Women deserve better: Students critique Planned Parenthood

By The Beacon | October 14, 2015 2:48pm

by Veronica Nicacio, Jenny Labrousse and Kelsie Smith |

Women’s health care is extremely important. As three college-aged women and members of the Voice for Life Club at UP, we value quality and ethical standards for our health care providers. While Planned Parenthood does provide a number of services to women and families, it lacks in comparison to comprehensive women’s health care. Moreover, Planned Parenthood engages in a number of practices that we, and many Americans, find ethically troubling. We believe in a higher ethical standard and that there are better options for women than Planned Parenthood.  

According to a study by the Alliance Defending Freedom, for every one Planned Parenthood clinic, there are 20 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs) that provide more comprehensive services for low income and urban populations. For instance, FQHCs provide women with mammograms, immunizations and bone mass measurements, all services not provided by Planned Parenthood.

According to Illinois Right to Life, Planned Parenthood clinics in Illinois are not required to be licensed by the state or undergo health and safety inspections. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, some Planned Parenthood clinics do not always have a nurse on call.

In addition to Planned Parenthood’s lack of strong medical services, their general practices raise major ethical concerns. Most importantly, Planned Parenthood is by far the largest abortion provider in the nation. While Planned Parenthood claims that only three percent of their services are abortions, this claim is ambiguous, because what counts as a “service?” Looking at Planned Parenthood’s own numbers, about 30 percent of their total revenue comes from abortion. More to the point, what services does Planned Parenthood actually provide specifically for pregnant women? The truth is, for every one pregnant woman whom they provide with prenatal care or an adoption referral, Planned Parenthood provides 15 women with abortions. If Planned Parenthood really prided itself on empowering women with a true choice, then how could the “services” they provide turn out so lopsided in favor of abortion?

This is where our voices from Voice for Life come in. We do not support the practice of abortion because we believe in upholding the dignity of all persons: women, men and their born and unborn children. Science tells us that, from the moment of conception, what is in a woman’s womb is already a distinct, living and truly human being. Contrary to the very notion of health care, abortion destroys a human life. The FQHCs and CHCs mentioned above do not provide abortions.

Finally, recent events suggest that, in their abortion practices, Planned Parenthood is willing to push ethical and legal boundaries. This only further demands the question: Why should we be spending our taxpayer dollars supporting Planned Parenthood, instead of those clinics that provide higher levels of medical care without the morally questionable practices? While the Hyde Amendment technically prevents taxpayer money from directly funding abortions, any federal funding to Planned Parenthood ultimately props up their profit-making abortion business.

Essentially, we are a pro-life group, aiming to protect human life from conception to natural death. And as such, we are here to provide educational resources, pregnancy support, and an alternative to what people would consider a choice. The University of Portland — as stated in the student handbook, Health Center website, and on the national website entitled “Pregnant on Campus Initiative” — supports women and families in their pregnancy. We aim to provide care for our campus and community.

As members of Voice for Life, we believe that there is a better choice for women than Planned Parenthood. Women deserve better.


Freshman Veronica Nicacio, senior Jenny Labrousse and sophomore Kelsie Smith are members of Voices for Life. They can be reached at nicacio19@up.edu, labrouss16@up.edu, and smitkels18@up.edu or voiceforlifeup@gmail.com.