Published: | Updated: 05.11.09
DENVER — Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is celebrating National Women’s Health Week, May 10-16, by encouraging women to visit their health care provider for regular checkups and preventive screenings.
A recent survey conducted for The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that women are delaying their annual exams as a result of the economic downturn.
Roughly 16.7 million women are uninsured, and thus likely to postpone care and delay or forgo important preventive care such as cancer screenings, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“The health care crisis is disproportionately affecting women, particularly women of childbearing age, who already pay 68 percent more in out-of-pocket costs than men,” said PPRM President and CEO Vicki Cowart. “Planned Parenthood is committed to providing affordable access to basic health care, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing.”
The best way for women to protect their reproductive health is through preventive screenings. STIs continue to pose a serious public health threat in this country, particularly to young women who are more vulnerable to infection than men due to biological factors. Without detection and treatment, STIs can lead to serious short- and long-term health consequences, including infertility.
Regular cancer screenings can identify precancerous or abnormal cells and treat them before cervical cancer develops. Routine administration of Pap screening has led to increased detection of pre-invasive lesions of the cervix and decreased mortality rates.
Access to contraception is another factor impacting women’s health. This week, PPRM activists and supporters will send thank you notes to Gov. Bill Ritter, commending the passage of Senate Bill 09-225, the Birth Control Protection Act, signed into Colorado state law on April 16. The BCPA defines contraceptives or contraception as any medically acceptable drug, device, or procedure used to prevent pregnancy. Before this measure, a clear definition of birth control did not exist in Colorado, allowing the debate around abortion to extend to safe, effective methods of birth control. Under this law, contraception and women’s right to access it are protected.
National Women’s Health Week, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, empowers women to make their health a top priority. The 7th annual National Women’s Checkup Day will be observed May 11.
As the nation’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care services, more than three million clients annually depend on Planned Parenthood for quality, affordable health care.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate nearly 880 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
More than 125,000 women, men and young adults annually visit Planned Parenthood health centers throughout Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming. For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1-800-230-PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.