4 Vital Services Planned Parenthood Provides That Have Nothing To Do With Abortion
In an a monumental attempt to cut off women's access to reproductive healthcare, Republicans in the Senate will push a vote Monday on a bill to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood, according to Politico. The move comes after anti-abortion groups released four sensational "undercover" videos that claimed to show that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of fetal tissues that it gets from abortions. The videos themselves don't prove any illegal activity, and Planned Parenthood has denied all of the claims. The truly unfortunate thing about this ban is that it's targeting Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions, while completely ignoring all of the other services it provides to women at an affordable cost. Planned Parenthood provides services other than abortion, and, for many women, Planned Parenthood is the only place where they can access reproductive healthcare.
What many Republicans don't seem to understand is that Planned Parenthood mostly provides preventive care. That means services to prevent and screen for certain types of gynecological cancers, services to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and — ironically enough — services to prevent unwanted pregnancies and thus reduce the number of abortions. In 2012, Planned Parenthood estimates that it helped prevent 515,000 unwanted pregnancies through preventive care. Another important thing to remember is to whom Planned Parenthood is providing care. According to the organization's records, 79 percent of its clients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Here are four services that Planned Parenthood provides way more often than it provides abortions.
Preventive Cancer Care
In 2012, Planned Parenthood provided cancer screen and prevention services to 1.1 million people. Preventive cancer services include breast exams and pap tests — which make up the majority of prevent cancer care that Planned Parenthood provides — HPV vaccinations, colposcopy tests, and cryotherapy procedures.
Contraception For Both Men & Women
Contraception makes up the bulk of Planned Parenthood's services. In 2012, the organization provided contraceptive services to 3.7 million people. It's important to note that Planned Parenthood, unlike a number of other doctor's offices, is open on weekends and often holds walk-in hours everyday.
STI & STD Testing & Treatment
By far, Planned Parenthood provides most of its services in the form of STI and STD testing. In 2012, the organization provided 3.7 million STI and STD tests. The total number of STI- and STD-related services Planned Parenthood provided in 2012 came to 4.5 million.
Pregnancy Tests & Prenatal Services
This is the fourth most common services Planned Parenthood provides. In 2012, it provided 1.1 million pregnancy testing services and almost 20,000 prenatal services. Further, the organization provides other family planning services for low-income women and infants, such as nutrition programs, pediatric care, and immunizations.
Of the total 10,933,675 services that Planned Parenthood provided in 2012, about 2.9 percent were abortion services. Defunding the organization wouldn't defund abortion, since people can get abortions at other places around the country. Rather, it would prevent low-income families from preventing unwanted pregnancies, it would prevent people from maintaining regular STI and STD testing, and it would cut access to prenatal services for poor women and infants across the U.S.
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