Planned Parenthood: an organization providing health care aid and information, leaves South students and staff debating the service’s ethics

Maddy Ruos & Olivia Sotirchos, asst. features editors

In the wake of the Nov. 27 attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, many members of the Glenview community are taking the time to reflect on the recent controversy surrounding the funding and purpose of Planned Parenthood.

Junior Sarah Patt recognizes the significance of the attack in regards to the future of the non-for-profit organization. A self-proclaimed supporter of Planned Parenthood, Patt hopes that the tragedy will aid in bringing certain aspects of the organization to the forefront and allow people to establish opinions that are rooted in logistics rather than in misconceptions.

“The fact that people who are supposedly ‘pro-life’ are so willing to take the lives of innocent people absolutely disgusts me,” Patt said.

Similar to Patt, senior Mary Batrich identifies as a supporter of Planned Parenthood. She also feels that the shooting was detrimental to the values the organization has worked to establish.

“I find [the shooting] completely uncalled for,” Batrich said. “Planned Parenthood’s whole campaign is centered around the patient and making them feel safe and comfortable in their facility. This event really broke what they’ve been trying to build up for almost a century.”

A non-scientific Oracle-conducted survey of 289 South students asked if the statement that the majority of Planned Parenthood  services strictly deal with abortion is true or false; 52 percent of students answered that the satement is true or that they didn’t know. On the contrary, Planned Parenthood’s official website,, states that only 3 percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.

Batrich feels that Planned Parenthood has acquired a negative stigma due to the fact that many people wrongly assume the majority of the services the organization provides are related to abortion.

“All the unfavorable slander does not come close to doing [Planned Parenthood] justice compared to everything they provide for their patients,” Batrich said. “If a woman wants to have an abortion, then she goes there to get it, but I don’t think that the hatred should fall on the doctor or the practice.”

This “unfavorable slander” is most likely the result of what refers to as the “common-sense policies” regarding “sexual and reproductive health and rights” that are “under attack like never before.” Ryan Kinsella, Social Studies teacher and Feminism Club sponsor, discusses the logic behind many pro-Planned Parenthood arguments.

“If we see [Planned Parenthood] as a healthcare provider instead of an abortion clinic, that’s going to change the way we feel about it, and there would be less of a stigma and less shame in going there,” Kinsella said. “So many young women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for more than just abortive services.”

Sixty-six percent of the surveyed group indicated that the government should not defund Planned Parenthood, according to an unofficial questionnaire on, while the remaining 34 percent indicated that the government should defund Planned Parenthood.

In response to the government controversy over federal funding of Planned Parenthood, South students expressed opinions on both sides of the argument. Senior Aswin Manoj is against the use of federal funds to support Planned Parenthood because of his strong pro-life views.

“Abortion is a hotly debated issue, and even though contemporary medical and legal terms may not view unborn children as humans, there is still guilt associated with terminating what would become a fully developed baby if left to live,” Manoj said. “[Because] I strongly hate abortion, I do not support Planned Parenthood in any way.”

Contrary to Manoj’s belief, senior Samantha Levi believes that Planned Parenthood should continue to receive funding from the government. She brings up the notion that Planned Parenthood is often times the only available choice regarding health care for many Americans that can’t afford other options.

“Because [Planned Parenthood] is a non-profit organization, funding is one of the main ways for Planned Parenthood to keep their services affordable and accessible for lower-income patrons,” Levi said.

As reported by, one in five women in the United States has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her lifetime, cementing the institution’s importance as a pillar of reproductive health care.

With the knowledge of these statistics about the types of services Planned Parenthood provides, Manoj still believes that the organization needs to be defunded because its societal value is of little importance.

“Even though the majority of Planned Parenthood services do not have to do with abortions, the very fact that it conducts abortions is enough to not support it,” Manoj said.

However, some believe that federal funding for Planned Parenthood is intrinsic to the solidification of women’s equality in modern America. Kinsella offers a historical perspective in that Planned Parenthood “makes up” for a lot of the fundamental inequalities between men and women in the US that existed before the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and the establishment of Planned Parenthood.

“A woman who was seeking birth control in any format, […] in a legal sense, had few options before the 1960s […] and Planned Parenthood became that safe space where a woman could talk about family planning and have control over her reproductive rights,” Kinsella noted.

According to, 84 percent of Planned Parenthood healthcare clients in the U.S. are age 20 and older. With this statistic in mind, the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood may seem rather distant or irrelevant to high schoolers. However, individuals, such as Batrich, recognize that Planned Parenthood services apply to more than just people seeking reproductive and sexual health care aid.

“I think [Planned Parenthood] is important because it’s considered to be a safe place where no one gets judged,” Batrich said. “It could be for an emergency [consultation] or a routine checkup, but I feel it is [especially] important for teenagers, especially because reproductive health and awareness becomes very apparent in these adolescent ages.”

Even though opinions about Planned Parenthood vary, many feel that it’s importance lies in the inherent message of equality at the organization’s roots. Kinsella addresses this idea by noting that Planned Parenthood, at its origin, was a product of the evolution of women’s equality.

“Planned Parenthood was born in a moment when feminists were calling for a recognition that the personal is political,” Kinsella said. “The experiences women had regarding healthcare in the past influenced feminists in the 1960s to focus on reproductive rights and to connect such rights with political, social and economic equality.”