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I Stand with Planned Parenthood

By Kari Ann Rinker
Advocacy | April 23, 2011

WICHITA, Kan. - A few committed students from Wichita State University took it upon themselves to organize a rally in support of Planned Parenthood. They were compelled to do so as they watched the recent national and state attempts to defund the organization that is often the only access point to obtain low cost reproductive health care for many low income college students and other low income women within their community.

Shanna Kay Crowe contacted me and asked me to speak at the rally. I accepted and was inspired to see so many men and women across all spectrum of age, gathered to voice support for this important organization. Local media covered the event and gave great exposure to this great cause. Several people commented on the speech I gave, so I have included its text below.

I am glad to see all of you here! Your presence is important, your voices are necessary, just like Planned Parenthood's services are necessary. I am State Coordinator for the Kansas National Organization for Women. My organization stands with Planned Parenthood as we advocate for the rights of women and their families to be free to make personal medical decisions without unnecessary and politically motivated intrusions.

This attempted defund of Planned Parenthood is not new to us in Kansas. We saw it attempted in the last legislative session. The vote was hard to comprehend. We saw Democrats and Republicans alike, line up, eager to strip 150,000 low income women of a vital access point to prevent unwanted pregnancies, receive affordable pap smears and the treatment and prevention of STD's. Their "yea" votes were a direct attack on the ideals of equality and economic justice. Thankfully, we had Governor Parkinson in office and he line item vetoed the budget proviso. I'm afraid that we won't be so fortunate this time around.

I'll tell you what they should be doing in Topeka, they should be looking for ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies.... but they are not. Instead, they are busy orchestrating continuous legislative attacks against women's health care. These attacks serve them well. These attacks are attention grabbing, reactionary devices used to advance their personal political agendas. This handy political tool has real life consequences that contribute to the continued struggle for many women of various circumstances, but most profoundly the poor and the uninsured.

What they should be doing in Topeka is increasing funding for family planning, increasing access points for family planning services and sex education for youth. But instead of finding common ground in these pregnancy prevention initiatives, women continue to find increasing obstacles, increasing hostility, outright denial and lies. In Washington's recent budget fight where Planned Parenthood funding was inserted into the debate, GOP Senator Jon Kyl stated that "well over 90% of Planned Parenthood's services are related to abortion", when in fact it is only 3%.

These roadblocks toward common sense preventive solutions are the result of a fractured political system, a political system where elected officials are increasingly concerned with their personal short-term political gains, rather than the long-term well being of society as a whole. Poor women in need of reproductive health care do not wield the influence that the pro-life movement and religious groups do. The lack of empathy for women in need of low cost reproductive health care is but one part of the bigger problem, which is the overall lack of empathy for women and the poor.

We know that upper class women will still receive their birth control. Upper class women will still have the freedom to decide if, when and how often have children. Upper class women will have access to safe, affordable, and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice.

And as we ponder income, it is important to ask... what is the cost of an untended pregnancy? Publicly funded family planning clinics generated net public savings of at least $5.1 billion in Medicaid expenditures. Each dollar spent to provide family planning services saves Kansas an estimated $6.14 that would otherwise be spent in Medicaid-related costs. These fiscal discussions don't make headlines or grab the public's attention quite like a good ol' abortion debate.

Something else you won't hear is a discussion of the social cost of unintended pregnancies. According to recent Kansas Action for Children data, 40% of Kansas kids are growing up in low-income or poverty stricken households. Additional social costs of unintended pregnancy can be measured in unintended births, reduced educational opportunity, greater welfare dependency, and increased potential for child abuse and neglect.

Behind closed doors, something I often hear coming from many legislators Topeka is an expressed appreciation for our advocacy on behalf of women, but then they hide behind the stated "will of the people" or listening to the desires of their constituency. Well, the "will of the people" is most often the will of the richest people, the will of the powerful people, the will of the loudest people.

It is time for you to be LOUD!! We must show them that the true public interest is what benefits society as a whole, not just the moral subjective declarations of a bullying, often violent faction of society. We MUST continue to stand up to those that believe that they can win through intimidation, through harassment and the misuse of their political power. Call them up and call them out! Let them know you support access to low cost reproductive health care, let them know you support equality of opportunity, let them know you support Planned Parenthood.



You say NOW supports Planned Parenthood but I really have to ask why you give your full support behind an organization which has some serious flaws (exposeplannedparenthood.net).

Question: Has Kansas NOW ever really held Planned Parenthood's feet to the fire? Have they ever questioned any of their practices or methods? Does NOW look into allegations of wrongdoing? Does NOW look over PP's books and finances to see how money is used?

Are you Kari, 100% sure the Wichita Planned Parenthood clinic in which you made that speech in support of, has never broken any laws, covered up any incidents of incest or abuse, told a young woman to lie about her age, or failed to report suspected cases of abuse?

I've seen alot of things on the web about PP and I've begun to question the organization.

Does NOW?

Or do they just give blank checks?

Kari--Thanks for speaking out. I wanted to be there, but I had an previous commitment that I couldn't get out of. We need to speak up all the time in support of Planned Parenthood and the work it does. As a NOW member, I too stand with Planned Parenthood.

