By LaKeshia N. Myers
Planned Parenthood—a name that has become synonymously paired with abortion, or the termination of a pregnancy. It is a health care agency whose network provides access to quality health care to tens of thousands of women each year. What you may be surprised to learn is that Planned Parenthood is not specifically a women’s health care outlet. That’s right, Planned Parenthood’s patients include men.
I learned this firsthand when speaking to a friend of mine who told me that when he was a struggling graduate student, he was uninsured and needed access to an internal medicine doctor. He tried contacting doctors at local clinics to schedule an appointment, but because of lack of insurance, he had no luck. A fellow graduate student, a woman, suggested he try making an appointment at Planned Parenthood. “The abortion clinic?” he asked. “They do more than that, you know,” his colleague retorted. So, he called Planned Parenthood and was able to be seen by a physician the next day. According to Planned Parenthood, the organization serves nearly 250,000 men per year.
The eyes of the country are fixed on the Supreme Court, as it hears arguments regarding a Mississippi anti-abortion law. The Mississippi law bans abortion at 15 weeks, which is three months pregnant. A vast majority of women do not know or realize they are pregnant until the third or fourth month of pregnancy. The 1973 Roe decision established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, which is currently around 23 weeks. Political pundits and cable news outlets alike are raising their voices on the issue of abortion in America. Arguing whether life begins at conception or birth. What stokes fear among many is the threat of repealing a law that has been on the books for 48 years; one that would surely force women who seek to terminate a pregnancy, for whatever reason, to do so by putting themselves at risk or forcing them to seek treatment outside the United States.
In a country where freedom is a quintessential premise of American idealism, I cannot fathom that we are at a point were denying women the freedom of choice. It does not matter what one’s personal convictions may be, we cannot legislate morality. We must focus on what is best for the greater good. Access to quality reproductive health is in the best interest of the greater good.