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Friday, January 15, 2021

Columns

Legislators miss complete picture of Planned Parenthood


Although it’s not new, the topic of Planned Parenthood and abortion remains a point of contention between pro-choice and pro-life Americans.

What many people forget is that this health-related nonprofit does more for a community than provide abortions, something that one county in Indiana learned the hard way.

In 2011, the House of Representatives passed Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, resulting in the closure of Scott County, Indiana’s sole location that provided HIV testing and raised the risk of an outbreak among the community.

While Indiana law makes it illegal to own a syringe without a prescription, drug abusers were able to receive clean needles from Planned Parenthood, which lowered the possibility of an HIV epidemic.

However, due to Pence’s moral obligation rather than his common sense, Scott County saw a rapid increase of HIV among intravenous drug users.

It’s a classic case of making a decision with good intentions only for it to backfire.

This is not an endorsement of drug abuse. Still, it is an issue that can’t be fixed by taking away the one resource needed to contain its consequences.

The refusal to believe that Planned Parenthood is good for anything other than abortions is reckless and will lead to further health concerns in low-income communities.

For those who are unable to afford insurance, Planned Parenthood has shed a light in those forgotten households, especially for young women struggling with unplanned pregnancies and no means to ensure the health of their fetus’ and themselves.

Besides abortions, Planned Parenthood provides free birth control, cancer screenings related to sexual health, STI screenings and maternity care. Only 3 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood offered were abortion-related.

To demonize Planned Parenthood is to discredit all the benefits it brings to a community.

If all Planned Parenthood facilities were defunded, what happened in Scott County could easily occur on a national scale. Not only will there be a spike in HIV cases, but the fight to make abortion illegal would be moot as pregnant young women will not have access to affordable care for their unborn children.

Whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, Christian, Catholic or atheist, the ramifications of defunding Planned Parenthood bears much more thought than it is obviously being given.

Senior staff columnist Caprice Carter is a communication junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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