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Op-ed: In defense of Planned Parenthood

BY COUNCILMAN RORY LANCMAN

Planned Parenthood has been all over the news lately, with a sea of pink T-shirted supporters taking over Foley Square last week amid a strong defense against the newest round of baseless attacks the organization is facing.

Planned Parenthood serves everyone who walks through the doors of one of their clinics, regardless of whether that person has insurance or can pay the full cost of their care. Although the organization is best known for the important sexual and reproductive health care they provide, Planned Parenthood clinics also conduct anemia testing, screen for high cholesterol and provide tetanus vaccines. Through the 900,000 cancer screenings Planned Parenthood provides every year, the organization has helped thousands of women detect cancer early, getting them into treatment when it is most effective and saving countless lives.

Planned Parenthood also works to educate individuals and professionals in a variety of areas. The organization provides medically accurate, age-appropriate sexual education curriculums, and will send health educators into local schools. They also train clinicians in reproductive health care, and offer classes to family planning providers, managed care plans, community health organizations, and city and state agencies on public insurance and reproductive health care.

These many valuable services are why I welcome the opening of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Queens, which will serve more than 18,000 individuals each year. This clinic will help many of my constituents get routine gynecological care and compare different birth control options. It will also provide safe and legal abortions. Women shouldn’t face protesters outside of their doctor’s offices for availing themselves of legal, and often necessary, healthcare.

It’s frustrating to turn on the TV and hear the same arguments happening again. At some point, the pundits might want to acknowledge that it’s not the 1950s. Ninety-eight percent of women in the U.S. have used birth control at some point in their lives. One in three women have abortions. All of these women should be able to access their medical care in a safe facility with knowledgeable, caring doctors. That’s exactly what Planned Parenthood provides. Something so commonplace as comprehensive reproductive care shouldn’t still be controversial.

Councilman Lancman represents the 24th Council District, which includes all or parts of Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Jamaica and Jamaica Estates.

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