Monday, December 15, 2008

This time, it's personal

Until I started working at Urban Tulsa and had actual health insurance, I was a client at Planned Parenthood for years. Years and years. I had all of my annual exams there and picked up my birth control there. The first year I went to Planned Parenthood, my exams and birth control were all free because of my low income and student status. In three years, my exams went up to $90 each and my birth control cost me $30 a month. My income stayed the same.

The prices went up because the state and federal governments started messing with PP's funding, making it more expensive for the low-income families who need the agency's services to afford them. I was extremely lucky I could afford $30 a month for birth control and $90 once a year for an exam to ensure my health. Many of the women who need PP's services the most cannot afford them now. And while I think PP Tulsa recently received a grant that enabled it to lower its costs, what anti-choice activists are proposing is a travesty to women's health.

Abortion-related services make up only three percent of the services Planned Parenthood offers to low-income women and families. Three percent. The majority of the services PP offers come in the form of providing contraception, STD testing and pre-natal services. For anti-choice activists to wage war on low-income women in the name of politics is disgusting and despicable. Without an agency like Planned Parenthood, there would likely countless more unwanted pregnancies resulting in countless more unwanted abortions. I have yet to hear of any Christian agency offering these same types of services to women and families.

Seriously. It just infuriates me. It makes me sick.



DECEMBER 11, 2008

Abortion Foes Open a New Front

Abortion opponents are pressing state and local governments to stop sending
taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, arguing that the nonprofit group has
plenty of cash and shouldn't be granted scarce public funds at a time of
economic crisis.

Planned Parenthood receives about $335 million a year -- a third of its
budget -- from government grants and contracts to subsidize contraception,
sex education and non-abortion-related health care for poor women and

The group is also the nation's largest abortion provider, and critics have
long argued that the public funds indirectly subsidize abortions by keeping
hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics afloat.

But the new lobbying effort, backed by conservative Christian groups such as
the Family Research Council, focuses more on economic than moral concerns.
The campaign paints Planned Parenthood as a wealthy organization that
doesn't need taxpayer help. Planned Parenthood reported record revenue and a
$115 million budget surplus last year, and it is building a network of
elegant health centers to attract middle-class clients.

"The money needs to go to local organizations that actually need it and
don't have the backing of a multimillion-dollar organization," says Scott
Tibbs, an antiabortion activist in Bloomington, Ind.

Planned Parenthood responds that its health-care services fill a critical
need, especially now, when so many people are losing their jobs -- and their
health insurance.

A new effort by abortion opponents to pressure Planned Parenthood relies on
lobbying based on economic concerns, rather than demonstrations.
Past reductions in government funding have forced local chapters to close
clinics, raise fees and cut back on subsidized contraception, which Planned
Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, described as "a lifeline for
millions of people."

In recent weeks, Planned Parenthood chapters have lost public funds in two
states as elected officials juggled tight budgets.

Fulton County, Ga., which includes Atlanta, canceled a $420,000 contract as
part of statewide cuts in health care.

Sarasota County, Fla., ended years of subsidizing Planned Parenthood's
sex-education programs with annual grants of as much as $30,000.

"It had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood's mission," said Paul Mercier,
who recently retired as a county commissioner. "It had everything to do with
them not needing the funding."

The Family Research Council is developing a kit to help grass-roots
activists dig through financial reports so they can make detailed
presentations to elected officials about the assets and revenue of local
Planned Parenthood chapters. The council has sent letters to 1,200 state
legislators describing Planned Parenthood's strong financial position and
urging "a second look" at public funding.

With a Democratic president soon to take office, "we're very limited as to
what we can do" on a federal level, said Thomas McClusky, vice president for
government affairs at the Family Research Council. "But on the local level,
there are a lot of victories to be had." The group has been courting elected
officials who they think would be receptive in states including Indiana,
Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky.

Regional executives of Planned Parenthood say the campaign misleads
legislators about the state of the nonprofit's finances. The chapter in
Sarasota, for instance, is wrapping up a $12 million fund-raising drive to
build a new flagship building and three clinics.

"Our audits look pretty fat and they've used that against us," said Barbara
Zdravecky, chief executive of the chapter, which covers southwest and
central Florida. But operating revenue is down, Ms. Zdravecky said, and the
chapter is running at a deficit.

She and others argue that cutting Planned Parenthood funding is
short-sighted and will cost taxpayers more in the long run if low-income
women can't get services such as birth control or cancer screenings.

That argument has succeeded in some places. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who has
said he opposes abortion but doesn't want to ban it, has vowed to hold firm
against cutting Planned Parenthood's funds.

Write to Stephanie Simon at


Shelly Collins said...

Yes, I do think its unfortunate that few Christian agencies (I'd like to do more research on this one) don't offer bc services. Probably because they preach abstinence. I know a handful of girls raised in Christian families, in church, that have had babies.

cyclefreaks said...

I went to PP for YEARS... even after we moved to Stillwater. It wasn't until they denied me my birth control because of my cholesterol and um...advancing age... that I started getting it at the student health center on campus.

I don't understand why people still think they don't provide an important service.


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