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Editorial: Planned Parenthood does a lot of good to prevent abortion (Daily Tribune)

Published April 21, 2012 by Daily Tribune > Opinion > Our Say.

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Published: 04.21.12| Updated: 04.24.12

OK, so abortion is controversial. But contraception is not that controversial, not after 50 years of The Pill.It’s easy, among other things, to see that without easy access to contraception, the rate of abortion would be higher, and that a pregnancy prevented won’t become a pregnancy terminated.

The folks protesting abortions at Planned Parenthood’s new center in Ferndale are making their point, as they have a right to do. The agency provides four locations in southeastern Michigan for abortion services. None are in Oakland County.

In other words, the new center doesn’t offer abortions. It has no plans to do so.

Planned Parenthood saw 68,600 patients last year at its 16 centers in central and southern Michigan. It conducted 58,100 tests for sexually transmitted diseases, nearly 22,800 pregnancy tests, 17,400 breast exams and 14,600 pap tests. Those are among the services which will be provided at the Ferndale center, as they are at its Warren center.

They fit the nonprofit’s mission: Provide reproductive health care on a sliding fee scale for men and women, as well as education and advocacy. The mission statement adds: “We believe each person should be free to decide when and whether to be a parent so that every child is wanted and loved.”

It’s hard to find fault with that part of its mission unless you’re just flat-out opposed to contraception.

It’s true that the Ferndale center will refer women seeking an abortion to another center. But we think it’s possible to separate the clear good the agency does from the alleged “evil” it does, and to recognize that the contraceptive services indeed reduce the need for abortion services.

Planned Parenthood has carefully separated its abortion services from all others, in response to federal laws prohibiting any government funding for abortions.

The president and CEO of the agency, Lori Lamerand, referred to the ratio of abortion to nonabortion services:

“Ninety-seven percent of what we do is to prevent the other 3 percent of what we do.”

Ferndale city officials and County Commissioner Craig Covey, a Ferndale Democrat, have welcomed Planned Parenthood into the city. We join them.

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