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Planned Parenthood Statement Regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is proud to commemorate the amazing life, mission, and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this January 17, 2011.  Dr. King worked tirelessly in the fight against racial injustice and inequality in employment, education, housing and voting rights.  Dr. King also spoke passionately about the need for equity in health care, and said in 1966, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.’

“With the passage of health care reform in 2010 this nation is a step closer to a system that is more equitable for African Americans, Latinos, and others who experience higher rates of many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and cancer, and higher death rates from these conditions compared to whites.  More than 7 million African Americans and more than 15 million Latinos were without health insurance in 2009, which prevented many of them from getting the preventive care or treatment they need for chronic conditions.  The Affordable Care Act is the single greatest advance in making health care, including prevention, affordable and accessible to all Americans no matter their income or background.

“Planned Parenthood is opposed to racism and prejudice of any kind and is fully committed to ending racial disparities in health care, including reproductive health care, that disproportionately affect African Americans, Latinos and others.  More than 90 percent of the health services provided at Planned Parenthood health centers is preventive in nature, including lifesaving breast exams, Pap tests, contraception, and physical exams at an affordable cost.

“In 1966, Planned Parenthood presented Dr. King with the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award, the organization’s highest honor, in recognition of his excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and rights.

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day serves as a reminder of how much we have accomplished and how much we have yet to achieve.  Making affordable health care available to all Americans will ensure that Dr. King’s dream of health care justice is fulfilled.”



Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. 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 more than 820 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 Media Office, 212-261-4433

Published: 01.14.11

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