Although Benjamin Clapper (director of Louisiana Right to Life) succeeded in making sensationalist claims in his May 7 letter to the editor, he failed to disprove that Planned Parenthood is good for women, good for families and good for New Orleans,
So, let’s address his arguments:
The thesis of his letter seems to be that Planned Parenthood encourages women to have abortions in order to make a profit. Unfortunately, all of the evidence proves this is not the case.
First, Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization. Its sole mission is to provide health care, and all of its revenue is invested toward this goal. Thus, contrary to Clapper’s claim, Planned Parenthood does not, in fact, have a secret motive of amassing personal wealth through abortion services.
Second, Planned Parenthood’s services reduce abortion rates over time by combating unwanted pregnancy. As Clapper mentioned, 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients receive sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, cancer screening and prevention, contraception and other women’s health services. These services not only save lives, but also reduce unwanted pregnancies and thus, the need for abortion.
Third, women who want to have an abortion will do so with or without a safe, legal provider. Multiple studies have shown that abortion rates are actually higher in countries where abortion is illegal. In these “pro-life” countries, women do not have access to organizations like Planned Parenthood to provide them with safe reproductive health care, so, in desperation, they turn to black-market providers.
The result? At least 47,000 women die every year in “pro-life” countries from unsafe abortion services.
Clapper goes on to argue that New Orleans women do not need Planned Parenthood because they already have access to plenty of other health-care providers. In our view, New Orleans’ atrocious health care, teen pregnancy and STD rates tell a different story.
In conclusion, Clapper declares that Planned Parenthood facilitates “the sexual exploitation of women and sex trafficking of minors.” We regret to inform Clapper that this, too, is untrue. Of the 17 countries with the worst human trafficking records, according to the State Department, 15 are (you guessed it) “pro-life” countries where abortion is largely illegal and women’s health services are restricted.
We agree with Clapper that New Orleans faces many problems, but the fact is that Planned Parenthood saves lives through cancer and STD services and reduces crime and poverty by allowing women to choose when and whether to have children. If Clapper wants to live in a country where abortion is illegal and health-care providers like Planned Parenthood do not exist, we hear Iran is accepting visa applications.
student manager, NOLA Needs Women’s Health