House Republicans passed legislation this week that would bar federal funding for Planned Parenthood ("including contraception, which is basic preventive health care"). Planned Parenthood's 820 health centers across the nation...
...provide a wide range of safe, reliable health care — and more than 90 percent is preventive, primary care, which helps prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screen for cervical and other cancers. Caring physicians, nurse practitioners, and other staff take time to talk with clients, encouraging them to ask questions in an environment that millions have grown to trust.
Planned Parenthood also provides critical public health education to communities:
Planned Parenthood is a respected leader in educating Americans about reproductive and sexual health. We deliver comprehensive and medically accurate information that empowers women, men, teens, and families to make informed choices and lead healthy lives. Planned Parenthood is proud of its vital role in providing young people with honest sexuality and relationship information in classrooms and online to help reduce our nation’s alarmingly high rates of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. More than 1.2 million youths and adults participate in Planned Parenthood educational programs every year.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice issued the following statement in response to the House vote:
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and its 40 member denominations and religiously affiliated organizations – including the Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, Catholics for Choice, and Union for Reform Judaism – are deeply troubled by the cuts to family planning services and to Planned Parenthood clinics that were passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives. These services are used by more than 5 million women and men each year.
Given the many other options available to the Republican leadership, cutting these services should not have been the priority of our government. At a time when so many people continue to suffer from the poor economy, eliminating critical preventive health services will do even more damage to struggling families.
But most troubling is that these cuts show a callous disregard for the well-being of women and families. Responsible parenthood reflects our highest values as people of faith and as a nation. The family planning services provided by Planned Parenthood clinics and the Title X program (the nation’s family planning program) are part of the foundation of the strong, family-oriented society that we seek.
As a coalition sustained by our faith and pursuit for social justice, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice asks: Where is the justice in destroying services that support responsible behaviors and healthy life styles? The answer is obvious: there is no justice and no compassion. These cuts must be stopped by the Senate because they are morally indefensible.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is the national interfaith coalition of denominations that officially support reproductive choice on religious grounds, with more than 20 million members, including the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, two agencies of the United Methodist Church, the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism, and the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Catholics for Choice and other independent and religiously affiliated organizations.
As a minister in the United Church of Christ, I will continue to speak out in support of Planned Parenthood and their critical mission of providing health care. This attempt to strip away the rights of women to make their own reproductive health care choices cannot be allowed to stand. Abortion is not the only issue at stake (over 90% of Planned Parenthood's work has nothing to do with abortion). Without Planned Parenthood we will see an increase in STDs and teen-pregnancies, for example, and that will harm the common good of our nation.