Meeting Report

September 18, 2011

Raquel Simenthal

Attacks on Choice and Planned Parenthood

A capacity audience of at least thirty people gathered in the Fahs room to hear Raquel Simental’s presentation on actions being taken by the anti-choice movement in the United States. As Public Affairs Director of our regional Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Ms. Simental is well informed on the subject.

Basically, those groups that oppose women’s right to choose abortion, frustrated by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, are doing all they can to make obtaining abortion services difficult. This includes attempts at the federal level to defund Planned Parenthood (the nation’s biggest abortion provider), as well as similar attempts in various states. In addition, laws have been enacted at the state level to add onerous requirements to the practice, such as lengthy waiting periods, mandatory ultrasound imaging, and “counseling,” among others.

Planned Parenthood’s tack in the face of this onslaught is, according to Ms. Simental, “a three-legged stool”: medical services; education and outreach; and advocacy.

Advocacy is necessary, considering that 30% of Planned Parenthood’s income comes from federal and state funding.

Contrary to the negative propaganda generated by the anti-choice movement, only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s resources go to providing abortion services. The vast majority of their budget is expended on other services such as counseling and, most important, providing medical care to the needy who don’t have access to other means. Obviously, eliminating health services for “the least among us” would not only be cruel but also economically unsound, as studies show that each dollar expended on preventive care saves three dollars down the line.

The audience’s questions at the end of the presentation, as well as the number of people who stayed to chat with our guest, are measures of the great interest we all have in this important subject. Thank you, Raquel Simental, for your excellent work!

Report prepared by Roger Zabkie, Secretary

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