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COLUMN: Planned Parenthood Logan: Not baby killers

The Book of Paul

columnist

Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 00:02

As a columnist, I pride myself on the controversial topics I choose to cover. My job is to ruffle feathers and make people think. If I'm not making someone feel just a little uneasy, I haven't done my job.

What's unique to my situation is the bevy of hot-button issues I can choose from and the many different people I can potentially offend. We have a unique demographical situation in northern Utah and here at USU. Many locales throughout the country can be split into opposing political and ideological factions based heavily on age — a younger, liberal generation versus an aging conservative group.

No, we are somewhat unique. Our rival factions are each populated by individuals of all ages, sexes and backgrounds. It's truly fascinating to look at, and it provides me with an ever-present opportunity to upset people while rallying for the causes of others.

This instance will be no different, I assure you.

Some people, as they are wont to do when speaking about things they know little about, will split the finest of hairs. Most recently, letters to this publication's editor came pouring in based upon one staff writer's choice to use the word "philanthropic" to describe the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, specifically an annual fundraiser for a local clinic.

Those who wrote their criticisms of the writer were concerned about the "misleading" use of this single word to describe an organization that single-handedly kills vast amounts of unborn children every year. But these individuals obviously hadn't done their homework before lashing out. Being someone who needs fact provided to them before making an informed a decision — you know, a journalist. Or someone with common sense — about this topic, I've done a little research.

The branch of Planned Parenthood found here in Logan does not provide abortions or kill babies. It does provide "informed consent" to women who may be considering terminating a pregnancy for whatever reason. They are provided with accurate information about all abortion procedures, given the option to watch an educational video developed by the Utah Department of Health and offered the chance to view an ultrasound of their unborn child.

Planned Parenthood of Logan also provides information about any other options available to the mother, including adoption. The mother is then referred to a licensed physician who can legally — yes, it's still legal in Utah and throughout the country — provide the procedure.

But it isn't as if the pregnant individual can then drive a distance, hit up a back-alley clinic and be done with it all within the same day. Utah has a law that requires those seeking abortions to wait a mandatory 72-hour period before an abortion can take place.

Planned Parenthood of Logan simply provides information to those who seek it. It doesn't involve any big conspiracy or speakeasy process where an illegal act is carried out on location, and those who work at the clinic aren't bloodthirsty individuals who encourage all patients to have abortions. They offer a full spectrum of information. Yes, I know that information scares a lot of us in Utah, but I assure you, my fellow Aggies, knowledge won't corrupt you or lead you astray.

The Logan clinic offers a variety of tests, educational means and health care options. It provides affordable testing, treatment and vaccines for expensive and debilitating sexually-transmitted diseases, testing for HIV, birth control and contraception options — you know, those pesky precautions that could ultimately prevent an individual from having to ever consider having an abortion — pregnancy tests and information about general sexual and reproductive health for both men and women.

The clinic further focuses on women's health issues by offering physicals, breast exams and cervical screenings to check for cancers that are leading causes of death in women who are left untreated.

While some critics of those who associate philanthropy with the Logan Planned Parenthood clinic base their opinions on a dictionary definition that says philanthropists have "good will towards all men" and are "directed to a general good," I'd respond with a larger definition — one that seems to have been deliberately ignored in order to frame the issue a certain way.

As a print journalist, words are my livelihood. I know their importance, but you have to look at the entire picture — the sum of an object’s parts that make up the whole — before you can take value in any meaning.

The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines philanthropy as an "active effort to promote human welfare" and "an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purpose." It seems to me that Planned Parenthood does exactly this by providing information, education and treatment regarding sexual health.

And with the average number of children per household in this great state fast approaching double digits, perhaps it's time for those Christian soldiers moving onward to get some information on birth control. I know a place where that's possible.

Paul is the former features editor of The Utah Statesman and is a senior majoring in print journalism. Send any comments to paul.r.christiansen@aggiemail.usu.edu. 

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