Guest editorial: Rep. Bishop’s refusal to show up is not OK | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial: Rep. Bishop’s refusal to show up is not OK

Tania Knauer Unrepresented Constituent in Congressional District 1, Board Member, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah

I'm disappointed Representative Rob Bishop refused to show up for a town hall in his hometown of Ogden last week, even though he is on a Congressional recess. While a town hall might be filled with many who are not his biggest supporters and have differing opinions on public lands, health care, reproductive rights and most other issues – he is still our eyes and ears in Washington, and as a representative of our district, it is part of his job description to listen to us, and we have a right to be heard. At least Representatives Chaffetz and Stewart had the backbone to organize and show up for town halls in their districts.

I also want to address reproductive healthcare – one of Bishop's constituents said she recently received a letter from his office saying "I can't support federal funds going to Planned Parenthood for abortions." Does he really not know that since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has blocked federal Medicaid funding for abortion services?

As one of his constituents, I'm not a fan of abortions either. As a board member of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, I know the best way to decrease abortions is for them to be safe and legal, for contraception to be affordable and accessible, and for reproductive education to be accurate and comprehensive. I know it is through education that we can decrease teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Improving reproductive education for our teenagers is exactly why I joined the board.

Planned Parenthood is not the problem; it's actually part of the solution. Kicking tens of thousands of Utahns off ObamaCare, while trying to defund Planned Parenthood health centers that provide healthcare to more than 45,000 Utahns every year, is not a winning strategy. It destroys the safety net for many vulnerable Utahns who will have no where else to go to receive low-cost reproductive health care. Abortions are going to happen whether we like it or not. We want women to have access to a safe facility with nurturing healthcare professionals who will provide compassionate care and the education and resources needed to help patients plan their family as they choose.

Thousands of Utahns come to Planned Parenthood for contraception, STI tests and treatment, cancer screenings, and more. In fact, abortion is just 1% of the services Planned Parenthood provides in Utah. Let's continue to support this organization that improves Utahns' lives and not put some of our most at risk populations at an even greater risk.

I hope to see Representative Bishop at a town hall soon, and I hope he gets his facts straight about Planned Parenthood.