I am responding to a letter to the editor in the Grand Island Daily Independent, “Doesn’t want Planned Parenthood here.” I respectfully disagree with the author’s points disregarding the importance of reproductive health care issues and access, especially in the Tri-Cities area and across rural Nebraska.

Planned Parenthood health centers in Nebraska serve nearly 700 patients from the central and western parts of the state. People go to Planned Parenthood because they know they will receive compassionate, nonjudgmental and expert care, regardless of who they love, where they live or what faith they practice.

Finding nonjudgmental reproductive and sexual health care in an area in which there is already a shortage of providers is difficult. Many health providers in rural Nebraska deny patients access to contraception, and shame and stigmatize those who are sexually active or needing STI testing, and discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Others refuse to provide basic care on moral grounds. Catholic-affiliated hospitals refuse to provide contraception or sterilization. They are not allowed to intervene in the case of a miscarriage, even if the situation is life-threatening. And women are not provided full information regarding their health care and choices.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t sell aborted baby parts. It provides high-quality reproductive and sexual health care and equips people with the information and education they need to advocate for their reproductive rights. And we should welcome its presence in our community.

Robin Vodehnal, Kearney