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Filed under Opinion

Haley’s Comments: Little help from 40 Days

The latest 40 Days for Life campaign kicked off this Wednesday in 238 cities. Six of these cities are in Wisconsin.

For those who have no idea what 40 Days for Life is, let me explain. 40 Days for Life is an anti-abortion organization that more than 11,500 churches participate in. They organize protests during which they pray and fast outside of family planning clinics across the globe, the majority of which are held in the U.S., for forty days.

My problem with their campaign comes in here: the purpose of the 40 Days for Life protests is to shut down family planning clinics. They are trying to (and succeeding in some cases) prevent people from going to these clinics.

That may sound like a very good thing to many reading this. But understand, the words “family planning clinic” do not always mean abortion clinic.

Most family planning clinics are not able to perform abortions. In fact, state-funded clinics cannot legally refer patients to a clinic that can perform abortions, either.

Within the state of Wisconsin, there are only four clinics that can perform abortions. There is one in Appleton, one in Madison and two in Milwaukee.

Yet the 40 Days for Life protests in Wisconsin are held not just at those four specific clinics. Protests are being held at other clinics in those cities, ones that cannot perform abortions, and at family planning clinics in Green Bay, La Crosse and Wausau, as well.

With their protests, 40 Days for Life has scared hundreds from even entering family planning clinics. This prevents these people from receiving the health services that they do provide.

Family planning clinics offer a wide range of services to women and men.

They offer STI and AIDS testing, birth control and pregnancy tests as well as gynecological check-ups. All of these services are offered at low rates, catering to those who cannot afford to go to a hospital.

Here’s the kicker: Family planning clinics provide cheap yet efficient medical care to pregnant women. Most of these clinics also provide health services for the children of low-income mothers.

That’s right. Family planning clinics help women stay healthy throughout their pregnancies so their fetuses can grow into healthy babies. And then they help those babies grow into healthy toddlers.

If 40 Days for Life’s goal is to have all of these clinics shut down, what will those who can’t afford to go to a hospital do? Without an affordable clinic, poor mothers won’t be able to get the pre-natal care both they and their children need.

Let me be fair here. While their intent is to keep people away from these clinics, 40 Days for Life does not aim to prevent people from receiving health care.

But those who stand outside of family planning clinics are often there for reasons other than trying to prevent abortions. They are also there to picket against the birth control pill and the morning-after pill.

It is often believed that what the birth control pill does is kill fetuses. Here’s a quick summary of how the birth control pill actually works. The pill works in two ways. First, it prevents a woman’s body from releasing an egg. If the egg is never released, it can’t be fertilized. Second, it makes the walls of the womb too thick to accept a fertilized egg.

Another misconception: a fertilized egg cannot become a fetus until it has attached to the wall of the womb.

In both of those ways, no fetus is being harmed because no fetus even exists yet.

The morning-after pill works the same way as the regular pill; it’s simply a higher dose of the same hormones in the birth control pill.

I think that while 40 Days for Life has good intentions (I mean, their goal is to save lives; how could that be done with bad intent?), they get it wrong when it comes to how to go about doing so. The clinics that they want to get rid of help thousands of people – thousands of mothers and children. While they have good intentions, they are doing more harm than good.

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