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A Research Paper on Planned Parenthood: The Parental Power to Choose

Updated on October 7, 2019
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Rhylee Suyom has hopped in three different worlds: the academe, the corporate, and the media. He enjoys being with nature and his family.

Planned Parenthood: The Power to Choose

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A Research Paper on Planned Parenthood: The Parental Power to Choose

Planned Parenthood is what many couples need to assure a quality life to their children. As many of these couples end up having more children than they planned to, they can end up compromising their children’s needs along the way since the economic capacity does not match the number of children. Aside from that, mothers end up putting their health at risk by having too many conceptions and giving birth. This also puts the fetus on the line since the un-recovered uterus will fail to give the best for the baby.

A planned family does not only include the conception part but also raising the child. According to a survey, 73% of the parents’ state that parenting is their biggest challenge (National Parent Survey, 2019). This becomes more challenging if there is an apparent lack of resources and lack of emotional maturity to have a baby. With that, Planned Parenthood helps adults to veer away from such a dreadful situation.

Having Planned Parenthood as a public nonprofit resource gives newborns significantly better opportunities in life, by helping parents only procreate when they are ready and have the means to provide a healthy environment for a child. Planned Parenthood also gives mothers means to protect themselves, for example if a mother’s body is not yet ready to give birth to another baby, Planned Parenthood would assist with the abortion process if this is what she chooses to do with the pregnancy. However, if the mother is ready to conceive but is not yet ready to raise a child or does not have the resources to become a parent, a better option would be to give up that child up for adoption. Planned Parenthood would be able to assist with her the needs in this case as well. The organization will continue to strive to meet their goal of empowering women as they have done for the past 100 years of existence.

History

Planned Parenthood organization began with the initiative of Margaret Sanger who wanted to help women have control over their own bodies. According to Planned Parenthood (2019), Sanger’s activism became the turning point for the organization and the changing of the world as she gave power to women to decide and plan on pregnancy. She considered this idea since she came from a family of 11 with her mother having 7 miscarriages and dying at an early age. From there, she opened the first birth control clinic along with her sister Ethel Byrne and Fania Mindell, an activist (Planned Parenthood, 2019). The clinic provided information and advice about birth control to women. It should be noted that with the start of this organization, the founders got imprisoned as they were accused of violating the Comstock Act. Upon the modification of the law, the organization was permitted to give women access to birth control. Eventually, this was organized to American Birth Control League and most of the activities of the organization were reliant on voluntary work.

Purpose

The purpose of Planned Parenthood is to aid the parents and parents-to-be holistically as they face a pivotal point in their lives. It aims to give the parents the comprehensive reproductive and necessary complementary health care services to uphold the rights of every individual as they adhere to public policies (Planned Parenthood, 2019). This non-government organization intends to educate parents about family planning and reproductive health care, as we can all agree a planned parenthood is better than a surprise one. Aside from this, family planning is also among its goals as Sanger started the Birth Control Research Bureau in 1923 (Planned Parenthood, 2019). They explored the use of pills and even looked into the right to abortion. However, this placed them in controversy. By 2016, this problem was already solved as the law for safe and legal abortion was already permitted by the Supreme Court. This allows the mother to choose whether to pursue the pregnancy considering all aspects of her well-being including the financial aspect.

Another purpose of this organization is to empower women and give them the right to choose when to have children. Women own their bodies and they should have the right and the say when they can or cannot, should or should not have children. It is unfair for many women to continue with a pregnancy and give birth without having the recovery time needed. The organization intends to explore more ways to deal with parenthood and pregnancy opening windows of choices to parents. With the right information and the proper birth control devices, the parents can have the say when they will have their baby or when they can expect the next one.

Context

Sanger started this organization to bring empowerment to women during a time when women held less power compared to men and appeared to have the control on the number of children that they could have as well as when they would decide to conceive. Her mother’s situation inspired her to look into the planned parenthood since seven of her supposedly siblings were miscarried, because of this, her mother ended up having frail health and even dying at the age of 50.

Through her mother’s fate, she saw women's need for support and education about planned parenthood, also saw how unplanned pregnancies can lead to a mother’s poor health and even put the babies' lives at risk. If the mother continues to become impregnated birth after birth, it could lead to the incapacity of the body to sustain the needs of the fetus making the woman vulnerable to miscarriage. This can cause trauma not only to the mother but also to the rest of the family. More than that, a life can be on the line because of the mother's body not being ready to support a new life, but this can all be prevented if proper time is given between pregnancies or if contraceptives are used.

