By Katelyn Needham/editor-in-chief
NE student Hannah Israel takes four classes at TCC 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday and works at Chili’s on Monday and Friday.
In her free time, she watches movies, studies and even makes movies. After TCC, she plans on transferring to the University of Texas to get a degree in film or business.
Israel also falls into the 62 percent of college students who cannot afford health insurance. Low-cost services from
Planned Parenthood saved her kidneys from failing.
“I took a gap year after high school and moved to Virginia with my sister,” Israel said. “At the time, my dad was trying to take me off his health insurance because he didn’t want to pay for it. I ended up getting a really bad UTI [urinary tract infection]. I ignored it for a while, but eventually, I went to Planned Parenthood and got put on antibiotics.”
Israel is just one of nearly 5 million Americans that Planned Parenthood treats in a year. These people were helped with sexual or reproductive health care and sexual education.
“Because I have bad health, the UTI turned into a kidney infection,” she said. “But when I went to the hospital, they said had Planned Parenthood not given me the antibiotics, I could have had kidney failure.”
Like Israel, TCC student Diane also has received help from services at Planned Parenthood. The Collegian has a policy against disclosing the names of sexual assault victims.
“I’ve done pregnancy tests with Planned Parenthood,” she said. “I’ve done testing for STDs, and they’ve helped me with various checkups throughout the years, and all of it is affordable, which I absolutely love. After I was sexually abused, I also went through counseling with them.”
Planned Parenthood has been under fire for offering abortion services. However, out of the over 9 million global patients they provided with services, only around 300,000 were abortion-related. STD/I testing and treatment had the most with over 4 million.
“It’s easy for some to access the services through regular doctor appointments and insurances,” Diane said. “But for low-income students, it’s important to have access to these cheap services, especially when so many are exploring their sexuality.”
In President Donald Trump’s first day of office, he signed an executive order that reinstated the Mexico City policy that bars government funding to organizations that perform abortions overseas and promote the services. By doing so, Planned Parenthood loses $100 million that it gets annually from the government.
“When a lot of people think Planned Parenthood, the first thing they think is abortion,” Israel said. “They aren’t the same thing. If women weren’t afraid to be seen going to Planned Parenthood, they could save so many more lives.”
Trump has stated he is vehemently against abortion rights.
“His rhetoric about policing, race and obviously about women have torn at social norms that we’ve had since the ’70s and the civil rights movements,” SE history professor and gender historian Greg Kosc said.
Trump has been scrutinized for remarks he made about women, mostly regarding their appearance.
“He’s trying to attack Roe v. Wade and put in a Supreme Court justice that doesn’t support women, and I would just like him to start listening,” Israel said. “He wants to do these radical things that a minority of people want, but he isn’t looking at the American population as whole.”
Defunding Planned Parenthood has been one of the biggest goals for pro-life supporters and Republicans since the success of Roe v. Wade, the court case that legalized abortion.
More recently, Trump signed a bill allowing states to individually defund Planned Parenthood. The bill lets states withhold family planning funds from organizations that provide access to abortion services.
Trump has also offered ultimatums to the organization by saying he would allow them to keep funding should they halt all abortion services. Abortion services is an umbrella term that covers more than the actual procedure. Services could include counseling, help finding doctors and help funding the procedure.
“Last year in the middle of the year, I had an abortion done,” Diane said. “I went to Planned Parenthood, and they gave me my options. They referred me to a clinic, to a hotline for funding and helped me through the whole process. They didn’t pay for any of it. They just helped me get the help from other sources.”
Israel said the method of fighting back is not through partisanship.
“The way to do it is not to say, ‘He’s not my president,’” he said. “We need to stop thinking as Republican and Democrat but as general people who need to work together.”
If organizations like Planned Parenthood are hard to access for students, TCC has options for similar services available on the campuses.
Services include the mobile Fort Worth Pregnancy Center that does pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STD testing, pregnancy classes and counseling, all by appointment or walk-in. Also, mobile mammograms are done by Texas Health Resources and STD/HIV testing done by MHMR on campuses.
According to NW health services coordinator Monica Hayes, many TCC students are uninsured or don’t have the time available to go to doctors. She said bringing the services to students, faculty and staff makes it much more accessible.
“Preventive measures are one of the most important reasons for these services,” Hayes said. “If you can prevent a health issue from occurring, it’s a lot less taxing on the body and a lot cheaper than trying to fix something after it has occurred.”
If the Trump administration manages to defund Planned Parenthood entirely, more students like Diane and Israel and the millions of other people they help worldwide will not have access to the services that helped them.
“I think TCC students have a responsibility to engage with what’s happening and develop and articulate their own worldview,” Kosc said. “When you become politically conscious, you can all of the sudden start to figure out what does concern you.”