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Planned Parenthood Should Remain Funded to Continue Providing Services

October 7, 2015

We can all agree that education is extremely important for any community.

Why then is the Republican-led Congress trying to defund Planned Parenthood which serves the first point of medical care and health education to large communities in America?

For most Americans, Planned Parenthood is the place to go for education on birth control and STD prevention and pap smears and screening for breast cancer, and yes, prenatal care.

Conservatives are fighting to defund Planned Parenthood because of videos that have surfaced which suggest the organization disposes post-abortion fetal tissue in questionable ways.

The recent hate rhetoric is simply muddying what is an otherwise essential aspect of any community whether it is an upscale Fresno neighborhood or an impoverished part of town.

Whether one is pro-choice or not, we must look beyond abortion and consider the services Planned Parenthood provides to millions of women, men and whole families throughout the U.S.

By its very nature, Planned Parenthood is here to educate and, yes, save lives by preventing diseases which would otherwise be undiagnosed. Here are some facts about Planned parenthood that many detractors choose to ignore.

The agency has been in service for 97 years, serving all demographics but largely serving communities with limited access to medical care. Seventy nine percent of those who use Planned Parenthood’s services have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. More than 84 percent of patients are at least older than 20 years old.

Forty-two percent of the services offered by Planned Parenthood is for treatment and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, according to a Washington Post report.

Thirty-four percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are for contraception; 9 percent of services is devoted to cancer screening or protection.

Eleven percent of efforts by the agency is used for other women’s health services, and 1 percent is used for other types of services.

Only 3 percent of the services offered by Planned Parenthood are abortion services which, as has been confirmed over and over, are not funded by federal dollars.

It is a new low in our political discourse when a few strong voices threaten to defund an agency that serves so many with little to no voice or power. Planned Parenthood serves an average of 2.7 million women and men in its 700 clinics each day.

An attack against Planned Parenthood is just an extension of the war against the under privileged who do not have access to more healthcare options.

Have these people considered what would happen if Planned Parenthood loses its ability to provide the services it currently does?

One in five women in the country uses Planned Parenthood’s services, a significant chunk of the female population might be left with inadequate resources for treatment for preventable diseases.

A review of what happened in Texas after the state defunded Planned Parenthood might provide a clue about possible consequences.

According to a Texas Health and Human Services Commission study, there was an average 25 percent drop statewide, with two of 11 HHSC regions reporting more than 50 percent drops.

Additionally, some Texas patients had trouble finding alternate sources of family planning because other providers in their area had limited or no experience in providing specialized family planning services.

Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said defunding the organization would cut off “patients who rely on publicly funded programs for health care, and millions of people would struggle to access quality reproductive health care — period.”

Is that what we need in our society?

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