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Statement by Planned Parenthood of New York City on Offensive Billboard at 6th Avenue and Watts Street in Manhattan (2/23/11)
(New York, NY)—Planned Parenthood of New York City finds the billboard erected at the corner of 6th Avenue and Watts Street in Manhattan to be an offensive and condescending effort to stigmatize and shame African-American women while attempting to discredit the work of Planned Parenthood.
This coordinated national campaign spearheaded by a Texas group is a reprehensible tactic. Planned Parenthood knows that every woman, of every background, takes her health decisions seriously and makes deeply personal decisions after consulting with her doctor and with loved ones she trusts.
Planned Parenthood believes that racism is wrong and has absolutely no place in the delivery of health care. Our doors are open to everyone. Every person should have access to high-quality, affordable health care; ensuring this access is critical to eliminating the health disparities among racial and ethnic groups.
Planned Parenthood of New York City provides care to more than 50,000 men, women, and teens each year. Our services include lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), contraceptive consultations, and GYN exams. In 2010 we provided 71,000 STI tests, 56,000 family planning visits, 21,000 HIV tests, 19,000 contraception consultations, and 12,000 cervical cancer screenings.
Plus we reach tens of thousands of parents, caregivers, teens, and community-based organizations through our educational outreach programs.
The unintended pregnancy rate in New York City is impacted by a myriad of societal factors, including poverty, access to information and education, access to birth control, and intimate partner violence, among others. Planned Parenthood knows that there are alarmingly high health disparities in New York City, and that our young people are not getting adequate access to health care and sex education and information.
Planned Parenthood works every day to address those underlying issues.
When these billboards appeared in Atlanta last year, columnist Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote, “It's both sexist and racist to suggest that black women don't have the intellectual and emotional firepower to make their own decisions.”
When these billboards appeared in Los Angeles last month, Janette Robinson Flint, Executive Director of Black Women for Wellness, wrote in New America Media, “Black women stand at the intersection of racism and sexism in this country, and we face the pain of living at this crossroads every day. It is demonstrated by our health status — we suffer from some of the highest health disparities in Los Angeles County. Rather than allow outside agitators to barge in and try to divide us by scape-goating Black women for political gain, Black women’s organizations and our allies must come together to find solutions to ending the health disparities and crises we face.”