Women have healthcare options other than Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has recently been working overtime to make low-income, uninsured women believe that they need their services and that any attempt to criticize this organization is part of a “war on women.”

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the leading reproductive health and policy research institute in the United States, there are 1,212,400 abortions in the United States each year. Planned Parenthood’s internal reports state that the organization performed 329,445 of these abortions in the year 2010.

Considering their responsibility for performing 27.17% of all abortions in 2012, Planned Parenthood deliberately chooses to downplay the role abortion plays in their business, desperate to rebrand themselves as a noncontroversial women’s health organization dedicated to fighting for women’s welfare and rights that everyone should support, regardless of their position on abortion.

For instance, whenever Planned Parenthood advertises in our student newspaper, they never advertise the abortion services that they provide, even though they are one of the few abortion providers in Alaska. They choose to highlight the affordable contraception, Pap smears, and STI testing and treatments they offer to low-income people are uninsured or on Medicaid.

While Planned Parenthood does help many people with these services, the fact remains that they do not supply nearly as many essential health services as the average person on the street might think. For instance, Planned Parenthood makes it clear on their website that they do not provide mammograms and instead merely refer clients to other health care providers.

Furthermore, Planned Parenthood is not the only organization in our community to provide these affordable services to those who could not otherwise afford them. The Anchorage Community Health Center website advertises mammogram, Pap smear, contraception, HPV screening and immunization, STI screening and treatment, a prenatal program, and HIV/AIDS services to low income, uninsured persons.

The Providence Family Medicine Center website advertises both general and maternity care on a sliding fee scale in an effort to make quality healthcare available to everyone.

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University of Alaska Anchorage students can get affordable contraception, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, and immunizations from the UAA Student Health Center. According to the University of Alaska Fairbanks website, the same services are provided to UAF students free of charge or for a nominal fee at their Student Health Center. Similarly, the University of Alaska Southeast website states their Student Health Center strives to make those aforementioned services available to students for free or for a nominal fee through their partnerships with other community health centers.

According to the website of the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Centers managed and founded by the Alaska DHHS exist in most communities with at least several thousand residents. According to the Alaska DHHS website, these centers provide affordable contraception, STI treatment and screening, prenatal monitoring and health education to low-income Alaskans who are uninsured or on Medicaid. In addition, there are OB-GYNs in private practices that provide services to Medicaid as well as uninsured patients, especially through the Alaska Breast and Cervical Health Check.

Indeed, almost all of these organizations provide all of the services that Planned Parenthood provides-with the sole exception of abortion.

No woman needs Planned Parenthood to have a healthy life, but Planned Parenthood’s very survival depends on her belief that she does. She can get affordable contraception, well woman care, cancer screening, prenatal care and STI treatment from other community health care centers.

Planned Parenthood won’t even provide her a mammogram, and in Alaska, no Planned Parenthood center will even provide her prenatal care. Instead, they will refer her to another health care provider.

The one thing that they will offer her that almost no other organization will is abortion — a procedure that leaves a child dead and a mother wounded. No woman needs this.

She needs love, community support, and life-affirming healthcare, which is already provided by the Anchorage Community Health Center, Providence Family Medicine Center, DHHS Public Health Centers, Student Health Centers, crisis pregnancy centers, Catholic Social Services and many different OB-GYNs throughout Alaska.

She does not need to have her unborn child sucked out of her womb with a vacuum. She does not need to be given RU-486, also known as Mifepristone, an abortion pill offered by Planned Parenthood that induces a lengthy and painful miscarriage.

She needs affordable healthcare that protects not only her life, but the life of the unborn child inside of her.

While Planned Parenthood may protect her health, they terminate the lives of 329,445 unborn children each year.  With that in mind, why do our public tax dollars continue to go to this organization? Why not take the public money that Planned Parenthood receives and give them to organizations like the Anchorage Community Health Center instead?