Those who oppose abortion should support Planned Parenthood, as their services can prevent unwanted pregnancies, which lead directly to abortions. They offer all types of birth control, emergency contraception and follow ups. By educating and arming patients with means to avoid unwanted pregnancies, this drastically cuts down on the number of abortions performed per year.
Planned Parenthood offers screening for sexually transmitted diseases and helps treat them. They also offer testing and counseling for HIV. By making these services readily available and easily accessible, it encourages safer sex practices and cuts down on diseases that are needlessly passed from partner to partner and even from parent to child in birth.
Some people just don't want to be parents or have decided they don't want any more children. Planned Parenthood offers safe sterilization treatments for both sexes. Again, this kind of procedure cuts down on the number of unwanted pregnancies, and as a result, the number of abortions.
The main controversy around Planned Parenthood is that they perform abortions. Though a divisive issue, this is a legal procedure. Planned Parenthood works diligently to make sure that they are lawful in their practices and, most importantly, safe. Many Pro-Life advocates don't want their tax dollars going to these actions. Luckily, they don't. Abortion services receive zero government funding, and the procedure is an out-of-pocket expense to those who choose to have them. Additionally, abortions only account for 3% of Planned Parenthood's services. So, if that's only 3%... what else do they do?
Planned Parenthood and its affiliates offer educational programs to over one and a half million teens and young adults each year. Education is an essential tool in safe sex practices, as it has been proven time and again that abstinence-only sex education is ineffective at preventing pregnancies and STDs.
Planned Parenthood offers gynecological services to women, to help examine and determine any potential problems in their uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries, all essential organs in fostering and delivering a healthy baby.
The source of much of the controversy around Planned Parenthood stemmed from a video alleging they were selling fetal tissue for profit. In actuality, they allow the patient to choose to donate it for research — research that can lead to breakthroughs in treating countless other diseases and conditions. They only charged for the shipment of the supplies. Recently, however, they decided to no longer even charge for that, to make a stand against their critics who accuse them of illegal behavior (of which none has been found).
Planned Parenthood offers resources, education and counseling to those in need of help understanding or coming to grips with body image issues, their sexual orientation and even their gender. These are issues that affect countless millions of Americans on a daily basis.
I repeat: free or affordable. All these essential, life-saving services are available to those who need them most. For more information and to find a Planned Parenthood health center near you, visit them online.