DEAR ABBY: Until recently, I knew very little about Planned Parenthood. I thought of the organization as mostly performing abortions. I recently learned how wrong I was when a friend shared the experience her family had with Planned Parenthood.
My friend's daughter, "Suzy," was pregnant, and even though she and her husband wanted a family, they were unprepared to start one just then. Suzy was adamant about wanting to end her pregnancy.
Suzy's mother tried her best to convince her to have the baby, but to no avail, so she suggested Suzy make an appointment with a counselor at Planned Parenthood.
Several days passed before Suzy phoned her mother with the good news. The counselor had spoken with Suzy about her decision as well as other options, explaining the ramifications of each. Suzy went home and discussed them with her husband, and they decided together that she should NOT terminate the pregnancy.
I'm not sure whether Suzy will keep the baby or place it for adoption, but I was pleased to learn that the counselor took the time to see that Suzy was fully informed so she could make the right decision for herself and her family.
I hope you will agree that this is important enough to share with your readers. Please don't use my name, since I was told this in confidence. -- PLEASED IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
DEAR PLEASED: I do agree. Among the many low-cost, high-quality health-care services Planned Parenthood provides: screening for sexually transmitted diseases for both men and women; contraceptive counseling and services; sterilization consultation and procedures for men and women; instruction in testicular self-examination; prenatal care, which covers pregnancy and childbirth; and post-partum care, child-rearing and nutrition.
Suzy's experience was not unusual. However, due to hysteria and misinformation, Planned Parenthood's mission -- to promote individual reproductive rights, information, counseling and medical services without regard to age, race, income or marital status -- is sometimes misunderstood.