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Point-counterpoint: Don't Defund Planned Parenthood

Editor's note: The CRCNA is resolutely pro-life, which includes opposing the practice of abortion. Every year we mark Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and abortion is one of the issues that the Office of Social Justice (OSJ) monitors. At the OSJ, we are hearing both arguments for and against defunding Planned Parenthood recently. Pro-life people are not in agreement over whether defunding it is the answer. Will defunding this organization actually reduce abortions? So we are hosting a point-counterpoint set of articles--one CRC member writing for defunding the organization, and another writing against defunding it. Today, Stacy Steen argues the "con" side, following Rose Schulenberg's pro-defunding post on Monday. Stay tuned as well for our "What being pro-life means to me" series, starting September 21 or see this recent post from Shannon Jammal-Hollemans.  

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive care for millions of Americans who cannot get care anywhere else in their community. If Planned Parenthood was shut down tomorrow you would be denying access to breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV screening and counseling, sexually transmitted disease detection and treatment, contraception, and family planning to our underserved sisters and brothers in our community. In my almost 30 years as a family doctor I have had many patients who could only afford to get birth control and their cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood because of their limited insurance coverage through their full time job.  In addition, many doctor's offices have closed their doors to Medicaid insurance and Planned Parenthood provides the majority of health care to patients with Medicaid insurance in their community. In my experience, Planned Parenthood is true to their motto: "Care. No Matter What." 

The recurring outcries to close down Planned Parenthood usually focus on their services of abortions which are only 3% of the services that they provideSome would debate the 3% number, but it is certainly not more than 10% of their service to the community if you use the higher numbers calculated by some opponents to Planned Parenthood. In addition, Planned Parenthood is prohibited from using federal funding for abortion services. If funding was stopped we would be de-funding preventative health care and contraception to the poor in our communities.

Once again Planned Parenthood is in the crosshairs of another attack.  The recent allegations playing on the Internet are outrageous and should be considered with suspicion. The Internet should not be our source of truth since these conversations may be manipulated, photographs doctored, and false statements made. Five states have already investigated the accusations in the videos and have found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, the group behind this campaign, The Center for Medical Progress, has already admitted to using false and misleading information in these videos. The women and men working at Planned Parenthood are dedicated to the health care of the most needy people in our communities and should be treated with respect and trust.

Access to contraception has been the greatest service that Planned Parenthood has provided to women for decades. Contraception not only allows women to plan their family, but also to plan their education and careers. Contraception prevents unplanned pregnancies, therefore reducing poverty. Contraception prevents abortions. In Walsenburg, Colorado free long term contraception was offered to teenagers and women who couldn't afford birth control. The birthrate among teenagers in that community fell 40% and the abortion rate fell by 42% from 2009 to 2013 when the Colorado Family Planning Initiative was in effect. As a pro-life Christian, that story encourages me and points to a way forward to a future in which the sanctity of life of both women and fetuses is protected.

Planned Parenthood works diligently to remove barriers of cost, access, and stigma associated with birth control to make contraception available to all women regardless of race, religion, social status, or financial resources. Closing Planned Parenthood's doors would prevent access to preventative care and contraceptive care for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

See Rose Schulenberg's agrument for defunding Planned Parenthood from Monday. 

[Image: Flickr user Kenny Louie]

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