Editors Note:  I realize that this is a controversial and touchy subject for some.  I ask that you read this with an open mind, and that if you feel the need to comment, comments are thoughtful, backed by truth and facts, and not accusatory.

I’m saddened by the recent news that, under the new GOP spending plan, $327 million would be cut from Title X.

To those of you that read news snippets, this proposal to cut federal funding for Title X is aimed at Planned Parenthood of America.

Title X, in short, is a government program that provides family planning services.  Priority for services such as contraception, supplies, and information is given to low income families.  Planned Parenthood is not the only place that receives benefits from Title X.

I know many people already know this, but I feel as if this fact gets lost whenever family planning and Planned Parenthood come to the forefront of debate:  people use Planned Parenthood for services other than abortion. Each year 3 million Americans rely on Planned Parenthood for health care.  Yes, health care.  Planned Parenthood spends 90 percent of its budget on preventive care and education, performing over one million cervical cancer screenings and 830,000 breast exams annually.  Nearly 2.5 million Americans receive contraception from Planned Parenthood, and 4 million are tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections at clinics.

In fact, I used it myself when I moved down to Washington, DC as a cheaper alternative for preventative screening and birth control.  And I’m not ashamed to say that.  No woman should be ashamed of the fact that she needs to take care of herself, and those with lower incomes or no health insurance should have safe options to do so.  Just like the rest of us.

Conservatives are looking to use the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortion services to strip them of all federal funding.  I’m not about to go out on a limb and say that every organization is perfect,nor am I about to say whether or not I agree with abortion, but cutting all funding based on one service provided is disheartening to me and dangerous for women and their families that rely on the millions of other services offered.

I remember during one visit for an annual check up at Planned Parenthood in the Silver Spring area of DC, I had to be escorted into the building because of protesters outside.  As I sat in the office looking at the other women there with me, I became very angry about this.  Since when is it a crime to take care of yourself?  I had half a mind to go outside and talk to the people out there, to let them know that just because I was sitting in this office did not mean I was looking into abortion options. I was simply taking care of myself.  I can’t speak for the other women there, but let’s remember that Planned Parenthood provides cancer screening, HIV testing, and other forms of preventative care that are a MUST for women of every age-not a luxury.

Title X was a huge step forward for women and men all over the country.  Before we go about cutting funding to places like Planned Parenthood and other safe clinics around the country, I hope that as a nation we can remember that, for those less fortunate, Planned Parenthood may be the only option they have to take care of themselves.  Lower income women and families are already struggling to be able to find affordable health care options given our current economy, and I feel like this just puts the knife in the coffin when it comes to the health care debate.