A recent headline in the Anchorage Daily News indicates that the highest rate of a sexually transmitted disease in the nation, gonorrhea, is right here amongst us, Alaska.
Two days after that, another ADN headline indicates the federal government will stop funding any family planning organization or health organization that even mentions the "a" word — abortion — as an option for pregnant women.
Planned Parenthood stands to bear the brunt of this lack of funding.
Planned Parenthood offers superb health care, mostly to women of lower incomes, on all issues of general health, mammograms, family planning and contraception, and education and testing for STDs, along with the prevention of the same. A recent fact sheet from 2016 indicated that a mere 3 percent of their services are abortion services.
Why would any entity in its right mind refuse to fund a very successful program to help mostly lower-income women in all phases of their health? Is the concern that the mere mention of abortion will lead every woman hearing it to choose that option? Why else would one deny funding for this organization, especially in Alaska, where the rate of debilitating STDs is the highest or near the highest in the land?
I will stop far short of calling people who support this shortsighted funding debacle stupid. I will call the denial of funding stupid, however. As one doctor said, by decreasing funding to Planned Parenthood, removing their education about proper sexual interactions and safety measures, the probable result will be even more unplanned pregnancies, more abortions and more STDs.
I call that stupid.
As so many states have passed tighter and tighter restrictions on abortion, many Planned Parenthood offices and those of other like providers have closed or been unable to reach as many clients for all services. Why is that important, you ask? This is why:
The U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate of all developed countries in the world.
Read that again. Corroborating statistics suggest that closing these health centers, thereby making it more difficult or impossible to get health care, is a cause.
I call that stupid, too.
— Sherry Lewis