ST. GEORGE – Each year, 51,000 Utah residents use the medical services provided by Planned Parenthood.
At first glance, someone reading that statistic may do so with a sense of either shock or surprise. There’s no way that there could have been 51,000 aborted pregnancies in Utah. If that were true, there certainly would be a media storm over something like that.
However, there is not. Why? Simple: Planned Parenthood, the champion of Pro-Choice advocates and the scourge of Pro-Life naysayers, offers much more than the social-political powder-keg that is abortion.
“We help people be responsible in their sexual activities,” said Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.
One of Planned Parenthood’s primary goals is to help educate people – both men and woman – about their bodies. Sexual education is handled on many different fronts. Two avenues that Planned Parenthood of Utah has taken are the internet and in the public school system.
Tools such as “Growing Up Comes First.org,” are set up to help parents and teachers answer questions children have about puberty, sexual reproduction, and so on. Another program, called “Safe at School,” is an anti-bullying campaign designed to help students who are singled out due to questions they may have concerning their own sexuality. Not only does it provide resources and education for the bully-targeted students, but their parents and school officials, as well.
“Sexuality is a part of reproductive health,” Galloway said, once again citing that educating people was a big part of what Planned Parenthood does for individuals.
While education is important, reproductive healthcare is also provided to those who seek it. Such care involves emergency contraceptives, testing for sexually transmitted deceases like chlamydia, screening certain types of cancer, treatments for menopause, vasectomies and tubal ligations.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood also provides services and education for parents seeking to become pregnant. These services, along with many of the services previously listed, are often eclipsed by the media frenzy surrounding the twin specters of abortion and federal funding.
Galloway mentioned that, with recent changes in leadership in various states and the federal government (the 2010 midterm elections and gubernatorial races), opponents of Planned Parenthood have been doing their best to cut its funding.
Galloway was quick to point out that the majority of the people who use Planned Parenthood are the unemployed and the uninsured.
Currently, the Nation Family Planning Program, or Title X as it is popularly known, helps makes expensive pharmaceuticals available to patients of Planned Parenthood at a fraction of the original cost.
The organization receives funding from the Center for Disease Control when it come to STD screening and treatment. With STD’s being on the rise in Utah, Galloway felt that trying to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding was an irresponsible and disingenuous act on the part of lawmakers.
As reported by KSL News’ Paul Nelson, additional facets of Planned Parenthood that receive federal dollars are an abstinence program for teenage girls and a rape prevention program.
“No federal money goes to support abortion,” Galloway affirmed.
As federal funding for Planned Parenthood in Utah is filtered through state agencies, Galloway’s statement is supported by Utah Criminal Code 76-7-331, which expressly forbids any public funding going to abortions.
“There is a great deal of unintended pregnancy that falls to the uninsured and unemployed,” Galloway said. Nationally, the costs of unintended pregnancy reaches $11 billion annually. Galloway is confident that providing reproductive education and services to those who need it most can help cut down on that overwhelming expense.
As for Utah, Galloway was happy to report that the state has “one of the lowest unintended pregnancy rates in the country.”
To learn more about Planned Parenthood of Utah, go to: http://plannedparenthood.org/utah/
Related St. George News article on Abortion in Utah Legal but Availability Limited
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