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100 Years of Service

May 4, 2017
Shepherdstown Chronicle

100 years ago the United States had less than a third of its current population. Woodrow Wilson was President and America entered World War I. Only 8 percent of homes had landlines, compared to the almost 80 percent of the U.S. population that now has cell phones. Cars had only just begun to be the favored mode of transportation over horses and Planned Parenthood began to provide reproductive health care services.

Quite a bit has changed in the last 100 years, yet some things remain the same. The United States has come quite far with great advancement in technology, industrialization and general economic growth. However, when it comes to health care we seem to be stuck in the past.

Despite the positive impact that Planned Parenthood has brought to health care, particularly as it pertains to sexual health, the organization continues to fight an uphill battle. The group is ostracized and targeted for the services it has available and attempts are continually made to prevent the organization from performing any services at all.

In addition to access to birth control, offering protection for safe sex and sexual education, Planned Parenthood provides a wide array of vital primary and preventative care services that enable individuals to lead healthy lives. Offerings include vaccinations, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for STDs, breast exams, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, and smoking cessation. While these services are primarily marketed to women, Planned Parenthood has made them available for people of all demographics.

More than 50 percent of Planned Parenthood locations are in low-income and medically underserved areas, enabling individuals with limited options to have access to affordable, high-quality health care. Defunding Planned Parenthood and preventing these services from being administered does nothing but intentionally deprive these individuals of receiving the health care they need.

Should Planned Parenthood's health care clinics be shuttered, the impact would be felt on multiple levels. The likelihood of patients seeking access from other locations decreases, as the availability of alternative locations often does not exist. In areas that another provider may be available, these health centers would be unable to absorb the increased patient load. Others would be forced to seek medical attention in already overcrowded emergency rooms.

In addition to the concerns of mere doctor availability, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost to taxpayers could reach $130 million over 10 years should Planned Parenthood be "defunded". This is a cost we as taxpayers simply cannot afford.

Healthcare access has been a political "discussion" for more than 100 years. The topic has continually been used as a hot button item that can, and does, rile up a voter base for all sides. While the debate these days seemingly focuses on who should foot the bill for health care, the general consensus has become that everyone should, at the very least, have access to care. The exception to this, however, seems to be women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and the poor. This is proven by the incessant and continual attacks on an organization that has an overwhelming number of patients that fall into those particular demographics.

We usually look upon something or someone who has provided a beneficial service for a long period with gratitude. Planned Parenthood deserves that same level of appreciation for the determination to make health care available to everyone that walks through the doors to the best of the organization's ability. With that I offer a very deserving "Thank You" to Planned Parenthood. Thank you for 100 years of service, caring, fighting and dedication to providing affordable, high-quality health care in the face of adversity and in spite of a few vocal critics.

Chelsea Langevin is a 2013 Shepherd graduate and Planned Parenthood supporter.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. Access to care: provider availability in Medicaid managed care

Letter from Keith Hall, Director of CBO, to Representative Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives. ltrpermanentdefundplannedparenthood.pdf



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