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Leading Health Care Provider Organizations, Members of Congress Stand with Planned Parenthood

Oppose Extreme Proposal to Bar Planned Parenthood from Providing Health Services Through Federal Health Programs

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and leaders from major health care provider organizations, including Dr. Hal Lawrence, executive vice president-elect of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); and Dr. Leonard Weather, president of the National Medical Association (NMA) joined Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on a conference call to speak out against the extreme proposal to bar Planned Parenthood from providing health services, including preventive health care, lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, HIV testing, and testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through federal health programs and the devastating impact this proposal would have on women’s health care.

Last month, more than 30 leading medical and public health organizations, including ACOG and NMA, expressed their support for continued funding of Planned Parenthood and the Title X National Family Planning Program in two letters sent to Congressional leadership.

The first letter— signed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Nurses Association, the National Medical Association, and 11 other medical and public health groups — states clear opposition to the dual assault on women’s health care.

A second letter, signed by 18 leading HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations — including HIV Law Project, the National Minority AIDS Council, and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) — highlights the critical roles that Planned Parenthood and Title X play in preventing the spread of HIV.

On the call, Rep. Wasserman Schultz said, “It is absolutely imperative for me to stand up and be a strong voice for women’s health and ensure Planned Parenthood has the continued ability to provide access to health care, particularly health care that women have nowhere else to turn for.  As a breast cancer survivor, I know well that recent threats to take away women’s access to lifesaving and preventive health care by barring federal funding for Planned Parenthood are dangerous and irresponsible.  Planned Parenthood is facing unparalleled and purely political attacks under the guise of deficit reduction.  For millions of women across America, Planned Parenthood health centers are the only place they have to go for primary and preventive care.  I know firsthand that early detection through breast exams, which is a service provided by Planned Parenthood, is a matter of life and death.  When you have the anvil that is a cancer diagnosis dropped on your head, you need that lifeline that is a Planned Parenthood health center.”

Rep. Lee said, “Before I ran for public office, I was a clinical social worker.  I know firsthand how Planned Parenthood is providing the kind of counseling and affordable, quality preventive care for low-income women and women of color.  I meet with women who are struggling to get by and struggling to stay healthy.  They depend on community-based organizations like Planned Parenthood for information, consultation and basic health care needs.  If Planned Parenthood is prevented from continuing to provide health care for these women, many of them will have nowhere to go for lifesaving care.”

Dr. Lawrence, from ACOG, said, “As an ob-gyn who has practiced for 30 years, I fully recognize the importance of insuring and protecting ongoing well-women’s health care.  And as an expert in reproductive services and gynecologic care, ACOG simply cannot underscore enough how important the care Planned Parenthood provides is to women’s health.  Because of Planned Parenthood, women are able to detect cancers early on, and to prevent sexually transmitted infections.  As a result, fewer women wind up in doctor’s offices with advanced diseases and a lower chance of survival.  We strongly support the continued funding for Planned Parenthood and ensuring access for all women to ongoing well-woman’s health care, including family planning services.”

Dr. Weather, from NMA, said, “As an authority on health care and eliminating health disparities, the National Medical Association knows barring Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding is dangerous and also ridiculous.  Six in 10 women who seek care at family planning health centers like Planned Parenthood consider it their main source of health care.  By providing accessible and affordable care, Planned Parenthood plays an especially critical role in the African-American community, and in underserved areas.”

Cecile Richards said, “When we hear from leading medical experts, social workers, breast cancer survivors, and elected officials that extreme political proposals to bar federal funding from Planned Parenthood would have highly detrimental effects on our communities, we have to take that very seriously.  We urge Congress to listen to these authorities on women’s health and to reject plans that would take away critical health services from the women and families who need them the most.”

Every year, Planned Parenthood’s doctors and nurses see three million people, carry out nearly one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams, and its health centers also provide contraception to nearly 2.5 million patients and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including tests for HIV.

According to a Guttmacher Institute study, six in 10 women who seek care at a family planning health center like Planned Parenthood consider it their main source of health care.

The effort to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any federal funds would shatter the country’s public health safety net and jeopardize women’s health.  Without access to Planned Parenthood health centers, many women will have no place to go for affordable, basic, preventive health care.

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Contacts

Planned Parenthood Media Office, 212-261-4433

Published: 04.04.11

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