Dick Scaife: Republicans wrong on Planned Parenthood
An editorial by the chairman of Trib Total Media, Dick Scaife. Original article can be found at: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/opinion/s_724838.html and was first released on Trib Live on February 27, 2011.
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives -- urged on by conservatives opposed to abortion -- has voted to defund Planned Parenthood. On this issue, Republicans and conservatives are dead wrong.
My grandmother was a friend and a supporter of Margaret Sanger, one of America's earliest, most effective advocates of birth control.
I met Sanger several times before her death in 1966 and was impressed by her intellect and her commitment to many issues, not the least of which was enabling every woman to be "the absolute mistress of her own body," as she put it.
I didn't agree with everything the formidable Mrs. Sanger espoused. Yet I respected her dedication to making health-care and birth-control services available to all Americans, especially to those with low incomes, no insurance and no other recourse to medical services.
And I admired her fearless, relentless readiness to stand up for what she believed, despite decades of angry, mean-spirited, often hypocritical attacks on her ideas and her character.
So I am aggravated by the continuing attacks on Sanger and her primary legacy, the Planned Parenthood network that still serves so many Americans today.
Now the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives -- urged on by conservatives opposed to abortion -- has voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
On this issue, Republicans and conservatives are dead wrong.
Abortions are a minor aspect of Planned Parenthood's mission to provide reproductive health care, education and other services to Americans, regardless of income.
More than 90 percent of its work focuses on preventing unintended pregnancies that almost inevitably lead to unwanted, neglected and abused children.
In Pittsburgh and across America, Planned Parenthood offices help people to make better decisions about whether to have children. They help to arrange adoptions for women or couples unable to raise a child but unwilling to end a pregnancy.
Most of their clients are poor Americans who cannot afford birth-control measures that cost as much as $1,500 a month.
Of the 10,000 to 12,000 people who use local Planned Parenthood services, about 20 percent are teenagers, half are ages 20 to 30 and the rest older than 30.
Of course, no one wants teenagers to get pregnant. Yet far too many do -- and they need reliable, honest advice about what to do next. For many of them, Planned Parenthood is the only reliable source of that advice. For many others, Planned Parenthood is the only safe, reliable source of counseling to avoid getting pregnant in the first place.
If not for Margaret Sanger's vision and bravery, many poor Americans would have no place to turn for birth-control measures and counseling or for other health-care services.
To take that away makes no sense.
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Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania
January 30, 2014