On Sunday, April 9, the St. Cloud Times’ front page article “No Planned Parenthood? More kids, cancer, chlamydia” was filled with innuendo, an absence of concrete facts and biased reporting.
Not only did the article include only information from like-minded sources, it also used vague and dangerous language. It provided a view that no women’s health services are available other than Planned Parenthood. Below are a few facts to consider:
The article claims that “abortion rates are their lowest since Roe v. Wade was decided,” citing an increase in contraception use as the reason. While it is true that the abortion rate is lower, the reason is not that simple. Consider that:
• In July 2003, Minnesota passed a law affecting any woman seeking an abortion in Minnesota. It’s known as “The Woman’s Right to Know Act.” This law requires her to receive certain information from a licensed physician a minimum of 24 hours prior to her procedure. The rates for abortions have continually fallen since. Due to the “Women’s Right to Know” legislation, approximately 2,000 women have received important information about their baby and have chosen not to abort.
• Scientific knowledge, including actual visual images of a developing baby, has captured the attention of our youth so they understand that an abortion is not just eliminating a blob of tissue; rather, it kills a growing human person.
• Abstinence education has been adopted by a larger number of high schools — secular and religious — to help students appreciate that their self-worth and dignity does not rely on their sexual activity. Or, in Planned Parenthood language, it gives them a choice to refrain from irresponsible sexual activity.
• Some do not want to be part of an abortion, and parental notice has lowered the rate.
• According to the Minnesota Annual Abortion Report (Table 24), the use of contraceptives has remained steady. What has also remained steady is the number of women who have chosen abortion and their use, or non-use, of contraception. Sixty to 68 percent of aborting women report they were not using contraception when they became pregnant.
Cancer screening claims
The article claims that “less access would also mean less screening for cancer, which could lead to more significant health problems.” Yet, if you rely on Planned Parenthood for screening breast cancer, you might want to think again.
On its website, St. Cloud Planned Parenthood lists “breast exams” as one of its services. A little further down on the website, they advise that they make “mammogram referrals.” To clarify, Planned Parenthood uses palpation for a breast exam (like a self-exam) but does not offer mammograms.
Also not mentioned is that hormonal oral contraceptive research has found that the use of oral contraceptives increases “the risks of breast, cervical, and liver cancer” (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, National Cancer Institute).
There is one correct statement in the article: “It comes down to one word, and that’s cost.” President Donald Trump has said that, “As I said throughout the campaign, I am pro-life and I am deeply committed to investing in women’s health and plan to significantly increase federal funding in support of non-abortion services, such as cancer screenings.”
This offer for continued funding if organizations discontinue providing abortions has been refused by Planned Parenthood. If “abortions account for only 5 percent of Planned Parenthood services,” as indicated in the article, why would they not, in the name of women’s health, accept President Trump’s offer?
This multibillion-dollar industry is crying for your taxpayer money, while appealing to non-existent scare tactics. While they say they are compassionate and only care about women, it is obvious they are only concerned about one thing, abortion — not safe, legal and rare, but more, more and more. Don’t be fooled by biased reporting and inaccurate information.
Chris Codden is director of the Office of Marriage and Family of the Diocese of St. Cloud. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.