Last week television and movie director Joss Whedon released a short film, entitled UNLOCKED, in support of Planned Parenthood. The video presents three women, each facing her own battle. One is dying from cancer, another has an STD, and a third is a pregnant student having to turn down her full-ride acceptance to college. Whedon insinuates that these struggles would be more common in a world without Planned Parenthood. The film propagates the notion that if Planned Parenthood did not exist, women would be devoid of healthcare. Therefore, according to Whedon, we should all stand with Planned Parenthood.
Although the video is less than three minutes long, it contains a plethora of falsehoods. The video plays upon society’s distorted view of Planned Parenthood. The “healthcare organization” claims that they provide a variety of services for women, such as mammograms and prenatal services. This is despite the fact that its CEO Cecile Richards has publicly testified before Congress that Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms. It has also been repeatedly demonstrated that they do not offer prenatal services for pregnant women who want to keep their children.
Why are facts like these unknown? Planned Parenthood has certainly played a role in misinforming the public. Many are familiar with the statistic that abortions are only “3% of Planned Parenthood’s services,” which leads to the misconception that the vast majority of what they do consists of various other healthcare services. But this statistic is based on a grossly misrepresentative method of calculation. Planned Parenthood considers every single “service” they provide to be equivalent, whether it be distributing condoms, providing birth control, or performing abortions. A simplified scenario captures what this entails:
Let’s suppose that, in a given year, Planned Parenthood performed 100 abortions and provided 100 women with a year’s supply of birth control pills. According to its calculations, abortions would only have constituted 7.7% of Planned Parenthood’s services that year because a year’s supply of birth control counts as 12 services (one for each month). With such gross statistical manipulation involved, that 3% figure cannot be taken at face value.
The video emphasizes an incorrect presupposition of what defunding Planned Parenthood actually means. Many informed Americans know that Congress is seeking to stop the allocation of federal taxpayer dollars to America’s largest abortion provider. However, the vast majority of them do not know what Congress plans to do with these funds. In reality, Congress is seeking to redirect these funds to federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs).
In the United States, there are approximately 13,500 FQHC facilities, compared to Planned Parenthood’s 650 clinics, that actually do provide services such as mammograms and prenatal services. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute’s study, Planned Parenthood serves approximately 2.8 million people per year, whereas FQHCs serve approximately 21.1 million individuals per year, nearly eight times more. Clearly, FQHCs are more deserving of our tax dollars, as they have demonstrably proven to be far more accessible than Planned Parenthood. Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson in her piece for The Hill said, “should Planned Parenthood be defunded, women will still have access to great quality healthcare… quality healthcare is best provided outside of Planned Parenthood.” The dystopia of a future without Planned Parenthood is nothing more than a myth.
In the last ten seconds of the short film, Whedon poses the question, “What world do you want?”, asking individuals to choose between a world with Planned Parenthood and one without it. Quite frankly, I want a world where taxpayer money goes to federally-qualified health centers that actually serve all women instead of clinics that care more about money than they do women’s health.