It's remarkable when people don't get the "planned" in Planned Parenthood. There are those who use it in an attempt to further their own political agenda.
Planned Parenthood's principles are no different today then when founded nearly 90 years ago. Yes, in the days when abortion was illegal. The overwhelming majority of Planned Parenthood's work is prevention of unintended pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Our work has never been more important, as prevention programs are being cut at both the federal and state levels.
Prevention begins with education. We provide youth medically accurate and comprehensive sexuality education. Parents come to us for guidance on how to start those often uncomfortable but essential conversations with their children about sexuality.
Prevention means accessible and affordable family planning services. Women spend the majority of their reproductive lives avoiding a pregnancy. We provide them the information, medical services and birth control supplies needed to prevent a pregnancy. Reproductive health care is basic health care for women. They may come seeking to avoid a pregnancy, but receive life-saving cancer screenings. They also receive testing for sexually transmitted diseases that left untreated can lead to future infertility or even death. It's all about planning for that wanted pregnancy - so that children are born healthy to loving parents who consciously accept the responsibility of raising a child.
After completing their families, they come to us for permanent birth control methods, such as tubal ligations and vasectomies. Yes, we see men too! Women continue to come to us in their later years seeking hormone replacement therapy during their transition into menopause.
Anti-choice extremists pigeonhole Planned Parenthood as only an abortion provider - what they don't want you to know is that Planned Parenthood's mission is to prevent unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion.
Mary Beth Pierucci, Augusta
(Editor's note: The writer is the director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood in Augusta.)