Last Sunday, we were informed of a demonstration at the Vienna Health Center, a Planned Parenthood facility, set for today. Planned Parenthood is a major target for pro-life advocates who seek to ban or greatly limit abortion services. However, Planned Parenthood is not the only abortion provider in the U.S., nor do detractors consider the benefits that Planned Parenthood can have on communities. This demonstration against Planned Parenthood is misdireted.
The Vienna Health Center happens to be the only Planned Parenthood facility in West Virginia. Perhaps, ironically, the facility doesn't even provide abortions. It only has the authority to recommend abortion providers, primarily in Charleston. The supposed "greater evil" of Planned Parenthood isn't an issue in West Virginia. Even if Planned Parenthood had diabolical intentions, they do an awful amount of good for the community. They provide STD testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, options for birth control, cervical and colon cancer screenings, breast examinations, routine physicals, counseling and adoption referrals, and more. They even provide general health care, including vaccinations and screenings for cholesterol and diabetes. Is this the truly the face of evil? I think not.
Abortion is going to become a fierce topic in West Virginia in the upcoming legislative session. The debate on abortion aside, we must think about the health services that facilities like the Vienna Health Center, and Planned Parenthood itself, offer. Abortions only account for an estimated 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's activities. With West Virginia's teen pregnancy rate the 10th highest in the nation, sexually active teens and adults could benefit from the educational and contraceptive services that organizations like Planned Parenthood provide.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Atheists and Humanists will be present from noon to 4 p.m. to counter-protest and to provide a dissenting opinion from that of the pro-life protesters. MOVAH supports Planned Parenthood and the Vienna Health Center for their ongoing efforts to provide health and educational services to communities and people in need. MOVAH will also host informal discussions on ethics and women's health issues before and after the counter-protest, which will take place from 2-3 p.m. to coincide with the scheduled pro-life protest.