U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's vote to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood will not help families, and it will not actually save public money. Parents are the first to realize that rearing healthy, well-educated children is costly. Planned Parenthood is committed to healthy families, mothers, fathers and children.
Sex may be casual, but parenthood should not be. The educational efforts of Planned Parenthood emphasize the importance of planning. Responsible parents seek help with family planning because they are aware of the costs of raising a family. For teens, an important question is, "What are the consequences of unprotected sex?" An unintended pregnancy can disrupt families and can shape the course of lives. A sexually transmitted disease can become a lifelong burden.
Contrary to Wilson's hopes, diminishing Planned Parenthood by cutting its budget and services will neither reduce the number of abortions nor save public money. Reducing access to planning services and contraceptives will lead to more unintended pregnancies and, consequently, more abortions. More unintended pregnancies and births will increase health care and education expenses that will be borne by the public.
As current law prohibits use of federal dollars for abortions, eliminating funding of Planned Parenthood will not directly affect clinical abortions (less than 10 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget). Without Planned Parenthood, there will be fewer safe abortions, not fewer abortions.
Wilson should focus on real solutions, not ill-conceived attacks on Planned Parenthood.