Vaughn: Protecting Planned Parenthood


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Stumbling along social media last week, I came across a post about Planned Parenthood that was as shortsighted as it was insensitive and frustrating. Published on a fast-read website that features such top articles as “The Sexiest Celebrity Butts” and “Mom is 53 But Looks 27,” the embedded video includes a collection of clips featuring Planned Parenthood employees being filmed without their consent, yellow journalism, sensationalizing. The video also includes a portion of an interview in which Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards mistakenly contends that the nonprofit provides mammograms, as well as an instance in which difficulties during an abortion led to the death of a young woman.

While some of the information presented — representatives’ responses to different, sensitive situations — is disheartening, more disgusting is the video’s abuse of uncomfortable, personal problems faced by millions of women every year for the sake of shock value. The abusive morals — almost always based on the darker side of religion — used to degrade the credibility of an organization designed to guide young adults through delicate issues, morals presented in this video, are harmful to society.

The first aggravating claim presented is centered on the prospect that the organization somehow commits serious fraud and false advertising. While Richards’s words were unfortunate, the video makes sickening use of short, selective quoting. The interview is cut off very quickly, and while she did misspeak, Planned Parenthood does make it clear that it does not provide mammograms on its website and over the phone — as the video plainly shows. However, the video fails to note that representatives will help individuals find a suitable location to receive the procedure. It’s also important to not forget the other helpful services the organization provides, including screenings for sexually transmitted infections, vaccines, and birth control.

The second headache-inducer is how misled opponents of Planned Parenthood’s services seem to be, and the video represents this quite plainly. The organization and its clinics are medical institutions, not religious morality centers. While the reported death in a Chicago area was tragic and unfortunate, malpractice happens everywhere, even in the large, intimidating hospitals that many women might not feel comfortable going to for help.

Planned Parenthood was founded on the ideas of reproductive freedom and one’s right to make decisions about her body. It’s designed to be a comfortable place to handle uncomfortable situations. A few unfortunate clips don’t change that.

While it’s hard to put personal moral stances aside for the sake of basic human empathy, slanderously diving into the dark part of human emotion for the sake of click-based advertisement revenue on a website is irresponsible and heartless. It represents a lack of humanity, a lack of understanding that things aren’t always black and white with reproductive health. Attempting to derail the image of a system designed to help confused, young adults while bigger national issues exist is petty and pathetic.

There is no solution to the existence of morals or religious beliefs, because there isn’t a problem. The United States is a country in which you’re free to worship how you please, in which you can think what you want to think. It’s important to understand that this freedom extends to the scared, unsure individuals who choose to receive services offered at Planned Parenthood clinics. We should strive to be empathetic … and stop clicking on these links.

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