You may have heard that Planned Parenthood recently made the choice to refuse Title X funding. This is a huge blow to the four million people served by this program, many of whom are low-income. Title X monies were used to provide low- or no-cost contraception, disease, and cancer screenings. Federal funds from this program have never been used to fund abortion, in accordance with the Hyde Ammendment.

Why would Planned Parenthood withdraw from such an important program? Because the Trump administration has forced them into a corner. The organization -- which has steadfastly advocated for people’s rights to make their own reproductive choices since the days when birth control was illegal and spousal rape wasn’t -- had to choose between accepting the funds and honoring their commitment to provide safe and legal abortions.

The data is clear. Restricting access to abortion is not an effective strategy in reducing the overall number of women making this choice. Quite the contrary, the best way to reduce the number of people seeking to terminate pregnancies is to improve access to affordable birth control. Prevention works. Prohibition doesn’t. This move by the Trump administration, which specifically targets Planned Parenthood and decreases the availability of birth control will almost certainly result in the abortion rate climbing.

We need to face the truth: this strategy is not about saving unborn children. It’s about controlling people’s bodies. It’s about imposing a patriarchal morality on the American people. This is completely unacceptable.

Planned Parenthood and other providers of comprehensive reproductive health services deserve our support. We can write our legislators.

We can find a little money to donate to Planned Parenthood. Above all, we can support the right and the responsibility of all people to manage their own reproductive health.

Elizabeth Stevens

Moscow

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