In the fervor surrounding Planned Parenthood, I believe there are important points missing from the mainstream discussion. Much of the discussion centers around abortion and what the videos do or do not show, but I personally find them irrelevant since the funds are already prohibited to be used for abortion services.
First, Planned Parenthood isn’t a government program. It’s a private charity with its own funding sources. Removing government funding would not shut the program down, nor prevent it from providing services. While the organization may need to reduce the volume of services, there should also be a significant reduction in demand.
More importantly, federal funding for any private charity should never be a budget item. Funding for private agencies to provide specific services should be accomplished through grants, which have specific requirements and oversight procedures. Federal funding for private charities is paramount to forcing the people to give to charities. Charities should exist because people want to give to them, not because the government forces people to do so.
Secondly, the services provided by Planned Parenthood should no longer be needed. In years past, they provided important services to those with no insurance, or whose insurance did not cover these services. The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have insurance, and insurance is mandated to provide these services, cheaper than PP because ACA mandates that all wellness and preventative care is free.
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It doesn’t make sense to fund a private charity for services that are entirely covered by a government program.