Planned Parenthood made its name by helping people plan parenthood, promoting access to contraception and providing general reproductive health care. Fewer than one in ten clients comes for abortions, and less than 30% of 860 Planned Parenthood clinics in the U.S. actually provide abortions. In fact Planned Parenthood argues that it prevents nearly 300,000 abortions a year by helping prevent unintended pregnancies. But the fireworks of the culture wars have meant that the organization has become the face of abortion in America, and that brings a literal as well as political cost.
For fifteen years, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri clinics in Joplin and Springfield have offered free breast and cervical cancer screenings as part of the state’s “Show Me Healthy Women” program. Now Governor Matt Blunt has announced that he will cut off all program funding to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to other health clinics. “Patients should not have to go to an abortion clinic to access life-saving tests,” Blunt declared. Refusing to fund cancer screening at the clinics, he said, “ensures women may access important preventative care without contributing to abortion providers’ goal of facilitating the destruction of innocent life.”
Except the clinics he cut funding to don’t even provide abortions. And even if they did, patients don’t “have” to go to abortion clinics to access these tests — they just have the option to go to Planned Parenthood, which may be closer to where they live, easier for them to access, and more affordable than a private doctor.
But because Planned Parenthood offers abortions at fewer than one-third of its facilities, and because the organization refuses to back down in supporting women’s rights, Governor Blunt is stripping women of greater access to cancer detection. Yet again, “pro-lifers” prove that their commitment to life ends at birth, and does not apply to women.
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- The Real Estate of Abortion by Jill September 26, 2007