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Planned Parenthood Supports Initial White House Regulations on Preventive Care; Highlights Need for New Guidelines on Women's Preventive Health to Include Family Planning
Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) supports the White House regulations on preventive health care released today that expand access to life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings. This important health care will be a part of the preventive services that will be provided with no co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses under the new health care reform law.
As the leading provider of reproductive health care in the country, Planned Parenthood health centers provide nearly one million Pap tests and more than 825,000 breast exams each year, critical screenings for cancer. “Making preventive health care available at no cost to patients makes it possible for us to provide crucial life-saving screenings to more women, which means we can connect more patients to vital treatment options early,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, Vice President for Medical Affairs at PPFA.
These new regulations will allow more women to benefit from the kind of preventive care that Carolyn Smithers of Sarasota, Florida, received from Planned Parenthood. Smothers, a recently divorced mother of two girls, unfortunately knows the threat of cancer all too well. Carolyn, who has undergone a double mastectomy and was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 19 at a Planned Parenthood health center, is now very concerned about the health of her 14- and 17-year-old daughters. Carolyn sends her daughters for regular check-ups at the Planned Parenthood Sarasota health center. “Without this resource I may already have died from cervical cancer,” said Smithers.
While this is the first round of regulations regarding preventive care under the new health care reform law, additional policies must be established by the federal government to fully implement the Women’s Health Amendment. According to the White House rules released today, further guidelines for women's health screenings are still in development, and are expected to be announced sometime before August, 2011. In the meantime, Planned Parenthood is organizing a national effort to make sure that these additional guidelines meet the needs of women by ensuring those women’s annual visits and all forms of FDA-approved prescription contraception are also covered under the new health care reform law with no co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses.
In fact, this week, more than 300 Planned Parenthood activists from across the country are canvassing Capitol Hill to discuss with members of Congress the importance of implementing the Women’s Health Amendment to ensure coverage of family planning, including women’s annual visits and FDA-approved prescription birth control. Among the 300 plus activists making Hill visits will be Planned Parenthood affiliate CEOs, board members, staffers, supporters and Planned Parenthood teen peer educators and young adult volunteers.
“The average woman spends about 30 years of her life trying to avoid unintended pregnancies,” said PPFA president Cecile Richards. “Making prescription birth control easily accessible and affordable reduces the number of unintended pregnancies and, therefore, reduces the need for abortion.”
Beyond pregnancy prevention, many women rely on prescription birth control to protect against endometrial and ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, bone loss, PMS and other menstrual problems, and anemia. “As part of this effort, we’re talking to our leaders on Capitol Hill about how allowing access to birth control will improve health outcomes for women,” said Richards.