Planned Parenthood has garnered a negative image in some people eyes, but Plattsburgh State students can benefit from the services they have to offer, especially since one of its health care centers is just down the block.

Planned Parenthood provides health care, education and advocacy for men and women of all ages in over 750 centers across the United States. Locations offer contraception, which includes birth control, emergency contraception and condoms. They also offer screenings, such as STD, STI, HIV/AIDS, breast and ovarian cancer and pap smears. The biggest cause of recent controversy is, however, abortion services.

Those in the Senate and running for legislative and executive positions against the actions of Planned Parenthood are in support of the institution losing their government funding.

Director of Community Relations at Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York Katie Ramus said the funding the group receives from the government does not subsidize abortions.

“It is really frustrating that we are being used as a political football,” Ramus said.

The controversy has gone as far as members of the Republican Party requesting to remove a bust of Margaret Sanger, a founder of Planned Parenthood, from all Smithsonian properties because she was in favor of contraception “to control minority populations,” according to a statement made by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on the Washington Examiner.

One-in-5 women have used the services Planned Parenthood offers at least once in her life, according to plannedparenthood.org. Ramus said 80 percent of the patients are 18 to 39 years old, which includes college students, people in entry-level positions and people who contribute to their community. Fifty percent of appointments are considered “problem visits,” meaning the patient has an infection, disease or symptom, which call for immediate health care attention.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, and Monsignor Dennis Duprey, of St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh, said that is enough to cut its funding.

Duprey said abortion doesn’t fall under the category of health care. To the church, it isn’t considered a medical emergency but only in “very rare” occurrences.

“It’s a justice question,” Duprey said. “The fetus is already produced and is a human life after conception. The biology is impeccable and shows that the fetus is already a life.”

The Susan B. Anthony political action committee’s mission is to help pro-life women get elected into Congress.

The committee claims there are many reasons the government should defund Planned Parenthood, according to their website, sba-list.org.

President Obama and Senate Democrats support shutting down the federal government to ensure Planned Parenthood continues to receive funding, according to the website. It also states that the organization is in no need for federal funding, more funding would cause more abortions through its clinics and it shouldn’t be a considered a primary care provider because it doesn’t provide mammograms.

Ramus said someone cannot predict the gravity of what would happen if Planned Parenthood lost its government funding. She said almost half of their revenue comes from government grants.

“It would be detrimental to our community,” Ramus said.

What does their funding go toward?

During the fiscal year, ending in June 2014, Planned Parenthood affiliates received $528.4 million, according to an article in the Washington Post. That money was a combination of state, federal and sometimes local government dollars. The article states federal funding is the biggest portion of Planned Parenthood’s budget and is critical to its operation.

By law, none of this funding can go toward abortions.

Abortions were calculated to be 3 percent of the services used at their health centers, according to its 2013-2014 annual report. STI and STD testing and treatment comprises the most frequently used services, at 42 percent in the same fiscal year.

To support the institution, people of the Plattsburgh community and Plattsburgh State students, including junior Azure Arnot, stood with Planned Parenthood for “Pink Out Plattsburgh” Sept. 29.

“We were trying to raise awareness to the community about how important Planned Parenthood is and to see how much support we had in the community,” Arnot said. “We had really positive responses.”

That day, groups of men and women in Plattsburgh and Watertown, New York, held signs, including ones saying “I stand with Planned Parenthood,” “Honk for PP” and “Stop the war on women,” in protest and awareness of the current controversy.

She doesn’t agree with what some politicians actions to defund the organization.

“I don’t think that anyone else’s opinions are better than anyone else’s,” Arnot said. “So why is a conservative man’s opinion weighed more than mine?”

As a community advocate in Wilson Hall, she said Planned Parenthood is a great off-campus resource for students and that people from the Plattsburgh location visit the campus to educate the students in her building about safe sex and contraception.

Arnot said the government should consider the benefits that Planned Parenthood has for the community.

“It is outstanding that this is still happening in 2015,” Ramus said. “Many Americans are on our side, and hopefully they continue to stand behind us.”

Email Lisa Scivolette at fuse@cardinalpointsonline.com

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