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Planned Parenthood has been enduring a reinvigorated assault from the right of late, and once again, because all the services of the women’s health organization are being filed under the heading of “abortion,” the whole “women’s health” aspect is overshadowed. Guess who loses?

The New York Times offered some answers in a focused report posted Tuesday and set in Louisiana:

“We have a syphilis epidemic right now in New Orleans,” said Dr. Taylor, the medical director overseeing programs to combat sexually transmitted infections for the State Office of Public Health. She is also the director of Louisiana State University’s sexually transmitted infections program, which operates in the wellness center here. Louisiana ranks first among the states in cases of gonorrhea, second in chlamydia, and third in syphilis and in H.I.V., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The political dispute embroiling Planned Parenthood here and nationwide is over abortion, though public funds are not permitted by federal law to be used for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or when a pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. Neither clinic in this state — like nearly half of all Planned Parenthood centers — performs them. What the Louisiana Planned Parenthood clinics did do last year was administer nearly 20,000 tests for sexually transmitted infections, as well as [provide] gynecological exams, contraceptive care, cancer screenings and other wellness services for nearly 10,000 mostly low-income patients.

“You can’t just cut Planned Parenthood off one day and expect everyone across the city to absorb the patients,” Dr. Taylor said. “There needs to be time to build the capacity.”

With the calls to stop funding for Planned Parenthood, a visit to New Orleans and Baton Rouge suggests that it would not be as easy to do without the nonprofit centers as some Republicans and their anti-abortion allies say. Other states will face similar problems.

Former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis made similar points during her appearance Friday as a panelist on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” when she schooled California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher as Washington Post political reporter Robert Costa looked on (HBO via YouTube):

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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