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Statement from Planned Parenthood Federation of America on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2010
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is proud to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on this January 18, 2010. Dr. King dedicated his life to fighting for a more just society, one in which no one is at a disadvantage because of race, religion or economic standing. In addition to racial justice, Dr. King fought for fair wages for workers and quality health care for all.
Speaking before the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights in Chicago, Illinois, on March 25, 1966, Dr. King said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." Not long after that speech, on May 5, 1966, Planned Parenthood presented Dr. King with the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award. The organization’s highest honor, the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award is given annually in recognition of individuals’ excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and rights.
In the tradition of Dr. King’s call for equity in health care, Planned Parenthood works to erase the disparities that blight our health care system and that disproportionately affect people of color. More than 7 million African Americans and nearly 15 million Latinos were without health insurance in 2008, which prevented many of them from accessing preventive care or getting treatment for chronic conditions. As a result, many African Americans and Latinos who lack insurance are forced to delay care, diagnosed late for serious health problems, and experience preventable death more than others.
That’s why Planned Parenthood affiliates work to design health care programs that meet the needs of the communities they serve. More than 90 percent of the health care provided at Planned Parenthood health centers is preventive in nature, including breast exams, Pap tests and contraception at an affordable cost. That’s also why Planned Parenthood fights for health care reform that will make quality, affordable health care available to everybody and won’t leave Americans worse off than they are today.
As Dr. King wrote in accepting the Sanger Award, “We had confidence that when we awakened the nation to the immorality and evil of inequality, there would be an upsurge of conscience followed by remedial action.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America 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 850 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.