Planned Parenthood is green, sex ed saves money, what’s the prob?

Important environmental group threatened

If you’d like to show your support of Planned Parenthood, go to and sign an open letter to Congress asking them to stop this legislation.
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.

The focus of this column is sustainability. So it is naturally a concern when cabals of misguided, ill-informed bullies are trying to destroy one of America’s most important environmental groups. I am, of course, referring to the House Republicans’ recent attacks on Planned Parenthood.

When it comes to important environmental groups here and abroad, there are few, if any, doing better work than Planned Parenthood. Let’s face it: We can reduce our personal use of energy and other resources all we want, we can eat more local produce, we can use florescent light bulbs and pee in waterless urinals—but if we do not control our population, it is all for naught.

The work of Planned Parenthood is critical to our nation. Full disclosure: The work of Planned Parenthood has been critical in my life, as well. When I was in college in the early 1970s, my girlfriends were on birth control, provided by Planned Parenthood. Later on, when I was in my 30s, my wife and I went to Planned Parenthood in Chico for fertility counseling and testing. When I was in my 50s, with two kids attending Sutter Middle School, Planned Parenthood again came to my rescue. This time, it was their excellent sex-education courses. Believe me, Planned Parenthood did a much better job than I did at teaching sex ed to my kids. For example, did I ever show them how to put a condom on a banana? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I know I speak for millions of Americans when I say that Planned Parenthood was there for me. And they provided important services in a humane efficient manner. They are even more remarkable in that they do this despite being the whipping boy for delegations of crazies. I, for one, appreciate being able to come to my job every morning without having to walk a gauntlet of protestors waving signs.

But the House Republicans really, really want to defund Planned Parenthood. Oddly, they don’t have the same kind of time and energy to argue for other potential cost savings. For example, House Speaker Leader John Boehner voted against legislation that would allow the federal government to negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers. This basically ensures that drug companies will earn excess profits and drive up the cost of health care. But wait, didn’t the Republicans complain that health care costs too much?

Then they attack Planned Parenthood, ignoring the fact that every dollar spent on family planning saves taxpayers $4 in health-care costs. Didn’t the Republicans complain that health care costs too much?

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, the Republicans’ proposals create neither a sustainable health-care system nor a sustainable world. Planned Parenthood offers us the opportunity to do both.