Planned Parenthood’s claim to boosting women’s health challenged

by WorldTribune Staff, February 25, 2019

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, has said that the abortion provider has “done more for women’s health than any other [organization] for the last 100 years.”

John Block, digital communications manager at Americans United for Life, notes that Wen’s claim is “baseless,” and further states that it is ironic that Planned Parenthood has such slogans as “Together We Fight For All” since the organization “ends the lives of more than 330,000 children each year.”

Healthcare innovations throughout the last century have significantly improved women’s health, but Planned Parenthood has contributed “absolutely nothing” to that improvement, Block contended in a Feb. 24 column for the Washington Examiner.

Block noted several women’s health topics and “how Planned Parenthood fits into the picture.”

Mammograms: According to the American Academy of Radiology, “mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 40 percent since 1990.” Block noted that “It is the only test known to reduce breast cancer deaths, saving countless women’s lives.” Planned Parenthood facilities do not offer mammography to patients.

Breastfeeding: In 1984 under the Reagan Administration, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop convened the first Surgeon General’s Workshop on Breastfeeding, a step to strengthen the support of breastfeeding in the healthcare system and in workplaces across the country. The Department of Health & Human Services said women who breastfeed are “less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.”

On Planned Parenthood’s website, Block noted, “the only note on breastfeeding is buried deep in the ‘birth control’ page, where the only emphasized benefit of the practice is its natural tendency to wane with ovulation. It boasts how ‘you can’t get pregnant if you don’t ovulate.’ ”

Mental health: A recent study on abortion and mental health risks found that “women seeking abortions may be at higher risk of prior mental health disorders,” and it recommended that abortion care settings should be an intervention point for mental health screening. Block noted that “Because there is little to no access to behavioral healthcare at Planned Parenthood, many of the company’s patients may go untreated for their mental health needs.”

Smoking: “Although smoking cessation treatments are integral in saving countless lives, Planned Parenthood’s annual report doesn’t mention the word ‘smoking’ once, and one has to dig through the website to find cessation services, listed as a bullet point under ‘General Health Care,’ ” Block wrote. Block cited research which shows that only 27 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics provide smoking cessation services, and only 40 percent of clinics offer nutrition counseling.

Sexually transmitted diseases: Block notes that “The states with the most Planned Parenthood clinics disproportionately suffered the largest increases in STDs.” California, which has the most Planned Parenthood Clinics per capita of any state, “saw a record rise in STDs and a spike in the number of stillbirths caused by syphilis for the third year in a row,” Block wrote.

Dr. Heidi Bauer, California’s health department STD Control Branch chief, told NPR that one of the largest reasons sexually transmitted diseases were spiking was because of the use of “hookup” apps, making it “easy to create social and sexual connections between people.” Planned Parenthood, Block noted, “has actually begun promoting the use of these apps, like OkCupid, which now uses the ‘#IStandWithPP’ Badge to appear on the profiles of users who support the organization.”

Block added: “Historically, Planned Parenthood has had massive problems with the effectiveness of its contraceptives, such as its condoms, which were rated by Consumer Reports Magazine as worst in performance, with poor strength and reliability.”

Abortion & maternity: Planned Parenthood “has lobbied on behalf of legislation which would hurt women and strip away life-saving protections, some of which are in legislatures this year,” Block wrote, citing New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which allows abortion on demand up to the date of birth and doesn’t require a doctor to perform the procedure, and New Mexico’s Abortion Decriminalization Act, which would do much of the same.

The abortion provider also boasts of its “100 years of women’s healthcare” history “but does not support vital protections, like a 20-week cutoff for abortion or the requirement that they be done by qualified doctor who graduated medical school, leaves women vulnerable to unsafe, low-quality, and high-risk healthcare,” Block wrote.

Planned Parenthood “has yet to make a mark on women’s healthcare for anything other than promoting various controversial birth control methods and performing abortions,” Block wrote. “Looking back at the company’s history in the last 100 years, it’s clear that the U.S. government and its various women’s health initiatives in the last few decades have done far more than Planned Parenthood in its entire century of existence.

“For Planned Parenthood to think it can claim the topic of women’s healthcare as its own is laughable, especially for an organization which has arguably done the most to hurt women in the last 100 years with its subpar, bare-bones medical offerings – abortion being at the very top of the list.”

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