The founder of the organization saw the need for the women to learn more about family planning and having a place to obtain this information from since many of these women were discouraged in their own household. For Sanger, the deteriorating effects of series of pregnancy and the impact it had on newborns were reasons enough to begin her journey to create a better tomorrow for women through her the non-profit organization.

Evolution

With 2016 marking the 100 years of the Sanger, Byrne, and Mindell’s efforts, the organization has expanded as they began to educate more people about reproductive health and birth control. Women's choices have now also expanded with the onset of technology along with the plethora of choices in birth control. Abortion is also considered as an option now with the winning of the safe and legal abortion as approved by the Supreme Court (Planned Parenthood, 2019). This can now be used in justifiable reasons since it is no longer perceived against the law. However, the organization still faces administrative issues as it fails to coordinate its organization in other places and members to cooperate. Aside from this, the holding power of the administration is also a concern in the process since in the case of Planned Parenthood and Missouri, the statements of the five physicians as requested by the state are still pending (Smith, 2019). The members within the organization follows the orders of the organization but the volunteers outside refuses to follow. With that, the organization continues to face a dreaded problem and crisis which root from the kind of decisions and holding power of the heads.

Literature Review

Reproductive Health

Reproductive health is among the major concerns of the state that it should fund and support as this has an essential impact on the health and reproduction of the community. OECD (2018) defines reproductive health as enjoying safe sexual life with the consideration with reproduction including the access to fertility control. This is engaging in sexual intercourse with the possibility of bearing children in mind. In support to this, UNFPA (2019) claims that providing family planning services is among the cost-effective health services that will decrease the cases of morbidity and maternal mortality. Support given to reproductive health care services can give more benefits to the community.

Reproductive health care includes couples, children, and other adults having access to health services. This also involves women gaining access to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy as well as birth spacing that will provide benefit to the adults and children (OECD, 2018). This will give the chance to both man and woman to decide when to have children especially if they are not yet ready to have children. This is the nature of services that Planned Parenthood has been giving for the past 100 years.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is a non-government organization that addresses a myriad of services. This includes education and services in connection to abortion, birth control, cancer, emergency contraception, health and wellness, pregnancy, sex and relationships, sexual orientation and gender, and sexually transmitted infections (Planned Parenthood, 2019). This proves how much the organization can offer to the public starting from reproductive health to other health services.

Planned Parenthood caters to all age group. Most of their customers falls on the legacy customers who are twenty-five years of age referring younger friends and members of the family (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). Despite the issues, these are the customers who keep on patronizing the organization’s services. Aside from this, adolescents also consider Planned Parenthood to be helpful to them with their aim to help them become responsible in their sexual engagements. The organizations cater to different age groups and can be considered as an advantage to the public.

One of its features is abortion which is the source of its current issues. In the past, abortion is not allowed until the 2016 amendments in the law permitted it. In the context of Planned Parenthood, abortions done by women are not referred to as treatment to illness but rather something socioeconomic in nature (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). This is a decision due to financial incapacity to support a child or other matters that will not benefit both couples and the child.

At the moment, the organization is facing a crisis. It has a misinformation campaign especially with regard to the fetal tissue retrieval (Topulos, Greene, and Drazen, 2015). This has been misinterpreted by the public as the ones performing the abortion are qualified practitioners. However, some groups that are anti-choice are trying to eradicate this group (Topulos, Greene, and Drazen, 2015). This can be an impending problem that most of the people might have to face given the nature of services that it provides. The responsible group targeting this organization are the Republicans as the undercover videos of the Planned Parenthood trading in fetal tissue were presented (Dyer, 2015). This led to the consideration of the barring of the funds. However, Donald Trump, the president, asked the people to consider its benefits first before looking into the negative sides.

Strengths and Criticisms

Planned Parenthood has been serving various communities for 100 years. It has reached about 390000 women with its services and about 650000 women in accessing the health care it needs every year (Lawrence and Ness, 2017). This proves how widespread the coverage of its services is. If defunded, a number of women and even men will be left with no choice but to access their health care needs on community centers.

Furthermore, this organization intensifies women empowerment. According to Cox (2016), this organization advance the feminist politics in the past and even in the contemporary era. This is due to the autonomy and control it provides to every woman who wants to decide for herself on what will happen to her body.

