Time to look fairly at Planned Parenthood

The Planned Parenthood building on Auburn Avenue in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
The Planned Parenthood building on Auburn Avenue in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

‘The number of abortions performed in the U.S. is already steadily declining, in spite of the counterproductive efforts of conservative politicians. The number of abortions performed each year in America has fallen by a third since 1990, and Planned Parenthood, not the Republicans, deserves the lion’s share of the credit.’

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Reading the May 24 article “Judge puts defunding effort on hold” made my blood boil. I am no fan of abortion, but nowadays the follies of our Ohio Republicans have reached the point where I figure that anything which they are fervently against can’t be all bad. I know that facts play little part in this debate, but please allow me to state a few anyhow.

First of all, Planned Parenthood prevents infinitely more abortions than it conducts, by making contraception available to poor and uneducated women who never wanted to get pregnant in the first place. A study at a PP clinic in 2013 found that four out of five patients were there for contraception, not abortion (and PP provides other services, like breast cancer screening and STD treatment as well). So, defunding it is likely to have the effect of increasing, not decreasing, the number of abortions that take place.

Secondly, the number of abortions performed in the U.S. is already steadily declining, in spite of the counterproductive efforts of conservative politicians. The number of abortions performed each year in America has fallen by a third since 1990, and Planned Parenthood, not the Republicans, deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

And finally, while Ohio Right to Life accuses PP of “feeding at the trough of taxpayer dollars,” a study by the Guttmacher Institute found that every dollar spent on contraception saved the government $5.68 in Medicaid payments for unwanted pregnancies. In short, taxpayer money being allocated to PP is a wise investment—it ought to get more, not less.

The Supreme Court has ruled abortion to be legal, and Planned Parenthood has acted in accordance with every law on the matter. Even if PP were not the overwhelmingly positive and constructive organization that it is, the State of Ohio should not be punishing it for a completely subjective offense which violated nothing more than the personal opinions of certain lawmakers. That sort of behavior represents a much more serious threat to human rights than the hypothetical sin of abortion ever could. I object to the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ attitude which conservative lawmakers quickly adopted after the release of the supposedly scandalous video which turned out to be nothing but a hoax. And I am tired of the typical “create an imaginary problem, then pretend to fix it” tactic of Republicans.

What is happening here is that Planned Parenthood has taken the reasonable approach that abortions can be minimized, but not eradicated altogether, and has made a focused and efficient effort to make it so. Ohio Republicans, on the other hand, insist upon seeing this as a matter of good vs. evil, and there can be no compromise with evil. To them, this is a win-all or lose-all battle, and as a result their efforts have been shortsighted, counterproductive, harmful to the state and people of Ohio, and a complete failure. A classic case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

Perhaps it is time to defund Columbus. RON RODENBURG, CENTERVILLE