Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Planned Parenthood funding cuts may hurt those who need help the most

We live in interesting times in so many regards, but with Valentine's Day drawing near, let's talk about sex.

Last Sunday, as always, I clipped coupons. I am efficient at this task, but had to pause at the offer of a free greeting card if you buy K-Y Brand Couples Lubricants Kissable Sensations. Below it was a $2 coupon for Efferdent. The other side of the page had Lysol and Selsun Blue discounts.

At least when it comes to coupons, apparently sex ranks right up there with dentures, dandruff and pesky household odors.

We are, however, more conflicted about what can happen once the personal lubrication issue is resolved.

Some Congress members want to stop sending public funds to Planned Parenthood, since it provides abortions. But Congress already forbids spending tax dollars on abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger. So what this move really would do is cut funding for things like birth control, which is why most people go to Planned Parenthood.

The group is under another cloud after a recent sting, orchestrated by an antiabortion group, produced video that showed a man posing as a pimp seeking medical advice for his underage prostitutes from a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey. Planned Parenthood headquarters called in the FBI, fired the clinic manager in the video and took other corrective actions, but reverberations from the episode continue.

Now, I'm against prostitution, underage or not. But I do wonder what would be achieved by cutting contraceptive and other health care funding to Planned Parenthood. So I called our local affiliate to get some numbers.

Last year, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida had more than 76,000 patient visits at its seven centers in 15 counties. It prescribed just about that many packets of birth control pills and other devices (not counting condoms, which it hands out for free). It also did nearly 13,000 tests for sexually transmitted diseases, 5,700 cervical cancer screenings — and 162 vasectomies.

Plus, about 4,800 abortions, either by surgery or pill.

Without the low-cost health services Planned Parenthood provides, some people think we'd have many more abortions. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproduction research group, reported in 2009 that for every $1 spent on publicly funded contraception, taxpayers save $4 by preventing nearly 2 million pregnancies and 810,000 abortions.

More than half of the local affiliate's patients are ages 20 to 29, and often do not have health insurance or are underinsured. Demand for services has grown during the recession — visits to clinics rose 13 percent last year.

By the way, the local affiliate receives only a small amount of federal grant funds for vasectomies, STD screening and cancer screenings for women over 40, though other affiliates across the country rely more heavily on tax dollars.

Attacking Planned Parenthood might make for interesting politics, but don't expect it to do much to meet the health care needs of young people who have few options as it is.

Planned Parenthood funding cuts may hurt those who need help the most 02/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]