By Tobias Arturi
In a state in which abstinence-only sex education is the norm, and locally accessible reproductive health services are scarce, and often demonized, Planned Parenthood has always remained a stalwart voice for the practice of safe sex and a resource for those who need real answers about sex other than “Don’t Have It”.
I personally have benefitted from Planned Parenthood’s health services, receiving free STD testing, free contraception, and an overall safe and positive environment.
Recently, Planned Parenthood has seen much scrutiny and vitriol from vocal critics such as NOLA Needs Peace, or the Louisiana Archdiocese, which has even threatened to blacklist any companies aiding Planned Parenthood in the construction of its new facility uptown. What New Orleans truly needs is advocacy and realistic goals about keeping its citizens, especially teens and young adults, safe and healthy. This means affordable access to all reproductive health services including birth control, cancer screenings, and abortions.
NOLA Needs Peace would have you believe that Planned Parenthood is a for-profit organization engaged in “selling” abortions as its primary function. In reality, abortion services in the 2012-2013 annual report only comprised 3% of the medical services performed by Planned Parenthood. This shows a clear emphasis on safe sex and contraception, both of which are intended to prevent accidental pregnancy, and represent 75% of the organization’s medical activity. If Planned Parenthood is only interested in encouraging abortion for their financial gain, wouldn’t they have a better business plan?
I support Planned Parenthood because I firmly believe that their place and influence in New Orleans does not signify more abortions, but fewer. It means access to education, counseling, and the opportunity for all women regardless of age or background to make informed decisions about their own reproductive health.
Tobias Arturi is a resident of New Orleans and a volunteer for Planned Parenthood.