corey neering_web.jpgPublishing misinformation about Planned Parenthood hurts women and families. This is why we must refute the misleading statements passed along to South Florida Times readers in Barbara Howard’s article commentary titled “Abortion advocates guilty of genocide” published in the March 10 edition.

Let’s be clear. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger had some objectionable and outmoded views. But, unfortunately, many of her statements and writings have been distorted, misquoted and used as lighting rods to ignite controversy and divert attention away from the very real health crisis happening in our country.

It is completely inaccurate and highly counter-productive to suggest that Planned Parenthood targets African-American communities for abortion services. As a matter of fact, a study by the Guttmacher Institute found that only one in 10 centers that perform abortions are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

For over 90 years, Planned Parenthood has been providing affordable, preventive health care and education to women, men and teens in every community. We strongly believe that every woman, regardless of her income, where she lives, her race or ethnic background deserves to have the full range of reproductive health care, from access to birth control to making personal and private medical decisions about terminating a pregnancy.

More than 90 percent of the services Planned Parenthood offers are preventive services that help women, families and communities stay healthy. Every day we help women and men get the health tools and information and, above all, the care and compassion they need to prevent unintended pregnancies – or to plan for families when they are ready.

Everyday we supply women with the most sophisticated instrument in medicine: accurate information, which can help them make the best decisions about their health. At Planned Parenthood, we treat healthcare as a basic human right – one that’s dispensed freely and without judgment to every person – regardless of race, gender, class or age.

The article asked the question, “What is Planned Parenthood doing in the black neighborhoods?” The answer to that question is certainly apparent if you visit a local health center or meet one of our educators. No organization does more than Planned Parenthood to prevent unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. Our health-care services include life saving cancer screenings, breast health-care, prenatal services, well-woman exams, contraceptive services, STD prevention and treatment and much more.

Planned Parenthood serves millions of women and families who would otherwise have no access to the most basic of preventative health care information and services. Using misinformation in an attempt to discredit and disavow the very positive work of Planned Parenthood is irresponsible and hurts women.

Women and families in this country are facing difficult times.  We must redirect energy, focus and resources back to the over-arching issue at hand. Planned Parenthood provides invaluable services to all who need them, regardless of their race or socio-economic status.

Planned Parenthood is here for every person, every family, and every community. We’re here to make the world a healthy place.

Cory Neering is vice president of Education with Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast.