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It really shouldn't come as any surprise that US President Barack Obama supports Planned Parenthood, the organization and the concept. But is this quite the same thing as being "for" abortion?

When President Obama spoke to the 1,200 attendees of the 2013 annual Planned Parenthood Gala several weeks ago, he praised the organization's many services to women's health, including the providing of abortions.

While Planned Parenthood is an especially well-known provider of abortion referrals and in some cases, actual abortions, termination of pregnancy is not an especially large part of the organization's activities. As the President noted in his speech given at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., 

"One in five women in this country has turned to Planned Parenthood for health care.  One in five."

After applause, the President continued, "And for many, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care  -- not just for contraceptive care, but for lifesaving preventive care, like cancer screenings and health counseling."

Planned Parenthood Isn't Just About Women's Health

In fact, Planned Parenthood also provides services for men's sexual health.

Although the focus of the organization is on reproductive health, it also provides screenings for breast cancer, referrals for testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STD's), referrals for counseling regarding concerns of sexual orientation.

In addition to abortion services, Planned Parenthood provides access to the basic medications for contraception, including morning-after contraception after rape and unplanned sexual intercourse. It offers information on how to make sure that vasectomy actually prevents pregnancy. It encourages mothers of newborns to nurse their infants for at least six months--offering about 95% protection against another pregnancy even when no other forms of contraception are used. It even offers information about abstinence and the rhythm method.

But Probably Nothing Planned Parenthood Does Will Please the American Christian Right

In short, Planned Parenthood provides all the services a large segment of the Christian right of the United States hates, and very little else (namely, abstinence and possibly "fertility awareness" methods of family planning, such as the rhythm method). Not just abortion but also contraception are opposed by the Roman Catholic Church and some "Bible churches." The very idea that someone might consider having a sexual orientation other than heterosexual or sexual intercourse outside of marriage sanctioned by a church is anathema. 

Almost nothing President Obama could say at Planned Parenthood would be acceptable to these groups.

The fact that Planned Parenthood also offers

diabetes screening, high blood pressure screening, flu shots, anemia testing, high cholesterol testing, tetanus shots, pneumonia vaccine, physical exams for children seeking to participate in school sports teams, thyroid screening, and help with quitting smoking

can never offset the fact that it offers reproductive services. But what is it that the President was actually saying?

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