JIM CREES: More lies. Another hoax.

You can tell we have entered a new election cycle.

Planned Parenthood is once again a topic of conversation — especially for our more conservative brethren.

I’ve written about this topic before trying to be relatively balanced. Back in the last presidential election campaign period, Mitt Romney and a slew of others declared heartily and vociferously that if and when elected he and they would totally and completely defund Planned Parenthood.

He wasn’t elected.

Now, with a new election campaign well under way, Republican candidates are falling all over themselves to prove who hates Planned Parenthood more.

Then ... the video surfaces. A “horrifying” video purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials marketing fetal tissue.

Except ... the video has been proved to be a hoax — heavily edited, packed with spurious misinformation, and with shots of fetuses and fetal matter gleaned from all over the Internet, but NOT from any Planned Parenthood facility.

It has been shown that the Planned Parenthood officials in the video were answering questions NOT involving fetal tissue, but edited to appear so.

Still, some GOP candidates continue to cry for defunding based on this malicious deception — especially those pandering to the religious right (and those folks believe if we only rid the country of Planned Parenthood we save the nation from the wrath of God.)

While under attack for doing an outreach work that many would call “blessed,” Planned Parenthood instead is too often labeled the “Spawn of Satan.”

I’ve asked before, I’ll ask again — If we do get shucked of Planned Parenthood, what would we lose? Yes, “we.” All of us.

Here in the Mecosta-Osceola area, Planned Parenthood is often the only contact women — poor, uninsured, disenfranchised, or otherwise — are able to see on even a nominally regular basis. Planned Parenthood helps women in the area deal not only with reproductive health issues, but can help with breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, infertility education, mammogram referrals, hormone replacement therapy, Pap testing, urinary tract infections, and routine physicals for women 12 and up.

Planned Parenthood health centers around the country provided more than 487,000 breast exams and more than 378,000 Pap tests in the 2013-14 service year. Some 88,000 had cancer detected or abnormalities identified through this testing.

Planned Parenthood assists in anemia testing, cholesterol, thyroid, and diabetes screening, high blood pressure reviews, smoking cessation and pregnancy planning. And there’s more ... Planned Parenthood can help idealing with STD testing and treatment. Almost 4.5 million people were tested for STDs by Planned Parenthood in 2013-14.

Planned Parenthood is available when a woman becomes pregnant offering not only the highly debated (and usually wildly overstated) abortion referrals (no Planned Parenthood office in this part of the country actually has a clinic able to carry out abortions) but other services as well.

If a woman wants to keep the baby, Planned Parenthood is able to provide referrals and resources for pre-natal care. If the woman wants to carry the pregnancy to completion, but not keep the baby, Planned Parenthood can provide advice and resources to help with adoption options. And if a woman wants to become pregnant but is unable to for whatever reason, Planned Parenthood can actually offer fertility awareness services. Yes, they can help women become pregnant!

But wait ... Planned Parenthood isn’t all about women. The organization staff can help men as well with testicular and prostate cancer screenings, testing and treatment for urinary tract infections, and screening and referrals for male infertility and other reproductive issues. There has been an increase in men visiting Planned Parenthood clinics — a 105 percent increase over a 10-year period as of 2011.

Planned Parenthood is there for men and women. And yes, they do hand out condoms and work with men and women in determining other contraceptive options. Planned Parenthood had more than 10.5 million client contacts in the 2013-14 cycle in more than 800 affiliate health centers. Reviewing numbers from 2012, 76 percent of the people served are below the poverty level, and would likely have no other access to healthcare. Again, it’s been shown professionals estimate that as a result of contraceptive services alone, some 584,000 unwanted pregnancies are avoided (and some 277,000 potential abortions averted). So ... get rid of Planned Parenthood?

Good luck if that ever happens. The federal government would be shackled with untold costs of healthcare and other line-item expenses they could avoid, but now seem to think so frivolous. Get real. Politicians know this. They beat their chests and wail and moan. But they can’t replace Planned Parenthood — an organization doing the real “work of the people.” 

Nor do they seriously intend to eliminate Planned Parenthood ... except during an election year!