SHJ Condemns Effors to Defund Planned Parenthood

Society for Humanistic Judaism Condemns Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood

 

As Humanistic Jews, we condemn the misguided legislative efforts – both state and federal– to defund Planned Parenthood under the guise of not funding abortions.  These legislative initiatives are efforts to impose religious values and undermine the reproductive health of disadvantaged women.  Our belief in personal dignity and choice, our desire to enhance individual autonomy regardless of financial means, and our Humanistic Jewish commitment to the separation of religion and government all motivate us to condemn efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

 

Federal funding of abortions is already restricted. Pursuant to the Hyde Amendment, no federal funds can be used for abortions unless the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life or was caused by rape or incest. 

 

Planned Parenthood provides essential services to economically disadvantaged populations,  such as birth control, cancer screenings, support for mothers throughout pregnancy, and education of teens and women about domestic violence.  More than 90 percent of the services the organization provides include Pap smears, birth control prescriptions, breast exams, sexual health education, and treatment and testing for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.[1] 

 

Specifically, Planned Parenthood’s affiliates provide about 10 million services a year: 4.4 million tests and treatments related to sexually transmitted diseases, 3.5 million birth-control services, 1 million pregnancy tests, 500,000 breast exams, 378,000 pap tests, and 327,000 abortions. Just about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s work involved abortions, none of which are funded by the federal government.[2]

 

Experts from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, a project tracking reproductive health outcomes in Texas, examined data from women who rely on Medicaid after legislators defunded Planned Parenthood in 2013.  The results were startling: among women in the public health program, there was a 35 percent decline in claims for IUDs and implants — and a 27 percent increase in births — after the defunding of Planned Parenthood, suggesting that disadvantaged women are struggling to get the contraceptive services they need and are instead giving birth in unintended pregnancies.[3]

 

In fact, Guttmacher Institute, the well-respected research authority on the subject of reproductive rights, estimates that publicly funded family planning serviced some 2 million unplanned pregnancies in 2013, 693,000 of which would have ended in abortion.[4]   Therefore, the most effective way to lower the unplanned pregnancy rate, and consequently the abortion rate, is to fund contraception and the other services Planned Parenthood provides. 

 

As Humanistic Jews, we will not remain silent as legislators try to defund Planned Parenthood under the pretext of reducing or ending government funding for abortions. The evidence and facts clearly show that the federal government is not funding abortions, but is funding a host of services critical to the reproductive health of low income populations. Such services are essential for reducing the need for abortions. 

 

Therefore, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood – based on arguments against abortion – are based on religious ­beliefs that have no place guiding public policy decisions.  Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are not based on saving the lives of babies, but instead are a clear assault against economically disadvantaged women and men.

 

Therefore, be it resolved that the Society for Humanistic Judaism condemns the efforts at defunding of Planned Parenthood which disproportionately disadvantages low income women who have less access to affordable contraception and healthcare.  Public policy decisions should be based on facts and reason and not fabrications and manipulations of facts to support a religiously-derived agenda.

 

 

[1] Filipovik, Jill. “Defunding Planned Parenthood Is the Opposite of Pro-Life.” Cosmopolitan, 03 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 June 2016, http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a44240/defunding-planned-parenthood-is-the-opposite-of-pro-life/

[2] Saletan, William. “The GOP Argument for Defunding Planned Parenthood Is Completely Incoherent.” Slate Magazine. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 June 2016, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/09/the_gop_s_argument_for_defunding_planned_parenthood_makes_no_sense.html

 [3] Culp-Ressler, Tara. “The Consequences Of Defunding Planned Parenthood …” N.p., 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 June 2016, http://thinkprogress.org/health/2016/02/04/3746113/study-texas-planned-parenthood-defund/

[4] See supra at fn 1.