Mr. Amstutz, Please Do Not Defund Planned Parenthood

By

November 5, 2015

Dear Representative Ron Amstutz,

In light of the Ohio Senate’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood, the Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Wooster, Ohio voted unanimously at its stated meeting on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 to urge you to abandon the politically motivated efforts focused on undermining women's access to Planned Parenthood health centers in Ohio. We, as a community of faith, are writing you this letter as our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA) calls on us as individual congregations to fulfill our “responsibility to provide public witness and to offer guidance, counsel, and support to those who make or interpret laws and public policies about abortion and problem pregnancies[1].”

As a congregation on the College of Wooster campus, we enthusiastically support governmental funding for Planned Parenthood because these funds are entirely used to provide medical care for the disadvantaged and underserved.  We believe everyone has a right to quality medical care, including the women served by Planned Parenthood. None of the funding supplied by the State of Ohio is used to provide abortion services. 

There seems to be some notion that defunding Planned Parenthood will somehow stop abortions.  The fact is the opposite.  No organization does more to stop abortions than Planned Parenthood with the reproductive services they provide to their patients.  Without Planned Parenthood, there would be far more unwanted pregnancies resulting in more abortions.  Eliminating the part of Planned Parenthood that provides safe, legal abortions would not stop abortion, it would just move it to illegal and unsafe practitioners.  This would cause untold suffering.

We seek to be happy, joyous, and free.  We find that the best way to achieve these goals is to be kind, compassionate, and merciful to others.  We know that the very best way that anyone can do anything for themselves is to do something for someone else.  We accept the world as God created it and trust that it is as he intended; therefore, we would never use any means to force our beliefs on anyone else.  In fact, we find the beliefs, rituals, and stories from other faiths instructive and enriching.

We seek to follow the teachings of Jesus who advocated mercy and compassion.  He never advocated the use of cruelty to achieve any goal no matter how worthy it might be.  Defunding Planned Parenthood would be cruel to the women who depend on it and it would not prevent abortion.

The way to prevent abortion is to organize our society so every pregnant woman is assured that she will have all the support she needs to raise her child so abortion will not be considered.  In line with our denomination, we strongly feel that:

“The Christian community must be concerned about and address the circumstances that bring a woman to consider abortion as the best available option. Poverty, unjust societal realities, sexism, racism, and inadequate supportive relationships may render a woman virtually powerless to choose freely.[2].”

We need to offer pregnant women, love, hope, and care. Defunding Planned Parenthood is a cruel and shortsighted idea.  In fact our denomination says the following about our care and concern for women who face difficult decisions regarding pregnancy:

“Pastors have a duty to counsel with and pray for those who face decisions about problem pregnancies. Congregations have a duty to pray for and support those who face these choices, to offer support for women and families to help make unwanted pregnancies less likely to occur, and to provide practical support for those facing the birth of a child with medical anomalies, birth after rape or incest, or those who face health, economic, or other stresses.”

As a community of faith in your district there is no doubt to us that Planned Parenthood plays a vital role in maintaining the health and safety of tens of thousands of Ohioans. It's time to stop these politically-motivated attacks and stand strong for our Christian ethics and the essential services provided by Planned Parenthood health centers.

In the name of Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace, please do not defund Planned Parenthood.

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 353 East Pine Street, Wooster, OH 44691

 

[1] Minutes of the 217th General Assembly (2006), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), p. 905

[2] Minutes of the 204th General Assembly (1992), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), p. 367-368, 372-374

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