Ambarie Stacey Schief, a 24-year-old from Pittsburgh, has a message for those who want to defund Planned Parenthood.
The picture, she explained in a recent Facebook post, is from nearly two years ago, when she underwent surgery to remove part of her cervix so she didn't get cancer.
"At the age of 23, I had surgery to remove part of my cervix to avoid my abnormal cells becoming cancerous. The middle finger I proudly hold high here was a preemptive "fuck you' to any and all who want to make it damn near impossible for someone such as myself, without insurance, to find out that I needed such a surgery and then make it possible for me to get that very important surgery. Without Planned Parenthood, I don't even know where I would be now. I thank them, and thank everyone who supports and believes in them. Thank you."
Since sharing the image on Sept. 18, her post has racked up nearly 30,000 likes and more than 15,000 shares on Facebook.
Surgeries like the one Schief had are among the services Planned Parenthood provides more than 5 million women, men and children each year. In fact, about 97 percent of Planned Parenthood's services consist of primary and preventative care, according to the nonprofit website Politifact. That includes birth control, sexual-transmitted disease screenings, annual exams, and cancer screenings, such as mammograms and pap smears.
Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates, however, have amped up their negative rhetoric around Planned Parenthood, with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voting last week to strip the organization of federal funding for a year unless it stopped providing abortions in all but a very limited number of circumstances.
But federal funds don't actually go toward abortions, unless in cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger. The money is instead earmarked for women's health programs, which would be jeopardy if the government axed funding for the organization.
The Senate on Thursday stopped the Republican-led effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
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