Wednesday, August 2, 2017

FQHCs are the better alternative to Planned Parenthood

[Today's guest post by Nick L. is part of our paid blogging program.]

It seems that no matter where you turn during your internet browsing, someone is talking about Planned Parenthood. It’s a hot topic and often there seems to be no middle ground; either Planned Parenthood is the best option women have for healthcare or it is the worst option any woman, especially pregnant mothers, can choose from. Those who support Planned Parenthood can’t comprehend how anyone can be against such an organization that claims to “care, no matter what.” Likewise, those who oppose Planned Parenthood can’t understand why anyone would support an organization that promotes the direct killing of a human being.

Here’s the thing that those who support Cecile Richards and her associates need to know about their pro-life friends. Even if we were to accept the bogus claim that only 3% of the services done at Planned Parenthood are abortions, how could one in good conscience support an organization that purposefully ends the lives of human beings? Even if that number was 1% or .5% of the time, the percentage would be too high. Why? Because the vast majority of people in this world consider the purposeful and willful killing of a member of the human race to be immoral and wrong.

Unfortunately, more than a few people (surprisingly, in a culture that has an infatuation with science) reject legitimate, biological science. Principally, they reject the biological fact that a human’s life (like all complex animals) begins at the moment of conception. As soon as the ovum and sperm meet, the two sex cells cease to exist and a member of the species homo sapiens, specifically a zygote, comes into being. A zygote is simply an organism at the earliest stage of human development. Instead of accepting this universal fact, many turn the matter of the beginning of life into a philosophical question and ignore the answer that science has given us.

This is why many people find abortion to be morally repugnant, because it extinguishes a human life. And since Planned Parenthood facilitates this atrocity, those that are pro-life cannot support such an organization, even if it does do some good for American communities. Here’s a simple analogy. Public schools educate our children. They are taught skills that will be valuable to them as they grow up. They learn to read, how to add and subtract, and they learn how to interact with their peers. They also learn to respect authority in the classroom, and are disciplined for acting out of turn, building their character. Public schools do many great things for our children. But what if, every once in a while (let’s say 3% of the time), extreme measures are taken for discipline, and these extreme punishments result in the death of the child? Should we still support such schools? Of course not! This is an injustice and such schools should be denounced despite the fact that 97% of the time they don’t kill a human being. The same is true for the opposition many hold towards Planned Parenthood. An organization such as Planned Parenthood could, theoretically, be doing great things for society 97% of the time; but because they purposefully act to end the lives of innocent human beings 3% of the time, an act commonly defined as murder, every effort should be made to curtail and defund Planned Parenthood so that the destruction of innocent lives (which includes both mother and child) will cease.

Now that we have our reasons for opposing Planned Parenthood out of the way, let’s look at some alternatives. As Secular Pro-Life has noted before, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) “provide affordable care, accept Medicaid, and have vastly more locations than Planned Parenthood in every state.” Many people are spreading the myth that if Planned Parenthood is defunded, then “contraception and breast cancer screenings will no longer be available to low-income women… [which] is misleading the public and discouraging low-income women from getting care that is, in fact, available to them.” In reality, FQHCs outnumber Planned Parenthood locations in America 20 to 1. The state of Alabama is an excellent example. If Planned Parenthood is so important and necessary to the health of American women, how is it that only two Planned Parenthood facilities exist in the state, compared to 234 FQHCs and RHCs located in every Alabama county? It’s clear that Planned Parenthood is not necessary when so many other options for legitimate health care exist. And the best part is, no innocent human beings are killed via abortion in these FQHCs and RHCs.

Despite the information provided in the maps found at the links above, several people still claim that while women may have access to these FQHCs, they will not be able to afford their services. This is verifiably false. Luckily, you don’t have to do the leg work of finding this proof. FQHCs (and RHCs) are required by law to serve all people in their area, regardless of their income and ability to pay. This is made clear in 42 U.S. Code § 254b(k)(3)(G)(iii):
The Center (I) will assure that no patient will be denied health care services due to an individual’s inability to pay for such services; and (II) will assure that any fees or payments required by the center for such services will be reduced or waived to enable the center to fulfill the assurance described in [the above] subclause (I)...
In addition, 42 U.S. Code § 254b(r)(4)(A-B) states:
Rule of construction with respect to rural health clinics:
(A) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a community health center [an FQHC] from contracting with a Federally certified rural health clinic [an RHC]... for the delivery of primary health care services that are available at the clinic or hospital to individuals who would otherwise be eligible for free or reduced cost care if that individual were able to obtain that care at the community health center...
(B) In order for a clinic or hospital to receive funds under this section through a contract with a community health center under subparagraph (A), such clinic or hospital shall establish policies to ensure—
(i) nondiscrimination based on the ability of a patient to pay; and
(ii) the establishment of a sliding fee scale for low-income patients.
Planned Parenthood also uses a sliding fee scale to make sure that all their clients are served. More information on what a sliding fee scale actually is, as well as more specific info on services provided at FQHCs, can be found here.

If one takes the time to learn more about FQHCs, it can clearly be seen that there are better alternatives to Planned Parenthood. That is, alternatives that do not include abortion. To find a FQHC near you, please visit this link and spread the word that other options exist. Planned Parenthood is not the only answer.

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