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Another US governor vows to defund Planned Parenthood

Flickr: Gage Skidmore

In not so shocking news, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has just become the latest politician to announce plans to defund Planned Parenthood and its affiliates.

Unfortunately, this type of declaration has become an all too common occurrence in conservative states across the United States.

Following (false) accusations that Planned Parenthood illegally sells aborted fetal tissue for a profit, governors of states such as Utah, Alabama, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Arkansas have all ordered state officials to cut off funding for the provider of affordable health services and sex education.

It’s a disappointing example of US politicians using hot-button issues to encourage knee-jerk reactions and drive unmerited public support. In this case, politicians are using a discredited (but powerful) accusation to garner support from groups that vehemently oppose abortion.

“No longer will we send the money of hard-working Kansans to fund an industry that disrespects life and violates the moral conscience of our people,” Brownback said in a statement following his announcement.

But isn’t denying low-income men and women access to affordable healthcare services disrespectful to life?

Abortions actually represent a very small percentage of total services provided by Planned Parenthood. The clinics spend most of their time offering invaluable services such as cancer screenings, contraception consultations, and HIV prevention services.

And isn’t it a violation of the moral conscience to manipulate US citizens into believing that this is an appropriate measure?

Making it harder for young women to receive quality sex education, birth control, and family planning services is not the way to decrease the world’s number of abortions. For many young women, Planned Parenthood is the only place to turn to for services that help prevent unintended pregnancy.

Attempting to score political points in this manner is a dangerous game to play. While it may drum up short-term political support, it could also result in higher long-term rates of poverty, disease, and inequality. Andas illustrated by the fatal shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Coloradotoying with the heightened emotions of US citizens is totally irresponsible.

In a positive turn of events, supporters of Planned Parenthood have used this as an opportunity to fight back against those who want to shutter its doors.

The highly publicized nature of this issue has given global citizens a platform to advocate for the necessity of affordable and high quality healthcare for low-income men, women, and families. And the world is listening. Several of the attempts to defund Planned Parenthood have been blocked by federal appeals.

Make sure the voices of those who want to see an end to poverty are louder than those who are interested in short-term political gains. Join the conversation now to ensure all people have access to the services they need to live healthy lives.

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of each of the partners of Global Citizen.