Depending on whom you ask, Planned Parenthood is a vital provider of women’s health services, or an organization bent of the destruction of human life. Advocates of the latter viewpoint may have derived some fuel for fire from the recent news that a local Planned Parenthood chapter has ended its affiliation with the nationwide nonprofit organization rather than provide abortions.
The clinics in Oneonta, Walton, Norwich and elsewhere in the region have chosen to operate independently, rather than follow a Planned Parenthood directive that all clinics offer abortions.
Planned Parenthood of South Central New York is one of only a handful of affiliates to leave the organization since the decision was made in 2010 to standardize services at all PP clinics. The decision made national news, with some anti-abortion advocates calling it a positive sign.
When asked why the group made the move, Executive Director Deb Marcus explained: “We are a small organization. We want to use our limited resources to continue to focus on prevention. … We don’t want to take our limited resources and duplicate services that already exist.”
Given that the nearest abortion provider to Oneonta, Norwich or Walton is in Vestal, we don’t entirely agree with Marcus’ statement. But we fervently hope the network — which will be known as Family Planning of South Central New York starting in March — will be able to sustain the services it has offered (which have never included abortions).
The centers offer pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease testing, as well as birth control and pelvic exams, on a sliding-fee scale to ensure that they are affordable. No insurance is required, or referral from a primary care physician.
These services are of great value to our area, and deserve to continue to receive the support they always have. As Marcus explained, the local clinics receive no funding support from Planned Parenthood and rely on local donations. But we fear that the lack of name recognition may present an uphill struggle for the newly branded organization.