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Web letter by Judith L. Harris: Local ideologues block women’s access to health care

Good came out of the initial decision by the Susan G. Komen Foundation to defund Planned Parenthood. Those who honestly care about true women’s health and were astute enough to determine the political gamesmanship took immediate steps to expose the total disregard for women’s health that was carried out. They were also broad-minded enough to understand Planned Parenthood is devoted to protecting women’s health by providing care and services that respect a woman’s right and dominion in making personal and private decisions regarding reproduction that should be hers and hers alone. A woman who abused her position was outed.

A source for the Huffington Post revealed that, “Karen Handel, vice president of the Komen Foundation, was the prime instigator of this effort, and she herself personally came up with the investigation criteria. She said, if we just say it’s about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political.” Handel expressed her strong anti-abortion views when she campaigned for governor of Georgia. She believed she had the right and privilege to exploit her power and position in an institution where personal prejudices should be left at home.

There are similar anti-choice instigators occupying Fort Wayne who strategically undermine access to reproductive health services and access to reproductive health education provided by Planned Parenthood. These ringleaders who control the funding sought by social service agencies sit on boards, hold elected positions, work in the media and universities and own businesses. They allude to those organizations, seeking financial support that any affiliation or collaboration with Planned Parenthood could affect their handouts. In Fort Wayne, the agencies that depend on their funding submit to their tyranny.

What the ideologues and agencies fail to acknowledge is it is the women of Fort Wayne who rely on their social service and health care agency support who are wronged. They are denied reduced-cost health care, unbiased education about family planning, and their children are denied comprehensive sexuality education, all because Planned Parenthood is a villain in the narrow minds of those who believe they are right, and they choose to abuse their might by holding the purse strings.

Someone had the courage to tell the truth about Handel and exposed the chicanery at the Komen Foundation. It is time that exposures take place here in Fort Wayne so the women of this community are provided with full information and unobstructed services in reproductive health. Missionary attitudes and funding that only supports personal ideological agendas do not meet those in need of health and social services where they are, but instead, meets them in the mind of those from a position of power and privilege who want to convert rather than assist.

JUDITH L. HARRIS

Fort Wayne

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