Now is the time to come to the aid of Planned Parenthood
After more than 20 years of service to the community, Park City’s Planned Parenthood clinic closed in 2013. Planned Parenthood of Utah, had decided their limited funds would be better spent in other parts of the state and the clinic’s Park City patients were referred to an expanded facility in Heber.
Since then, the Summit County Health Department and the People’s Health Clinic have helped to cover the loss of services previously offered by Planned Parenthood, but it is not the same. While both offer reproductive health services on a sliding fee scale, they are not able to serve minors without parental consent. And, because they have so many other health needs to address, they do not offer the same level of educational outreach that Planned Parenthood does.
Of course, it is impossible to count how many young people might have benefited from having a local clinic to turn to — for guidance about abstinence and contraception, or STD testing, or help in a crisis. How many had nowhere to turn, did not have a supportive parent, or driver’s license or to way to get to Heber. Those are statistics we will never have.
But we do know that Planned Parenthood continues to make an important difference in the lives of countless men and women, if not through personal use of their services, then by the organization’s efforts — nationwide and locally — to make family planning services affordable to all income groups, to spread awareness about reproductive health and to help guide young people through those confusing and sometimes dangerous years as their bodies mature.
Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood of Utah has had a tough year and is still facing an uphill battle to maintain its funding. Utah legislators, like their conservative counterparts around the country, are trying to cut off the organization’s funding. If Planned Parenthood was on the ropes in 2013, its funding is even more fragile now. And the need is as great, if not greater than ever before. Summit County’s population is continuing to grow and local health experts have confirmed that STDs are on the rise.
That is why, this week, Planned Parenthood of Utah is reaching out for support in Park City and why Summit County should heed that call.
Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah will hold an ambassador launch party in Park City from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15. The event will be held at the Summit County Library – Kimball Junction Branch, 885 W. Ute Blvd. RSVP at PPACUtah.org/get-involved/ambassadors.
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A member of the Park City Leadership class writes in a guest editorial that residents only have a few more days to participate in the all-important census.