Another strength of the organization is its professional medical setting. Planned Parenthood has the quality service and treatment for health care which matches or even exceed the kind of service that is offered in local centers (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). In support to this, the nurturing female staff is also considered as a strength. With their presence, nurturing, understanding and empowering ambiance is fortified since these staff also experienced the services of the organizations themselves (Lawrence and Ness, 2017). The kind of staff that the organization has make it easier for the patients to deal with their respective treatments since sympathy is assured.

Lastly, confidentiality is assured in this organization. This assures the young women to make sure that the risk in their sexual activities are kept secret from their parents (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). This gives the patients a relief from the rest of the problems that their treatment will accompany. This is part of the ethical practice in the medicine and is highlighted in the organization.

Planned Parenthood’s primary battle cry is providing quality health care services. However, with the video exposure of the fetal tissues involving abortion, criticisms surfaced showing the inadequacy of the non-profit organization. It is claimed that after the performance of abortion, the organization fails to provide the holistic care to the customers which includes physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and vocational health (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). After the treatment, only a few of these are attended while the long term needs are not met especially the emotional aspect. Abortion will exhaust emotions and will have adverse effects to the woman psychologically. As claimed by critics, Planned Parenthood fails to provide pre- and post-abortion needs (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). The counselling that the woman needs after the abortion process is failed to be given as such is left to nearby professional experts or counselors. The organization is said to just make women un-pregnant and nothing follows afterwards.

Another criticism is the misinformation of the organization from ethical healthcare perspective. According to Pauls and Landwehr (2017), the humanity of the fetus is denied by the organization which goes against the definition of the medical field since the unborn child is regarded as merely a mass of cells. This is said to go contrary on the tenets of the medical field. This is considered as a strong fault on the organization since the information about the unborn child strips the life away from it.

Next is that the Planned Parenthood is definitely working on the reproductive issues of the patients. However, the downside of this is its failure to track its causes since the organization’s scope is limited (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). Hence, the root cause of the problems is not actually solved since the surfacing problem is the only one addressed. It is established that women’s power and autonomy in their bodies are granted (Cox, 2016). However, the underlying causes of the problems of the women are not actually traced.

Defunding Planned Parenthood Issue

One of the challenges faced by Planned Parenthood is the lessening of funds based on the legislation of various states. Federal Public Health Financing depends heavily on both public and and private sectors to continue its services (Stevenson, et al, 2016). For organization like Planned Parenthood to go on rendering its services, it needs funding. However, with the current situation, the organization has been excluded from the funding which results to the limitations of the services that they can now give. According to Silver and Kapadia (2017), pieces of evidence on the both long and short term effects of removing the funding of Planned Parenthood health centers were proven by studies. It is assumed that health centers can provide the needs of the public, however, the services that the Planned Parenthood can offer is more comprehensive than the government centers. Upon defunding the organization, men, women, and children will not be able to obtain the important health care services since the providers of the service could not be supplied by the community hospitals and private organizations (Silver and Kapadia, 2017). The government should reconsider the defunding of Planned Parenthood and it should take note of the effects of the program and its removal.

The effect of programs on family planning and anything similar to Planned Parenthood presents how this can help women. In Texas, the adverse effects on the reduction of the services has resulted to irreversible impact to families. In a particular study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the program of planned parenthood shows how this supported the low-income women’s advantage on the health services (White et. al, 2015). It will be disadvantageous if the access will be withdrawn. It is a must that the funding of these clinics like Planned Parenthood be continued as those who really need the service will access the services (White et al, 2015). If the reduction of funds and the implementation of such programs, the series of reactions may end up causing long term problems especially to the less fortunate ones.

This problem is becoming alarming since the support that the organization needs is decreasing. This can be regarded as an attack to the organization (Topulos, Greene, and Drazen, 2015). The lifeblood of an organization relies on the funding that it has. In fifteen states, there is a plan to bar the funding of the Planned Parenthood starting January 1, 2013 (Stevenson, et al, 2016). With the assessment done by the researchers, it is highly recommended that the decisions of the states should be reviewed since the findings present that more deficiencies are resulting from the defunding. According to Stevenson et.al (2016), the implementation of the exclusion of Planned Parenthood showed the impact of this decision in the Medicaid-paid deliveries, contraceptive use and implementation as well as in other services. Women from remote areas encountered not only disruption of the service but as well as more challenges in obtaining reproductive health care services (Woo, Alamgir, and Potter, 2016). With this, the game players and the major stakeholders who can change the decision or do something about the problem must act on this issue.

