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LETTER: Defunding Planned Parenthood is bad idea

To the editor: Defunding Planned Parenthood is a bad -- even a dangerous -- idea. Let me explain. Recent data show that the number of abortions in the U.S. has steadily declined and is at an all time low. Abortion opponents presumably will attrib...

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To the editor:

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a bad - even a dangerous - idea. Let me explain.

Recent data show that the number of abortions in the U.S. has steadily declined and is at an all time low. Abortion opponents presumably will attribute that to the increasing restrictions which have been placed on the procedure. They are wrong. The reality is that abortion rates have gone down significantly across the country including large drops in states where access to abortion has not been restricted. The key finding is that there has been a major drop in the number of unintended/unplanned pregnancies. The biggest single contributor to this change is easier access to contraception - especially long acting forms of contraception - much of this delivered by Planned Parenthood and supported by the ACA (Obamacare). A decrease in unwanted pregnancies means fewer abortions.

The importance of access to contraception in determining abortion rates is supported by two recent large studies - one in St. Louis and one in Colorado. In these areas large numbers of low income women were offered free contraception. In both of the areas the numbers of abortions dropped dramatically compared to surrounding communities. This also is consistent with international experience were countries who have made both contraception and abortion freely available have much lower abortion rates than in the U.S.

There are many reasons why defunding Planned Parenthood is a short sighted and misguided policy. The most significant, however, is that it is likely to produce a result exactly opposite of that which the proponents expect/desire - namely an increase in abortion.

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Every abortion is a tragedy. The solution - a solution which both sides in the long running debate should be able to support - is to prevent unintended/undesired pregnancy. Planned Parenthood is key to reaching that goal.

Tom Dean MD

Wessington Springs

Related Topics: ABORTION
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