opinion   |   oped

EDITORIAL: Planned Parenthood needs federal support



Two new Planned Parenthood locations will be opening up in West Texas within the next year thanks to an unnamed donor who has promised $9 million to the cause. 

This donation will be extremely beneficial to the area because West Texas has had no Planned Parenthood locations since 2013, when a law placing tough restrictions on groups that provide abortion services was passed.

But while the positive effect this donation will have cannot be understated, the Editorial Board is unenthused by the federal health funding vacuum that caused this donation to be necessary in the first place. 

The federal government needs to increase funding for women's health services such as those provided by Planned Parenthood, especially in states such as Texas with high STD rates. 

Texas ranks 16th in the nation for per capita primary and secondary syphilis rates and 13th for chlamydia infections.

The law that restricted abortion services was eventually struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, but by that point it was too late, and all of the Planned Parenthood locations in the area did not reopen after being closed.

Even before this law, Planned Parenthood was removed from Texas’ Women's Health Program in 2011, despite the fact that Planned Parenthood offers other vital women’s health services besides abortion, including preventative care, contraception, testing for sexually transmitted diseases

Without Planned Parenthood, many women in west Texas may easily find themselves without access to any of these important health services.

It is not only Texas that suffers from these problems of inaccessible reproductive health care.

It is just as bad here in Indiana. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research recently announced Indiana scored a D+ in the reproductive rights category in the Employment and Earnings Index and Poverty and Opportunity Index.

This ranking was determined using criteria such as the percentage of women living in counties with access to abortion providers, the state’s pro-choice legislature and infant mortality rates.

In addition to this ranking, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb recently signed Senate Bill 340.  This law mandates various informational reports to be sent to the state government, including extensive information about the patients and their health. 

Critics argue this bill further stigmatizes abortion care, especially if someone seeking an abortion has a mental illness.

Christie Gillespie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, recently said this law creates unnecessary restrictions for abortion providers.

Indiana has been fighting a long battle in terms of Planned Parenthood and abortion access, especially with our extremely pro-life legislature and lawmakers.

The reason many of the centers closed in the first place was because lawmakers do not believe any abortion providers should be funded publicly. 

Women’s health, and in general the basic needs of people, cannot rely on the generosity of donors.  

Relying on public donations is not reliable, especially when West Texas has gone years without any Planned Parenthood locations and is just finally receiving two in 2018.

This comes down to the fact that the government should be funding Planned Parenthood. 

It may go against lawmakers' beliefs about abortion, but this is a belief they should be willing to sacrifice in the larger goal of providing women with the health care and services they need.

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