Planned Parenthood has its strengths and weaknesses. However, just like how Trump stated, the advantages that the community gets from the services should be considered first before totally barring the organization from funding. If the benefits outweigh the lapses, the responsible people who can work on the changes and the funding of the organization should consider first if the removal of this organization which has been existing for 100 years will become an advantage to everyone and not just to select people.

Recommendations

With the issue on defunding and the claimed insufficiency of the non-profit organization, three administration issues on policy implementation can be identified. These include effective management system for an affiliate, communications between the national office and the affiliates, and assessment of performance. If these are to be addressed, their current issue could have been prevented and the damage that it can cause may also be lessened. These are also pointing for improvements for the organization itself. The administrative issues should be examined for the betterment of the organization.

With the issue of defunding from the government, the administrators should investigate these concerns as to address the problems of the organization. First is the effective management system. The administration should investigate the problems and must cascade the solutions to the affiliates. With the exposure of the video on the fetal tissue issue on abortion, the administration should have considered the damage control as early as possible. This appears to be the leading source of problem of the organization. There have been articles and groups campaigning on the defunding of the organization and the administration could not just take this sitting down since the result of such campaign has caused them a big problem on the finances already.

Upon hearing the major issues of the organization, the administration should have thought of answering these problems. Among these issues should the problem on tagging the organization as Planned Parenthood becoming the biggest abortion provider in United States and altered abortion techniques resulted to the harvesting fetal tissues from abortions (Carter, 2017). Such notion will be clarified if the organization will release a statement presenting their side as to decrease or put to a halt the misconceptions about the organization. The nature of the people is to jump into conclusions without considering the benefits of the organization. The issue on the fetal tissue harvesting should also be explained. This solution should start with the head as they are the legitimate sources for clarification which they can present in a press conference. This can be communicated with their staff and affiliates so they will know what to answer with these kinds of questions. The public relations management should know what to do in this kind of problems to prevent them from giving birth to other problems. However, the effect of the video exposure has already taken its toll. The management should know how to handle the return of the funding through effective management system. Without enough funding, an organization will not survive. The management should regard this as something critical.

Another consideration in their policy implementation is the communication between the national office and the affiliates. Aside from presenting the solution down to the very staff, it is important that the national office will communicate regularly with their centers. This will help in determining if any of their centers are selling fetal tissue for their monetary gain (Carter, 2017). If the administration or national office knows that they are not doing anything wrong, they should check if any of their centers are performing such violation. The communication between the head and the centers is important as to maintain the following of the protocols. The inconsistencies will only result if they fail to remind the volunteers and their staff. However, these are still issuing and communication among the involved members of the organizations will help in solving any problem. The solution for this problem can also be addressed with the effective management system.

Last will be assessment of the performance. By evaluating the performance of the staff, the issue on the effectiveness of the centers towards their clients. The issue on the confidentiality of the clients can be assessed through the proper monitoring of the officers from the national office (Pauls and Landwehr, 2017). It is noted that the organization thrives on the voluntary work. However, despite the volunteerism, quality of service should still be assured. This will include monthly checking and regular monitoring of the centers of the Planned Parenthood all over the United States. This will assure that the consistency of the principles and services that the organization has to offer to people. It is normal for widespread delivery of services to have minimal to major inconsistencies if the assessment is not regular.

Aside from these recommendations, other concepts to consider are the number of volunteers and funding and independence accountability. In terms of the volunteers, there appears to be no issue since the organization thrives on voluntary work. However, the major issue lies on the last concern. The organization is facing a crisis on funding with the exclusion of the government on its monetary support. Before the organization reached this point of crisis, the administration should have considered contingency plans. They could have considered that next plans if the government will withdraw its support, the next step should have been thought of. The impact of this crisis should be planned and solved since the result is already in the critical level.

Conclusion

Planned Parenthood is the power to choose. By allowing women to choose and decide for themselves, they get empowered. They gain control over their bodies and they can avoid unwanted pregnancy which can put the well-being of both parents-to-be and the babies. The organization has been existing in the past 100 years. The organization has been providing health care services to women, men, and adolescents. Family planning, contraception and abortion have been extended to different places even to impoverished individuals.

