I am writing in support of Planned Parenthood. There is a movement underway by our fellow citizens to encourage Congress to defund this organization. And while I can appreciate the concerns of others about the abortion issue, Planned Parenthood is so much more than that.
Twice in the past 40 years, Planned Parenthood was there for a female family member. The first time was when my mother needed a PAP smear (cervical cancer screening). As an underemployed divorcee and single parent, she could not afford the employer sponsored insurance premium. She needed every penny she could earn to maintain the basic necessities of life for our family and sacrificed her access to medical care to do so. My mother approached Planned Parenthood when she first began having unusual bleeding. This organization provided her the screening she needed free of cost to her and when the test showed stage 2 cancer, found resources for her continuing care. I am fully convinced my mother would not have lived to my adulthood had she not had Planned Parenthood and its services available.
The second occurrence was with a beloved aunt. Widowed at age 40 and with two pre-adolescent children to care for, she rejoined the workforce. While she had employer sponsored healthcare, it did not cover preventive screenings. When my aunt discovered a lump in her breast, she sought assistance from Planned Parenthood. She simply could not afford out-of-pocket costs for the mammogram. The screening was positive. Early and free screening by Planned Parenthood prevented delayed diagnosis and care for my aunt. She lived to age 75.
I would ask my fellow citizens who read this letter to give thought to the whole of the Planned Parenthood mission before calling for defunding. The next person who seeks help from Planned Parenthood might just be their mother, aunt, daughter or granddaughter.
And, if one is already a supporter of Planned Parenthood, consider donating a small amount to them each month. If government defunding occurs, private donations will be critical to maintaining their mission. Last, call or write Congressman Carter and Senators Isakson and Perdue to voice your disagreement to Planned Parenthood defunding.