Letter to the Editor

PP fills vital need

Friday, October 9, 2015

In the past few years the infant mortality rate in the United States declined from 6.1 to 5.96 deaths per 1,000 births. In spite of this decline, our infant mortality rate is still higher than the average rate of 3.6 found in Western Europe and Canada. One of the chief characteristics of these other countries' health-care systems is universal coverage.

Without universal coverage, organizations such as Planned Parenthood fill a vital need in the delivery of health care to the women of this country, particularly the ones who do not have private insurance coverage.

In 2013, the most recent year for which numbers are available, Planned Parenthood provided over 10.2 million instances of services. Grouped loosely these can be divided into the following categories: 4.5 million instances of treatment and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, 3.6 million instances of providing contraception services, 1.1 million instances of pregnancy testing and prenatal services, 0.9 million cancer screenings and prevention services, plus 0.3 million instances of abortion. No Federal funds were used or spent to provide these abortions.

Planned Parenthood has been criticized for providing fetal tissue for research. In this regard, it should be remembered that fetal tissue played a part in the development of vaccines for such diseases as chickenpox, rubella, shingles, rabies, hepatitis A and polio. They are presently being used in experiments for the treatment of Parkinson Disease and spinal cord injuries.

I would suggest that for these reasons, federal funding for Planned Parenthood should continue.

JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau