While sitting in an examination room for a regular check-up, Courtney Naquin spotted anti-abortion rights stickers covering her hometown doctor’s laptop, making her feel uneasy when she should feel the most comfortable.
“I’m an 18-year-old girl in my hometown,” said Naquin, a sustainability studies junior. “If I have to talk about my sex life to this extremely pro-life, right-wing, Catholic doctor, I’m going to feel so uncomfortable.”
Last Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie within the U.S. Senate to pass a bill which would allow states to defund Planned Parenthood, a service Naquin has used for years.
Naquin said she has used Planned Parenthood since she was 18, because it was the only place which would accept her insurance for services such as an intrauterine (IUD) device, which provides birth control.
Naquin is from the conservative, middle-class city of Orange, Texas, which she said has limited women’s health services. In Naquin’s own backyard, a federal judge in February blocked Texas lawmakers’ attempts to defund Planned Parenthood from the state’s medicaid program.
The bill has yet to be signed by President Donald Trump, and it would reverse the former administration’s regulations requiring state and local governments distribute funding among women’s health providers, regardless if they offer abortions.
In a Washington Post op-ed, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who authored the bill, said abortion services are amoral and a waste of taxpayer money.
“Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the abortion industry in this country,” Ernst said. “Nor should they be forced to foot the bill for an organization like Planned Parenthood that has displayed such blatant disregard for human life.”
Physics sophomore Vanessa Jimenez said she believes a mother should give birth to a baby instead of terminating a life, although she sympathizes with women who may need an abortion as a result of rape.
“(Abortion after the first trimester) is cruel,” Jimenez said. “It’s cruel what they do to the fetus. I think there should be some restriction on abortion.”
Beside its access to abortion, Naquin said she appreciates Planned Parenthood for being an accepting and professional environment where she can discuss intimate details concerning her health.
“It’s so important, especially because of the culture Planned Parenthood cultivates,” Naquin said. “They’re very nonjudgemental. I don’t have to feel nervous about anything that I have to say because they’ve seen it all.”
Naquin also said her friends have received breast cancer screenings from the provider. Lawmakers attempting to defund Planned Parenthood do not realize how beneficial its services are for women like her with limited resources, Naquin said.
“I think (the bill is) a tragedy for women around the U.S.,” Naquin said. “I don’t think the people who pushed the law forward ... understand how far this would hit a
lot of people.”