This image from Post Secret is exactly why we need Planned Parenthood.
Over the last several months, Planned Parenthood has been under even more intense attack than usual. Despite the fact that abortion accounts for only 3% of their services (36% of their services were for contraception, 31% for STI screening and treatment, 17% for cancer screening and prevention), the anti-choice folks are using the fact that the organization provides abortions services to justify cutting federal funding. They’ve also been accusing the organization of racist bias with claims that PP targets African-Americans. Fortunately, their New York billboard making this claim was taken down. And they conveniently ignore the fact that PP’s Title X funding can not be used to pay for abortion services.
The irony here (well, one of the ironies) is that Planned Parenthood reduces the demand for abortion by offering sex education, contraception and support. For example, in 2007, PP helped prevent approximately 621,000 unintended pregnancies, which means that there were 295,000 fewer abortions than there would have been. And as the Post Secret shown above amply demonstrates, quite often, the anti-choice folks simply don’t talk to their children about “down there” even though the best way to reduce unwanted pregnancies, STIs, sexual assault, and abortion is to talk with your kids about their bodies and give them accurate information.
I must admit that I have some compassion for these folks, if only because it’s a very human thing to try to fix a problem in a way that actually makes it worse. I’ve done it and I’m sure you have, too. But one of the hallmarks of wisdom is learning new and more effective ways to deal with our challenges, rather than falling into our habit of reinforcing the very situation we’re trying to change.
Making abortions harder to get doesn’t change the need for them– it just punishes folks who get them. And demonizing women who have abortions only creates a cognitive dissonance in which “those women” are doing something wrong, but “my abortion” is ok. If you want to end abortion, then advocate for safe, effective, and universally-available contraception. And until we have it, stop attacking women and their partners for taking control of their bodies and making the best decisions they can.
Planned Parenthood offers vital services that people need. Without them, things will get a lot harder for a lot of folks. They need your support, whether it’s financial, political, or by volunteering. Check out this page for information on how you can help.