By Dianna Flores/reporter
Karina, 20, who asked that her last name not be used because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that even though the organization has received a lot of criticism recently, she believes it helps a lot of young women who have no idea where to get information.
“It is the first place that pops to mind when you have no idea where to go,” she said. “They make you feel comfortable and provide you with good health care for an affordable price.”
However, TR student Carolina Serrato said videos of a Planned Parenthood employee discussing selling fetal tissue turned her against the organization.
“I’m also not so convinced that we need to fund an organization that sells fetal tissue,” she said.
The national debate about Planned Parenthood is also occurring among students unnerved by recent allegations but also in need of its services.
Karina said she never had the talk about the birds and the bees with her mother, so she was unsure about where to go. Most of all, she said she was scared of what the results might be.
“After I got my results, my stomach dropped,” she said. “I tested positive for an STD.”
Karina’s first thought was how she could’ve gotten it and what she should do next. Planned Parenthood officials talked to her about her treatment and educated her about having protected sex. She said she is thankful that she knew where to go and that the staff was helpful.
“Not a lot of people know where to go in situations like mine,” she said. “It was nice knowing that there was a Planned Parenthood near me that will help me with their services.”
The organization got $528 million in federal funds in 2014, according to The Washington Post, and though many people find it to be helpful, not all agree it should receive the government’s support.
In December, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood nationwide, and the House approved the same bill Jan. 6. However, President Barack Obama vetoed the bill Jan. 8, preventing it from becoming law.
Its main purpose, according to Planned Parenthood opponents, is to stop the government from funding abortions. Federal money, though, is prohibited from going to abortions. It mostly goes for wellness exams and cancer screenings, which the organization says saved nearly 88,000 lives between 2012 and 2013.
NW student Sulema Canales said defunding an organization that helps so many doesn’t make sense.
“We have to think of the big picture. How many young women has Planned Parenthood helped? How many will be affected when they start closing down?” Canales said.
Studies show there has been a steep increase in STD cases in the U.S., according to CNN. Many young women and men are at a high risk of contracting an STD.
Canales said studies like those show that many people aren’t informed, especially young adults. Defunding Planned Parenthood, she said, is not helping and only making matters worse.
Canales went there in her early 20s when she got pregnant. The facility provided her with information about her pregnancy and gave her prenatal pills.
“I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me,” she said. “I just knew I had to get checked out. I had no idea I was pregnant at the time. Going to Planned Parenthood was my first instinct.”
Planned Parenthood has been in the crosshairs with many protesters after Internet videos surfaced last summer of employees allegedly debating prices for fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood supporters said anti-abortion groups had doctored the videos.
Serrato said she used to support Planned Parenthood until the videos were released.
“I had always been pro-choice, and I also believed that every woman had a right to do what they want with their body, but after watching these videos, I’m not so convinced anymore,” Serrato said.
In November, a gunman walked into a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado and killed three and wounded nine people. Obama said Americans needed to talk facts about Planned Parenthood and not demonize these organizations, according to the Huffington Post.
“No one has the right to tell women what to do with their body or what choices to make,” Canales said. “This bill is doing the exact opposite of helping. It’s repressing people of their health.”