Recently, I heard a story. A story about a 17-year-old girl who tried to make the wise reproductive choice to seek contraception and prevent unwanted pregnancy. She was turned away from that choice by abortion protesters at Planned Parenthood. Now reading that, you may assume this letter is about how that made me feel, that it’s about how Planned Parenthood changed — and very likely saved — my life once, but it’s not.
This issue is not about my feelings — or yours. It’s not about religion, politics, or even your stance on abortion. It’s about facts, like the fact that this year alone — which is less than half over — our local Planned Parenthood has helped 350 women prevent abortion by seeking safe contraceptive options. That they’ve screened 250 locals for life-threatening cancers, preserving life in our community. That they’ve prevented the outbreak of disease in that community by treating people for sexually transmitted diseases all while educating those same local people how to stay healthy, keeping our community healthy. That they’ve fostered trust and support in our community for the transgender movement, so that everyone can feel a part of our community, and that they’ve helped 50 women get proper prenatal care to ensure they have healthy babies — by choice, on their terms.
It’s about the fact that our Planned Parenthood did all these things without performing a single surgical abortion — because our Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer that service. Our Planned Parenthood is an integral part of our community that has endured years of protest in the interest of preventing a service that it does not even offer.
I ask that our community act like one. A community supports its people by setting aside their personal feelings and looking at the facts, looking at what’s best for the community. You can pray to end abortion — just do it from your churches, your homes, and your hearts — not from the steps of Planned Parenthood.
Should that request fail, and the protests continue, I want the men and women of our community to know that there are those among us that still stand with Planned Parenthood — and you — that are willing to walk with you into the building if you’re uncomfortable or feel threatened by the barrage of judgment and pamphlets. Just call 1-800-769-0045 and ask for a volunteer escort.
I have no association with Planned Parenthood beyond being a volunteer. I do appreciate them providing the data for this letter on request, though.
— Amanda Cunningham,