From the Daily: Planned attacks

BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Published February 7, 2012

Last week, amid public outcry, the breast cancer foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure reversed its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. The foundation’s initial decision to pull funding elicited much opposition and reignited the political debate over abortion. While it’s good that Komen ultimately reversed its decision, this was only one in a series of attacks on Planned Parenthood. Conservative groups need to stop making Planned Parenthood the face of abortion and attacking its programs, many of which provide essential health-related services to women.

Komen announced its plans to cut funding for Planned Parenthood on Jan. 31, citing a policy that forbids donations to groups under investigation. The decision elicited public opposition and was criticized for being politically motivated. In the aftermath of the announcement, Planned Parenthood received an outpouring of support via social media outlets and it raised more than $3 million. Caving to public pressure, Komen reversed its decision on Feb. 3 and apologized to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is unfairly targeted by anti-abortion groups. Only 3 percent of its health services are abortion-related. Beyond that, Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and family planning guidance. These are all services that empower women and advance women’s health. Anti-abortion groups regularly manipulate the facts to make Planned Parenthood the scapegoat of the abortion battle.

Komen prides itself on being a voice for women’s health. It’s disappointing that an organization that shares goals with Planned Parenthood would resort to cutting funds for political reasons. There’s too much baseless political rhetoric surrounding Planned Parenthood. Organizations need to check the facts before making such drastic decisions.

Family planning, sexual protection and STD screening are instrumental in health education and awareness. Planned Parenthood provides a secure and comfortable environment for women to use these services, and it's especially useful for low-income women, who couldn’t otherwise afford care.

Health care for young women should continue to be easily accessible, and Planned Parenthood ensures that it is. Abortion opponents need to stop attacking Planned Parenthood for procedures it rarely performs. Planned Parenthood isn’t an abortion organization — it’s an organization that seeks to empower and educate women about their health. Conservative anti-abortion groups need to understand that the variety of services offered by Planned Parenthood are instrumental in women’s health care.