This week, VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood is recognizing National Condom Week by distributing condom-grams to those who signed up at their table. In the spirit of all the other Valentine’s Day tables, VOX allowed people to send gifts to their friends and lovers by simply putting down their friends’ addresses and adding a memo. However, unlike the other tables, VOX’s Valentine’s Day gifts were free to send. Like Planned Parenthood, VOX believes that all women and men should have free or affordable access to contraceptives so that sex can be a safe and healthy experience for lovers who make informed, consensual and non-coercive decisions.
This is why I was surprised and disappointed to hear that tablers had to defend their decision to distribute condoms. Rather than recognize the need for condoms, some students approached the table to discuss the immoral actions of Planned Parenthood.
This is something that I just do not understand. While I recognize that some people disagree with abortion, I do not understand how someone could be against Planned Parenthood as an agency.
Beginning in 1921 as the American Birth Control League, Planned Parenthood began as an agency dedicated to helping women who had no control over their reproduction. Today, 98 percent of American women go on birth control at some point in their reproductive lives. This statistic makes it hard to consider birth control a controversial matter.
However, I recognize that Planned Parenthood’s role has changed. Today, Planned Parenthood provides reproductive healthcare to Americans on a sliding-scale fee and provides prenatal and maternal healthcare to new and expecting mothers. Additionally, Planned Parenthood advocates for comprehensive sexual education and affordable healthcare that includes reproductive and gynecological care.
Being against Planned Parenthood is opposing comprehensive healthcare, affordable healthcare, birth control, safe sex and reproductive choice. If you support birth control, you in some ways support Planned Parenthood and the work it has done.
Distributing free condoms should not be threatening. This is another way to inform people about safe sex and to allow them to make healthier decisions. We need to continue to educate people about safe sex and allow them to have affordable or free access to necessary healthcare.