The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

Why do we need Planned Parenthood?

with 10 comments

I think that Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource. I support it, whole-heartedly, and I think that it’s unfortunate that the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulled its funding for it. There’s much to read now about this matter, by folks who are much more educated on the issue than I am.

But TRC thinks Planned Parenthood is a vital resource, and wanted to add our support. When we think about who it serves and what it does, Planned Parenthood becomes even more important, as was succinctly put by Ezra Klein:

About 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s users are over age 20, and 75 percent have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line. Planned Parenthood itself estimates it prevents more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year, and 220,000 abortions…if Planned Parenthood loses funding, what will mainly happen is that cancer screenings and contraception and STD testing will become less available to poorer people.

Here’s what Planned Parenthood does: serve women who need it, most of whom can’t afford care elsewhere.


Written by Christopher ZF

February 2, 2012 at 16:22

10 Responses

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  1. Wow, I only wish my organization got all this beneficial press after a grant funder stopped giving after only two years. What a racket PP has going.

    Redhead in Rapid

    February 2, 2012 at 20:04

    • Don’t we all…we could sure use it too. But such sarcasm doesn’t affect the need to support causes one supports.


      February 2, 2012 at 20:33

  2. So, this Komen thing: we’re supposed to penalize an organization that everybody agrees does good because it now will not support an organization that some people thinks does good, and others do not? Let’s not pretend money isn’t fungible and funds do not provide for arguably objectionable services, as the pro-choice McArdle notes today. Is there no other charity than PP that provides cancer-prevention services to poor women?


    February 2, 2012 at 23:27

    • Nothing is even close to providing PP’s services on the scale that PP does.


      February 3, 2012 at 09:03

      • But again, scale is not the issue, unless you make a case that scale impacts efficiency (which I am unpersuaded of in this case). Are there not other providers that provide the same type of screening services to the indigent? If so, and people really only care about cancer prevention in this context, then Komen, Planned Parenthood, and everybody else shouldn’t care whether Komen funds PP’s cancer-related services, or takes that money and gives it to other providers. Right?


        February 3, 2012 at 13:41

  3. I think the broader point for a lot of people who support PP but are not outright activists for the cause (like me) is that the organization is a political and cultural football unlike (probably) anything else. So when PP is put into the media-circus and there is argument about whether what it does is good/necessary/valuable it is worthwhile to add your voice in support.

    For PP, that is almost always the case, and it’s not hard for TRC to understand why.


    February 3, 2012 at 09:13

    • Fair enough.


      February 3, 2012 at 13:37

  4. To you comment a about scale, Brandon, yes and no.
    I think in a perfect model, sure, there is no reason to oppose Komen taking money from PP and gives it to another group who is providing cancer-related services to the poor. But I do think that scale matters. PP has a national system available and in place, right now, today, to provide services broadly, to everyone who wants it.

    Now, just to be clear, TRC recognizes that Komen Foundation has every right to cease funding Planned Parenthood. They can do whatever they want with their money, and if they determine that their link to PP reflects poorly on their own group, so be it. PP will be able to make up that money. TRC won’t argue against their own internal decisions for what they deem best.
    However, I do think that such political calculations interfering with providing health services to the poor is something to be lamented.

    And if it wasn’t political, they probably wouldn’t have reinstated their funding due to the backlash.


    February 3, 2012 at 15:27

    • Well said, Chris.


      February 4, 2012 at 18:15

  5. Why don’t people just use DHEC? I mean, is the real rational for PP’s existence that it is the only place to get legal abortions? Doesn’t DHEC offer everything besides abortions and basically for free if one qualifies? I happen to favor offering abortion legally, but I’m wondering why we need PP for anything else when we have DHEC.

    Jan Merritt

    May 27, 2012 at 09:32

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