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Commentary: The truth about Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education and women’s health care. It helps an estimated 10 million women across the globe each year.

In 2011, 97 percent of its worldwide services involved things like Pap smears, education, pregnancy tests, STI and STD testing (including HIV and AIDS). Thirty-five percent of its services are contraceptive in nature (not abortive). Another 35 percent of its services are related to diagnosing and treating STIs and STDs. Sixteen percent more goes to cancer screening and care. Ten percent goes to other women’s health care treatment. Three percent of its funds go to abortion-related services.

A common-sense analysis shows proof of the nonprofit organization’s long-standing mission to preserve families and lives.

We can look at Oklahoma’s and Texas’ numbers for a glance at how Planned Parenthood operates regionally. None of Oklahoma’s centers perform abortions, and only four of 38 Texas centers do. Those four are certified medical surgery centers.

In 2012, Planned Parenthood helped provide 4.5 million people with STI and STD treatment and education. Over 3.7 million received contraception education and related healthcare. Another million received pregnancy tests and prenatal care. These lives matter.

In the United States, Cancer.org estimates 800,000 women are diagnosed with “major” cancers each year (2015).

A 2013 American Cancer Society report estimated more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. An estimated 19 percent of female African-American cancer patients will die from the disease. It is the leading cause of cancer death in Hispanic women.

Early testing, diagnosis and treatment are keys to survival. Planned Parenthood helped provide more than 1 million tests, referrals and preventative screenings in 2012. These are lives worth saving.

HPV vaccines could prevent up to 70 percent of cervical cancers in women as well as up to 70 percent of oropharyngeal (soft palate, tongue, tonsil, throat) cancers. Planned Parenthood offers HPV screening, treatment and vaccines. These lives are worth saving.

Let’s zoom in further. A 2105-2016 report from the American Cancer Society showed that 69 percent of women in Oklahoma lacked health insurance coverage for Pap tests — the leading screening method used to detect cervical cancer — although 80 percent were tested and 67 percent reported they had no “usual source of medical care” in the past three years.

In 2012, Planned Parenthood reported that 79 percent of its clientele had “incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.”

Planned Parenthood has long bridged vital healthcare gaps for women who often need help the most.

In 2012, more than 3.7 million Planned Parenthood clients received contraception services. More than half — over 2 million — were “reversible contraception” patients. Another 1.5 received “emergency” help. Planned Parenthood estimates it prevented more than half a million pregnancies and performed more than 300,000 abortions. Family planning and sex education prevents unwanted pregnancies and further reduces abortion rates in this country.

Only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s funds go to abortion-related services. Abortion is a legal right promised to American women and protected by our Supreme Court and the United States Constitution.

To support this organization in Oklahoma, please register to attend Planned Parenthood of Oklahoma’s Choices 2015 annual dinner, silent auction and art sale 5 p.m. Sept. 19 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St. Tickets are $100, and Texas Senator Wendy Davis is the guest speaker. Three dozen artists also will participate. Visit ppcok.org or call 528-0221, ext. 304.

Jennifer Chancellor is editor-in-chief of Oklahoma Gazette.

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