Brad--What are your sources? As a retired English instructor I never allowed my students to say they got their information "off the web." They had to cite names, dates, and sources from which the sources they cited got their information. Some sources are more credible than others. For example, that young man and his cohort who went into a Planned Parenthood office posing as a pimp and a prostitute manipulated the video to make it seem that the receptionist was breaking the law. He did the same thing with the executive from NPR. How credible is that man as a source? Not very. Senator Jon Kyl just out and out lied about Planned Parenthood in a speech on the Senate floor.

The Planned Parenthood in Wichita provides many services, including health screening, given women--and men--information to avoid unwanted pregnancies, thus avoiding the need for abortions, holding informational seminars for mothers and daughters, and many other services for low income women. The clinic in Wichita does not do abortions.

Come up with your sources before you make any claims about Planned Parenthood. That's the only way anyone can judge the validity of your claims.

I have used planned parenthood's services several times. Birth Control in College, and also when I was having a miscarriage. They were the ONLY Doctor's office that would squeeze me in on a Friday. They were the only Doctor's office that gave me advice and support. I cannot express how important that was at the time. Planned Parenthood has MY full support because of MY experiences there!


Would you give a restaurant a rave review if you had never eaten the food, but only because of the reputation of being good?

If no, why would you give a clinic the performs services that affect the very lives of people a free pass?

I truly understand your fear of seeing the laws return to pre-Roe Vs. Wade status (as do I. But that does not excuse giving all abortion providers unquestioning support. To do so only invites problems. I know over the years I've been burned by some groups and people I've supported.

Over the years there have been several sources of information concerning misdeeds by Planned Parenthood. The site exposeplannedparenthood.net is only one source. One expose called the Mona Lisa project, even had Planned Parenthood's national office firing some people and having to do some policy changes. How do we know the Wichita office is clean?

As for abortion, you say the Wichita office doesnt do them but they do refer women to clinics that do. Can you tell me how PP checks out those clinics to make sure they are not breaking any laws and pass health and safety guidelines?

People should ask questions and demand accountability.

Brad--I checked out your sites. The exposeplanned parenthood site doesn't say much except to repeat the lie that tax payer dollars pay for abortions. This isn't true. Tax payer dollars pay for women's health care excdept for abortion--period. This site is also suspect because it has the discredited video of the pretend pimp coming in with a prostitute. That video has been discredited many times by many sources, as has the phone call regarding underage girls. The Susan B. Anthony group is an extremist anti-choice group. Their goal is to end legal abortion altogether.

As for the Mona Lisa project I know nothing about it, so I won't comment on it. This much I do know. I see no reason for Planned Parenthood not to report underage abuse. I also know Dr. Tiller was constantly accused of the same thing. It wasn't true. He did report sexual abuse of his underage patients and often had to be a witness in trials for the perpetrators.

I do know about Planned Parenthood because I've volunteered there on occasion. I also know people who use their services. Why shouldn't Planned Parenthood refer women to abortion providers if that's what those women want? It's not against the law to do that.

I've already told you that all clinics in Kansas are governed by the same law, whether they provide abortions or not.

If you've been burned by groups you had faith in, maybe you need to do more research before you join those groups. I don't join or support groups unless I know everything about them.

You already have your mind made up. If anyone in your family ever needs the services of Planned Parenthood, then you will realize how important those services are.

Diane, Thats much better. You recommend a group based on personal experience and I guess, some research, instead of just giving support because they agree with your views or maybe some NOW people work there.

This whole thing comes down to the title of Kari's speech "I stand behind Planned Parenthood". Which most of her arguements dealt with statistics, not what criteria her and NOW used to determine that Wichita PP was indeed an organization one should support.

Are PP's books ever been audited? Does Kansas NOW ever ask hard questions to PP staff like who gets paid what or where money goes? Nothing like that is ever mentioned.

Again, people should ask questions and demand accountability.

Finally I wasnt aware that Tiller reported abuses or testified in cases of abuse.

The KC Star said PP would lose $300,000.

While I disagree with PP I dont think $300k is too much to ask the state for considering their people are taxpayers also.

Considering as well that it will cost the state more if women have children they can't afford to care for and end up using taxpayer-funded welfare benefits. Providing contraception and other low-cost health benefits is cheap compared to the cost of raising a child. I know this because I'm the mother of three children. I had to resort to food stamps and Medicaid even when I was working full time when my kids were young.

The Planned Parenthood funding situation in the state legislature is more a matter of ideology than it is of saving money.

Diane, what is wrong with abstinence?
Birth control begins long before conception.
Call it intercourse control, abstinence until capable of providing materially and psychologically for the children.

To Francis, call it being stunned by your lack of empathy, but you are offering an alternative that doesn't coincide with real life. My mother was married to a slacker, and ended up getting divorced. She had 3 mouths to feed. Her option of abstinence ended with the antediluvian thought that she must cleave unto her husband, not to mention the all time favorite "breed and multiply".

Believe it or not, children being born out of wedlock is not uncommon ALL through history. Call it blaspheme, but Jesus was also conceived out of wedlock (immaculately, but out of wedlock). And if Mary would have waited until she could afford the pregnancy, then your passé ideaology would be non-existant.

I also submit to you that these religions that encourage abstinence, are creating ignorant children that think that temptation is easy to resist. And if EVERYBODY waited until they were capable of providing materially for a family, then only the very rich would have children.

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