Let’s not be irrational. It is dearly sad and devastating that Reaves’ lost her life in the process of attempting to gain it back. Tonya Reaves’ passed from heavy bleeding due to the surgical procedure of cervical dilation and evacuation on Friday, June 20. We may never know what exactly drove Reaves’ to the clinic that day, but for the hundreds of women who arrive in their offices daily it is clear that there is a desire to protect a woman’s life. Thankfully, this country still allows women the right to choose and Reaves’ chose as such. The hemorrhage death of the 24 year-old woman is unfortunate and we can only offer up prayers in her name.
People are trying to use Reaves’ deaths as a means to shut down Planned Parenthood altogether. Within the past year, the organization has faced major heat, not just from anti-abortion activists, but also in the direction of political pressure. Texas has waged war to cut Planned Parenthood out of funding, while Republican Representative Cliff Stearns of Florida is calling for a public hearing on Capitol Hill. Now people want to eliminate the organization entirely?
Let’s not forget how Planned Parenthood is among the premier public health organizations in this country that pushes to women to take control of their reproductive health. The organization, which began receiving federal funding in 1970, receives nearly $350 million in federal funds each year. That’s not to mention the millions of pro-life activists and supporters that Planned Parenthood has worldwide. More importantly, the organization grants access to women’s rights for those who might not be able to get it on their own. It gives hope back to many women. It’s not just a burial ground, as many may think. It’s a place for women to declare control over their own bodies and to be educated on how to stay safe in the future. This world has been a better place for thousands of women because of Planned Parenthood; the death of unborn children is sad, but the more and more that organizations like Planned Parenthood takes steps towards preaching prevention in addition to a woman’s rights to choose, the more that we can find balance in the daunting cycle that is abortion.
Should Planned Parenthood be forced to shut its doors? Of course not. But what Reaves’ deaths calls for is better medical regulation when it comes to the abortion process. Is there an emergency back-up plan for when things don’t go right or when the risks of the abortion outweigh the benefits? What happens in a situation when a doctor knows that the abortion might be dangerous (i.e. later in term) and a woman still chooses to end pregnancy? Can they advise? Are ERs or ambulances to an actual hospital on standby just in case? Are educated doctors servicing patients? These are questions that are important not to the destructive case against Planned Parenthood, but to the strengthening of it.