The organization is geared towards providing health care and overall well-being of the involved individuals. Through the support of its volunteers and the funding of the government in the past, it managed to serve numerous individuals. The service that has been delivered to the people has gained both its strengths and weaknesses.

Among its strengths will be the quality of service, the kind of staff that they have, the specialization as well as the confidentiality. This inspire other customers to continue trusting the organization with their health care. Aside from this, it gives the remote areas the access to the services which the local community centers and other health facilities funded by the government cannot provide.

On the other hand, the organization has been facing numerous problems and crises. It has been allegedly selling fetal tissues from the abortions. Aside from this, the confidentiality regarded as its strength is also put on the line. With the selling of these tissues, people are doubting if they should entrust the taxpayers’ funds to this organization. The concept of unethical inclination of their definition of abortion is also controversial as it goes against the tenets of the medical fields. There are also groups who cannot accept abortion since they consider it as unethical and anti-life. With these problems, the legislators have decided to exclude the organization from the funding of the government.

With this issue, the involved parties, the gain of the society should be reconsidered over the alleged disadvantage since various people especially those who are not well-off have gained access to health care services. If Planned Parenthood will eventually dissolve, the people who have been relying on it will not get the needed services that it needs. The local health providers will fail to provide the needs of all the individuals that the organization that caters to it.

Given all the problems, recommendations are presented to solve the issues. The administrative implementation and management systems should be considered. The assessment system including the communication of the national office with the affiliates is also a concern that the administration should investigate. Lastly the funding is the final crisis that the heads should solve since the financial support that an organization receives is its lifeblood. Without the enough support, Planned Parenthood will cease to exist. With the dissolution of this organization, the power to choose of women and other parties will also disappear.

References

Carter, J. (2017). 10 reasons taxpayers should defund Planned Parenthood. Retrieved from https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/ten-reasons-taxpayers-should-defund-planned-parenthood

Cox, T. (2016) “The Postwar Medicalization of Family Planning: Planned Parenthood's Conservative Comic, Escape from Fear”. Women's Studies in Communication; Laramie Vol. 39, Iss. 3: 268.

Dyer, O. (2015). “Republicans across US take aim at Planned Parenthood”. BMJ : British Medical Journal (Online); London Vol. 351.

Lawrence, H., and Ness, D. (2017). “Planned Parenthood Provides Essential Services That Improve Women's Health”. MS. Annals of Internal Medicine; Philadelphia Vol. 166, Iss. 6, 443.

National Parent Survey Overview and Key Insights. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1424-national-parent-survey-overview-and-key-insights

OECD (2018), "Family planning", in Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018: Measuring Progress towards Universal Health Coverage, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/health_glance_ap-2018-20-en.

Pauls, J. & Landwehr, C. (2017). “Healthcare and Planned Parenthood: The Significance for Pro-Life Ob/Gyns”. Issues in Law & Medicine; Terre Haute Vol. 32, Iss. 2, 315-324.

Silver, D., & Kapadia, F. (2017). Planned Parenthood Is Health Care, and Health Care Must Defend It: A Call to Action. American journal of public health, 107(7), 1040–1041. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.303867

Stevenson, A. J., Flores-Vazquez, I. M., Allgeyer, R. L., Schenkkan, P., & Potter, J. E. (2016). Effect of Removal of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women's Health Program. The New England journal of medicine, 374(9), 853–860. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1511902

Smith, Kate. (2019). “Missouri judge sides with Planned Parenthood and nixes state’s request to question doctors”. CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/missouri-st-louis-judge-grants-planned-parenthood-preliminary-injunction-quashes-physician-subpoena-2019-06-04/.

The History & Impact of Planned Parenthood. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/our-history

Topulos G., Greene, M., and Drazen, J. (2015) “Planned Parenthood at Risk”. The New England Journal of Medicine; Boston Vol. 373, Iss. 10, 963-963.

UNFPA. (2019). 2018 International Conference on Family Planning. Retrieved from https://www.unfpa.org/events/2018-international-conference-family-planning

Woo, C., Alamgir, H., and Potter, J. (2016). “Women’s experiences after Planned Parenthood’s exclusion from a family planning program in Texas.” Publimed. 93(4):298-302. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2015.12.004.

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