Politics & Policy

Shift Planned Parenthood Funds to Health Centers That Don’t Equate Abortion with ‘Women’s Health’

(Alexander Raths/Dreamstime)

The Center for Medical Progress’s undercover videos exposed the heartbreaking facts about Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in the body parts of aborted babies. The ensuing controversy has revealed another fact that Planned Parenthood would have preferred to keep hidden: It’s not really the “leading provider of high quality, affordable health care” it claims to be — unless you think a woman’s health is defined solely by her reproductive system.

Under questioning from Representative Mia Love during a recent hearing, Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, finally admitted that, despite all the propaganda to the contrary, her organization does not actually provide mammograms. Nor does it provide other health-care services women routinely need to access — treatment for hypertension, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, and other diseases and ailments.

So what exactly are taxpayers getting for the $528 million they provide to Planned Parenthood each year? And more important, what could they get if that money were spent instead at the thousands of federally qualified health centers around the country that do provide a full range of services and diagnostic screenings, as well as birth control, pap smears, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases?

#share#In fact, women have the most to gain from a congressional decision to reallocate money away from Planned Parenthood and to community-based health centers that already serve their localities. The quality of women’s health care will be improved by shifting money to medical providers that focus on the health and well-being of the whole woman; the priority should not be funding an organization that treats women’s reproductive health in isolation.

RELATED: A New Map Debunks Claims that Defunding Planned Parenthood Would Produce a Women’s-Health Crisis

Women’s access to health care will improve, as well. There are more than 13,000 qualified health centers providing a full range of health-care services to women, including 4,000 in under-served rural areas.

In comparison with the more than 13,000 health centers across the country, there are fewer than 700 Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide. In Los Angeles, for example, a woman could choose to receive services from any one of 43 health-care providers within a five-mile radius of the city’s downtown Planned Parenthood facility — including one clinic just 213 feet away. In Houston, there are 13 full-service health centers within five miles of Planned Parenthood; in Washington, D.C., there are 23 health centers already serving the community around the Planned Parenthood facility that is currently under construction, including one center just half a mile away. Research done by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Charlotte Lozier Institute demonstrates that in every state, women will have more options and greater choice if federal funds are shifted away from Planned Parenthood and to community health centers.

#related#The curtain has finally been pulled back on Planned Parenthood’s claim to be a champion of women’s health. Just as it reduces unborn babies to a collection of body parts for sale, Planned Parenthood reduces women’s health to their reproductive organs. Women deserve health care that focuses on the full range of their health and well-being. Reallocating Planned Parenthood’s federal funding to community health centers will be a major step in that direction.

— Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

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