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Planned Parenthood offers needed services

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2005

This letter is in response to the letter from Mr. Brown of San Diego, Calif., who believes the services of Planned Parenthood are not needed by the state of Alaska.

Mr. Brown might be right about his opinion that Alaskans do not need the services of Planned Parenthood. His idea of starting more pregnancy crisis centers is a valid one. After all, we do have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country here in Alaska.

We also have the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases here (per capita). We are No. 1 in the country for the spread of chlamydia. We are also No. 1 in the country for teenagers being raped or molested by relatives or family friends. Some of these rapes result in pregnancies.

Pregnancy termination isn't the only service Planned Parenthood provides. It also provides screenings for STDs, counseling to rape and molestation victims, much-needed education on how to keep yourself and your sexual health safe, free condoms to prevent the spread of deadly diseases, and even help in finding proper adoption sources if a woman chooses to give her child up for adoption.

I think it's wise to note that these services are not just for teenagers. I know many adults who need education as well. I can't tell you how many times in my 20-plus years of counseling women on their reproductive health that I've heard from a 30- or 40-year-old woman that she had no idea what a cervix was. Or how many 13-year-olds I've met who were pregnant with the baby of their own brother. Perhaps if the brother could have been educated on why this is wrong on every level, the molestation wouldn't have taken place.

We do have public health clinics here in Alaska that screen for STDs and help with pregnancy questions. But our state government here is bent on eliminating such programs from the budget.

Crisis pregnancy centers would indeed help Alaska solve one of its problems. Perhaps Mr. Brown can offer us some ideas to help solve some of our other problems up here in Alaska. Maybe our alcoholism rate or our suicide rate?

I'd certainly love to hear anyone's suggestions to solve our problems, but I feel it's a waste of time to blindly criticize Planned Parenthood.

April Carpenter

Juneau



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