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States Lower Teen Pregnancy, STI Rates With One Strategy

In the shock of the century, new research shows more Planned Parenthood clinics correlates to lower rates of teen births and sexually transmitted diseases.

Miranda Yaver, a researcher at Yale University, conducted the study to test the actual effects of Planned Parenthoods in communities.

She was moved to do this testing seeing Republicans' continued desire to defund Planned Parenthood, as evidenced by their failed health care plan.

The Republican plan included defunding Planned Parenthood for one year. The Congressional Budget Office estimated thousands more births would occur with just one year of no Planned Parenthood funding.

Yaver took that idea and looked at what was going on with Planned Parenthood, rather than estimate a potential future.

"I investigated the potential public health ramifications if congressional representatives were to respond to pro-life sentiment," she wrote in The Washington Post.

She found the ramifications would be considerable, given the effect Planned Parenthoods currently have.

States with more Planned Parenthood locations have lower STD rates, as well as lower teen birth rates. Yaver wrote,

The more Planned Parenthood clinics in a state in a given year, the fewer teen births and STD diagnoses. I find similar effects of Planned Parenthood clinic access on the health outcomes of HIV diagnoses and reliance on emergency room care.

Indeed, staunchly pro-life Vice President Mike Pence knows this fact quite intimately, despite his constant rallying against Planned Parenthood.

In 2013, Pence caused a Planned Parenthood in Scott County, Indiana, to close down by limiting state funds. That Planned Parenthood happened to be the only HIV testing center in Scott County.

What happened next? Scott County had an HIV epidemic.

Yaver acknowledges that correlation doesn't equal causation and there are likely other factors at play to account for the differences in teen birth and STD rates.

"But," she writes, "the findings suggest that unless other health centers were willing to offer reproductive health care to many more Medicaid patients, fewer Planned Parenthood clinics (the probable result of refusing Planned Parenthood the use of federal funding) would almost certainly hurt many states' public health."

This is just another reminder Planned Parenthood is much more than abortion — which is not federally funded — and it plays an important role in communities.

Citations: States with more Planned Parenthood clinics have fewer teen births and sexually transmitted diseases (The Washington Post), Planned Parenthood States Have Fewer Incidents Of Teenage Pregnancy & STDs (Bustle)