Anti-Planned Parenthood tour coming to campus Wednesday

Anti-Planned+Parenthood+tour+coming+to+campus+Wednesday

By Diamond Jones, Daily Egyptian

The Students for Life of America, the nation’s largest anti-abortion organization, will host a presentation at the Student Center on Wednesday about alternatives to Planned Parenthood for women’s health services.

The event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. is open to the public. 

Kristan Hawkins, who has been president of organization since 2006, said Planned Parenthood isn’t needed. She believes taxpayer money should fund community health centers instead of subsidizing a billion-dollar organization that “uses women for profit.”

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“While last year’s undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives touting the horrific business practice of harvesting the body parts of aborted babies and selling them for profit made news for months and the U.S Congress did pass a bill to defund the abortion giant, they are still being funded by taxpayers with over half a billion dollars a year,” said Hawkins, who has helped expand a number of anti-abortion groups on college campuses.

The videos in question taken by the Center for Medical Progress allegedly showed executives discussing the use of aborted fetuses’ tissues. However, the videos were later found to be edited, and a Texas grand jury indicted CMP’s founder and one videographer while declining to indict Planned Parenthood, according to NBC News.

But Hawkins said she prefers Federally Qualified Health Centers because they provide more comprehensive health care services and give local communities an increase in jobs and economic benefits to help less fortunate communities.

Julie Lynn, Planned Parenthood’s manager of external affairs for Illinois, said her organization also helps poor communities because it does not turn away patients who aren’t able to afford services.

“Many people are unaware that Planned Parenthood’s Public Policy department has played key roles in getting certain legislation passed,” she said.

Still, at least one student organization is supporting Students for Life of America’s event at SIU.

Kasey Schwartz, president of Saluki Respect Life, the university’s anti-abortion group, said the goal of her group is to support pregnant and parenting students with its Pregnant On Campus program.

“We are hoping to conduct fundraisers where the proceeds will create a scholarship fund for pregnant and parenting students,” the graduate student said in an email. 

Regan Nielsen, midwest regional coordinator for the Students for Life of America, said Saluki Respect Life invited the display to the school. She said she was impressed with the male and female students involved with the group and how they help their communities.

Saluki Respect Life has held events to help mothers with newborns, but Nielsen said the event on Wednesday will be its biggest event yet.

“Our ultimate goal of being a part of pro-life is to spread awareness to truth of abortion,” Nielsen said. “We want to let people know that abortion doesn’t have to be the only option. With Planned Parenthood, they’re constantly hurting women when women deserve better.”

However, Lynn denied these allegations. She said the type of care Planned Parenthood provides empowers patients to make decisions for themselves about their own body. 

Lynn said “pro-life” groups do not recognize the many services Planned Parenthood provides other than abortions, such as STI testing and treatment, sex education, annual exams, breast cancer screenings and sexual health services for men. 

“With Planned Parenthood we want to provide quality reproductive health care without judgment and with respect,” she said. 

Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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