Planned Parenthood starts ‘A-Word’ campaign

The chapter wants to remind readers the agency is also about abstinence, access, affordability and advocacy.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio has started a campaign called the “A-Word” to tell people the organization stands for more than abortion.

The affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America is trying to educate the public through newspaper ads that will run over about six weeks in The Cincinnati Enquirer and other Enquirer publications.

The ads focus on the “A-Words” of abstinence, access, affordability and advocacy and how they relate to what the agency says are its main goals of family planning and reproductive health care.

“People automatically associate the A-word with abortion, but we are about so much more than that,” Becki Brenner, chief executive of the southwest Ohio affiliate, said Wednesday. “It’s difficult to communicate that to people when you are defined by one small piece of what you do.”

Brenner said abortions account for only about 2 percent of the agency’s services in the 22 southwest Ohio counties served by its 10 clinics. She said Planned Parenthood also has started a Web site intended to start public discussion on the agency’s services and to try to find common ground on strategies of abortion prevention.

“There is always a core group out there where we will never be able to change minds, but we hope to find some common ground with other members of the public,” Brenner said.

The campaign comes amid efforts by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, to prevent Planned Parenthood from relocating one of its clinics to another Cincinnati neighborhood. Chabot started a petition in June calling for the agency to stop the move. About 1,100 signatures were collected and presented last week to Planned Parenthood, said Katie Fox, a spokeswoman for Chabot’s re-election campaign.

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati also opposes the move and has set up a Web site in opposition to it. Paula Westwood, the local Right to Life’s executive director, said opponents are concerned about the clinic’s location near four high schools. She said the majority of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clients are under 25.

“The true ’A-Word’ for Planned Parenthood is abortion, and setting up near high schools is an easy way to get business,” she said, adding that opponents intend to picket the site.

Brenner said the agency does not target teens and 90 percent of those served by the clinic in question are over the age of 18. She said the clinic move will go ahead as planned in October.

The advertising campaign also comes at a time when Planned Parenthood remains involved in a pending lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit filed in 2005 accused the agency of providing abortions to minors without parental consent.

Several issues in that case are set for oral argument in the Ohio Supreme Court in October, said attorney Brian Hurley, who is representing a minor who received an abortion and her parents.