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COMMENTARY: Is Planned Parenthood really part of the solution?

By Bruce Becker, chair of the Sanctity of Life Committee, Church of St. Mary

Alexandria, MN

In a commentary several weeks ago ("Planned Parenthood is part of solution," Sept. 8), the writer adopts a generous attitude but avoids a painful reality: Planned Parenthood ends the lives of thousands of unborn children in Minnesota every year.

While it's true that Planned Parenthood provides some services, the number of clients served last year was at a five-year low. In 2010, there were 25 Planned Parenthood facilities in the state; last year only 17 remained. Its Alexandria site is open just 12 hours a week.

The writer takes comfort in knowing that abortions are not performed in Alexandria. This same

organization, however, ends the lives of 5,600 preborn children every year in St. Paul. Would the discovery that your next-door neighbor abuses children — but is only doing so at the family cabin in another county — cause you to dismiss the abuse and praise him because he also supports local youth organizations? Of course not.

The writer credits Planned Parenthood for the steep drop in abortions performed on minors. The facts are that minor abortions peaked in 1980. A law was then passed requiring parents to be notified that their minor daughter was considering an abortion. With parental involvement, abortions declined.

Planned Parenthood filed suit to stop the law, and the numbers increased again while the law was on hold. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Minnesota's law in 1990 and put it back into effect, abortions on minors once more began to decline. Life-affirming laws are reducing the number of abortions, not Planned Parenthood.

Sadly, the only growth evident from Planned Parenthood's annual reports is in abortion and revenue. While state abortion numbers fell from 14,000 to just under 10,000 in the last 10 years, Planned Parenthood increased its abortions by 54 percent. It now performs 57 percent of all abortions (5,629 abortions last year) in Minnesota at its single abortion facility in St. Paul. It also took in a record $5.3 million in state and federal government funds last year. Its annual revenue nearly doubled (from 2006 to 2016) to more than $41 million. Planned Parenthood relies heavily on Medicaid and public funding.

Fewer clients given fewer services at fewer locations, but more abortions and increased revenues. Is this reason to celebrate the work of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota?

We are the Sanctity of Life group within our local Catholic parish. It is clear the writer has a heart for the disadvantaged. We, too, share her sentiments in protecting our underprivileged neighbors but we believe that this can be accomplished without aiding an organization that destroys innocent life. This is a human rights issue, one that deals with our intrinsic nature of being created in the image and likeness of God as human beings. Regardless of one's religious views, without the fundamental right to live, all other human rights are meaningless.