You are freaked out because the media has taught us to associate Planned Parenthood with the words “abortion clinic.” The reality is of all of the Planned Parenthood services in a year, only 3% are abortions. An estimated 579,000 unplanned (read:unwanted and very likely to be terminated) pregnancies are prevented a year from Planned Parenthood alone. They annually perform 270,000 Pap tests, 360,000 breast exams, and 4.2 million tests and treatments for STIs, including more than 650,000 HIV tests. They also conduct outreach to young adults and teenagers, reaching an estimated 1.5 billion annually, who might not have a responsible, knowledgeable person helping them make sound choices concerning reproductive health. They also provide counseling in those situations when a young women or man is having a reproductive health crisis, something you are not likely to receive from a health department clinic.
Health department clinics are often the only health services that some citizens can afford. 75% of patients who visit health department clinics have no access to other primary care. This means that these clinics have to have services ranging across the entire spectrum for what a low income patient may need. This is everything from dental to mental health.
Planned Parenthood specializes in reproductive health, which we in Protestant America don’t like to think about. Sex is “dirty” and not something to be talked about by us decent folk. The statistics are alarming. 1 in 4 teens will contract an STD (read more shocking news here: http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/statistics/). We need to stop lying to ourselves. Teens and young adults have sex. They aren’t waiting. No matter how much we stand in front of classrooms and tell them “True love waits,” they aren’t always going to. We need these services. If you tell your children to not have sex they’re not going to come to you to ask questions and they’re not going to come to you for condoms.
If all Planned Parenthood centers were to close their doors (and they just might, thanks, Donny) Community Health centers would not be able to take on the vacuum of need left by them. CHCs operate on modest budgets and in fact they are only located in places where there are few other health providers, by federal law.
Concerning that 3% you’re so afraid of: An approximate 50% of abortions in the world are performed in unsafe environments. When abortion is illegal (like it’s about to be here in America) the statics of unsafe abortion rise quickly. Unsafe abortions cause the death of not just a baby, but a mom as well. Banning abortion doesn’t make abortion go away. People don’t stop trying to terminate pregnancies because they cannot legally do so. Just like drugs, murder, and other nefarious acts, making it illegal doesn’t prevent it. Banning abortion makes it more dangerous.
Tl; DR Planned Parenthood centers are not abortion mills, no matter what your pastor told you. They save more lives than they will ever take. Contraception and reproductive health services prevent abortion.
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