Planned Parenthood closures should be about women’s health, not politics

Planned Parenthood announced four of its Wisconsin branches will close in the next few months. This is certainly unfortunate for those who rely on them for the many non-abortion services they offer, but in this political climate, Planned Parenthood and abortion are inextricably linked.

None of the four locations being closed offer abortions, but that doesn’t stop those who are pro-life from celebrating this as a victory. The fact of the matter is these branches had to close due to cuts in state funding. It’s not an attack on abortion; abortions can’t be funded by state or federal money anyway.

This ordeal only highlights the divisiveness of our culture. Something as simple as a clinic closing brings out the worst in our extremes. When a side achieves a legitimate win, it’s okay to celebrate that. But people are grasping at straws in this case.

The pro-life community views this as a win. Perhaps it’s a step in the direction they want, but in the grand scheme of things, the end of a few clinics that don’t even perform abortions won’t do much for their cause.

In an article by the Associated Press, Wisconsin Right to Life’s executive director Barbara Lyons called the closures “excellent news.” She went on to say that even if Planned Parenthood doesn’t perform abortions, they help women find a clinic that will.

It feels like Lyons is jumping to conclusions. Those who are pro-life tend to be so focused on the fact that some (not all) Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions, but they forget about the many other services they provide to men and women.

Compared to cancer screenings, STD testing and breast exams, you’d think referring women to abortion clinics would be a minor offense they could look past.The pro-choice community views this as a loss. Keep in mind the goal of those who are pro-choice is not to proliferate abortion clinics until they take over everything.

Planned Parenthood is obviously a pro-choice organization; so four branches closing is not ideal. If anything, pro-choicers are worried about the effect this will have on women’s health, especially for those who can’t afford it elsewhere.

In the same Associated Press article, Democratic State Representative Chris Taylor of Madison said, “It’s a loss to women who relied on those clinics for lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, safe family planning services and other health care needs. As a result, there will be women whose health and lives are threatened.”

Again, Taylor reaches to the far end of the spectrum to make her point. It’s important to note there are other options for patients of these four Planned Parenthood clinics. They can commute to one nearby; for example, those who used the one in Chippewa Falls can come to Eau Claire.

Planned Parenthood is also working with other clinics to make sure patients get the care they need wherever is convenient for them, be it a Planned Parenthood clinic or not.

Ultimately, these clinics shutting down probably won’t be the end-all-be-all for either side of the issue.

Ideally, those on both sides would be able to come together to find a way to provide affordable, safe healthcare to those who need it most, without turning it into a political stunt.