With the current conversations about the future of Planned Parenthood under the Trump administration, Students for Life of America is pushing for the defunding and potential new direction of the nonprofit organization.
The anti-abortion student organization and its members are advocating for federally qualified health centers. According to the Congressional Research Service, FQHCs are publicly funded health centers that provide similar women's health services to Planned Parenthood, but currently, none offer abortions.
Students for Life of America has been touring across the country as part of their “We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood” campus tour. Representatives from the Great Lakes Region of the organization brought their display to Ball State’s Atrium yesterday.
Kristan Hawkins, president of the national organization said Planned Parenthood "does not need our money."
“They are significantly outnumbered by federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), who provide a wider range of services, sans abortion, than Planned Parenthood could ever hope to provide – that is where our tax dollars must be redirected towards," Hawkins said. "We don’t need Planned Parenthood.”
But, Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, disagrees with the president's proposed budget cuts.
"Instead of investing in women's health, this budget leaves women, girls and underserved populations by the wayside," Laguens said in a press release.
Planned Parenthood provides services for men's sexual health and women’s health varying from birth control to abortions, and funding of the organization has been one of the most controversial topics discussed with the Trump administration.
“A big thing that strikes me is the amount of funding that goes to Planned Parenthood,” Nora Hopf, Ball State Students for Life president, said at the display. “If we took those $500 million and gave it to federally qualified health centers that provide more services, then the possibilities are endless.”
Although Students for Life of America is anti-abortion, their argument is not to get rid of abortion, Hopf said, but to explain that there are other options for women.
“Which place really deserves the funding?” Hopf asked. “This is taxpayer money.”
Max Engler, Feminists for Action president, said the defunding of Planned Parenthood would be “nothing more than a blatant attack on low-income women.”
“Planned Parenthood is a valuable resource, and oftentimes the only available resource for low-income women as well as non-binary individuals and trans men,” Engler said.
Anna Allgaier, the Great Lakes regional coordinator of Students for Life of America, disagrees.
“A lot of people are of the impression that if Planned Parenthood gets defunded women will have nowhere to go for healthcare,” Allgaier said. “I think a big reason for that is because people just don’t know about FQHCs.”
FQHCs offer services including pelvic exams, glaucoma screenings, PAP/HPV testing and mammograms.
After attending the event, sophomore art major Samantha Hyde was unmoved by the Students for Life's argument and fully supports Planned Parenthood.
“I find it funny that their card said ‘Do we need Planned Parenthood for abortion access?’” Hyde said. “Planned Parenthood doesn’t only provide abortions.”
Hyde also said she believes Planned Parenthood provides care to “benefit everyone, not simply women.”
The display will travel to over 60 colleges throughout the spring.