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White House's Tina Tchen Addresses Planned Parenthood Conference on Health Care Reform
Washington, DC — Tina Tchen, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, welcomed Planned Parenthood staff and supporters from across the country in the opening session of the Planned Parenthood 2009 Organizing and Policy Summit.
Tina Tchen provided participants with a status update on health care reform and reiterated the Obama administration’s commitment to women’s health.
“I can say this directly from the White House, the president reiterated to all of us in the senior staff that health care is the most important issue,” said Tchen. “It is the signature issue that he ran on; it is what he believes is one of the singularly most important reforms that need to be made that affects America, that affects our economy.”
More than 400 Planned Parenthood representatives were in attendance, including Planned Parenthood affiliate CEOs, staff, supporters, and 200-plus Planned Parenthood teen educators and college students. Also speaking at the opening session were Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.
“Women will be deeply affected, of course, because we tend to be, unfortunately, the ones who work low-wage jobs, service-sector jobs, have less access to employer-sponsored health care,” said Schakowsky. “The goal of the health care bill we’re working on is to ensure, for the first time in history, that women and their families and all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care.”
The summit is an opportunity for Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s leading women’s health care providers and advocates, to advance the organization’s legislative and advocacy agenda, with a particular focus this year on health care reform.
During the three-day summit, participants will work to ensure that women’s health is a priority in health care reform and that any health care reform effort includes two important pieces: access to comprehensive reproductive health care and access to essential community providers within the network. This ensures that basic preventive care, such as contraception, Pap tests, and other cancer screenings are covered and that women are able to access trusted health care providers in the communities where they live.
“This gathering couldn’t come at a more critical time,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “Health care reform is moving full steam ahead, and policymakers in Washington need to know the importance of including women’s health care as part of a reform package. We are grateful that Tina Tchen and Rep. Schakowsky took time away from their busy schedules to update us on health care reform and take our message back with them to their colleagues.”
Other events in the Policy and Organizing Summit include a day of lobbying, organizing and advocacy workshops, panel discussions, and the presentation of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Maggie Awards and Barry Goldwater Award.
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 more than 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.