Juanita Scott

Over the years, Planned Parenthood has been given a bad rap. Some critics think these health clinics only perform abortions with taxpayers’ money and should be closed. Negative criticism hurled against this organization breeds fear and insecurity for the workers as well as for the patrons. Planned Parenthood does not only perform abortions, but provides invaluable resources for men and women’s sexual health in the neighborhood.

I have witnessed young people and women of childbearing age being educated on birth control methods, sexually transmitted diseases and healthy lifestyle practices at Family Planning Clinics. Responsible health care professionals, who are specially trained, dedicate their lives to provide services, at little or no cost to low-income and poor people.

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While I am not an advocate for abortion, I am willing to support those who risk their lives to educate the poor to make responsible choices. It is well established that abortion carries fatal consequences. For this reason poor people need the option of birth control privileges. We cannot stop them from exercising their rights to satisfy their sexual passions. We can only provide the resources to avert risky behaviors.

Planned Parenthood was created with the idea that women need to control their own fertility. Too many unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions have resulted in poor outcomes. Unplanned pregnancy continues to be a problem and poses great concern for parents.

The effect of unplanned pregnancies, however, is not limited to the mothers and their families. There is a huge societal cost in public spending on food stamps, Medicaid and other aids to families with dependent children. It is far more economical, and certainly more progressive, to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Being sexually active carries enormous responsibilities, which young people cannot handle well on their own. They need the support of their parents, relatives and health care professionals. Young people and low-income, childbearing mothers have the right to an education. This will provide them with a good knowledge base, and equip them with the skills needed to make informed decisions.

Regardless of the race or gender, sexually active adolescents and young people are at increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) when compared to older people. Planned Parenthood seizes the opportunity to test and treat young people and their partners who are affected with these diseases. Low-income and poor families need the services of Planned Parenthood in the community. Let us give our support, and keep the clinics alive.

Hartford resident Juanita Scott has been a registered nurse for 11 years.

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