Abortion Care, Commentary

Anti-Choice “Alternatives” to Planned Parenthood Are Anything But

ncAnti-choice organizations are constantly trying to prove that Planned Parenthood clinics aren’t necessary by creating sites like this one–getyourcare.org–that direct women to clinics that they say provide the same services as Planned Parenthood.

I looked at their options in my Seattle ZIP code, which happens to be the lowest-income ZIP code in the city. Every clinic the “pro-life” group directed me to were run by a single organization, Neighborcare. Many did not provide women’s health care, in some cases for the simple reason that the locations listed as “substitutes” for Planned Parenthood were children’s clinics inside elementary schools.

Neighborcare is a wonderful organization that provides critical services to low-income women and girls, including in-school clinics where teenagers can access sexual health information and birth control. But their clinics simply don’t have the capacity to take on all of Planned Parenthood’s clients in the city of Seattle. And Neighborcare is chronically underfunded. Flooding them with thousands of new low-income clients will only push organizations like Neighborcare further underwater.

Nor does Neighborcare provide abortion services. In 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute, around 22,000 women in Washington state obtained legal abortions from providers like Planned Parenthood. Anti-choice organizations who say women can just “go somewhere else” are not only denying the reality that there aren’t enough publicly subsidized clinics in the nation to take on Planned Parenthood’s work, they’re telling low-income women with unplanned pregnancies that they don’t deserve the same options as those with means. It’s gender and economic discrimination disguised as a well-intentioned effort to offer women “alternatives.”


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