs to millions of American women. That covers a whole lot of different health issues women face, and Republican attempts to close the clinics threaten all of those services.
Abortion Clinics Are Closing At An Astonishing Rate
While Planned Parenthood isn’t solely an abortion provider, that’s certainly one function it serves. Over the last few years, Republican lawmakers have passed a flurry of anti-abortion legislation at the state level aimed at shutting down the clinics one by one. Between 2010 and 2013, 50 abortion clinics around the country were forced to close due to these laws, and in 2014 alone, 73 clinics had to close up shop. The fight to save Planned Parenthood is largely a fight to save abortion clinics, a vital and Constitutional right to every American woman.
Conservatives Have Been Targeting Planned Parenthood Forever
While efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have received increased attention as of late, it is not a new development. Conservatives have been targeting the organization for decades, both at the state and national level, and it’s more or less been a continuous assault. This dates back to at least 1976, when a conservative group in Minnesota attempted to force the closure of a Planned Parenthood in St. Paul; similar battles took place in California, Colorado, Utah, and elsewhere in the 1980s and later. And this isn't even mentioning physical attacks on the organization and its employees, like the deadly one we saw in November. The most recent attempts to defund the organization may have failed, but there will most definitely be more of them in years to come.