On September 1, Pope Francis announced that for the coming “Year of Mercy,” also known as the Jubilee Year, running from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016, Catholic priests will be allowed to forgive women who have had an abortion. It is possible that the forgiveness can be pushed to last longer than this time period. This could have major effects on the overall culture of abortion, since many anti-abortion or pro-life advocates base their beliefs on the instruction of the Bible. Pope Francis’ announcement affects the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world and has the power to lead to a significant mindset shift regarding the abortion debate.

However, this announcement landed in a media circus buzzing about the ninth video released by an anti-abortion group; the video accuses another company of buying parts of aborted fetuses from Planned Parenthood facilities. These videos reflect a large push from Republicans in the United States who are fighting to take $500 million in government funding from Planned Parenthood to give it to other facilities that treat women.

Planned Parenthood centers are extremely important though, as a recent New York Times article pointed out. Almost half of the Planned Parenthood clinics in Louisiana cannot provide abortions. The Planned Parenthood centers in Louisiana in the past year provided almost 20,000 STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) tests, which is a crucial service considering that New Orleans is facing high rates of STIs, including syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.  If Washington, D.C. defunds Planned Parenthood because of these videos, these Louisiana centers may be prevented from getting patients the necessary information regarding STIs (or birth control, emergency contraceptives, and pregnancy tests).

This article was written by Allison Chesky. Send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Lucille Riesbeck

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