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Speakers Honor Courage, Compassion, Resilience of Health Center Staff, Doctors, Nurses, Patients


Washington, DC -- Yesterday, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains celebrated the official re-opening of the Colorado Springs health center that was the location of a shooting in November that killed three people and injured nine more.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards joined the staff, doctors, nurses, patients, and supporters of the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood health center on Sunday to mark the occasion. Richards honored the staff of the Planned Parenthood affiliate, as well as Planned Parenthood’s extraordinary providers and staff across the country and their deep commitment to providing care to patients no matter what the circumstances.

She also spoke out against the violence and threats faced every day by doctors, nurses and staff who provide safe and legal abortion. Richards stated, “The thousands of staff working at our health centers across the country and in the national office are completely in awe of your courage, your compassion, and the commitment you have to the patients and communities you serve.”
 

Below are key excerpts from remarks delivered by Richards, Sunday, May 1, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“This health center is a place of care and compassion. It is unimaginable for the rest of us - the tragedy that has left scars that do not heal in five months. Your commitment to each other and to serving this community represents the very best of what Planned Parenthood is all about."

“...one day after the tragedy here, health centers opened up across the country, opening up the next morning, on a Saturday, because our patients were counting on us. Counting on you. In fact, every single clinic escort in the state of Colorado showed up for duty on Saturday morning."
 

“Today, you open our doors for our patients — you hold their hands — you look into their eyes — you are there for them. You know the difference that you make and the resilience that lives on in those we serve."

“...The thousands of staff working at our health centers across the country and in the national office are completely in awe of your courage, your compassion, and the commitment you have to the patients and communities you serve. One way we can honor the memories of those who lost their lives is to recommit ourselves to ending violence against women, against doctors, against clinicians, against health centers, and against America."

“So today, I am more than any time in my 10 year at Planned Parenthood, I’m so honored to be your coworker.”


Full remarks as delivered below:
 

This is a very special place in Colorado.  We were talking earlier - I feel like you are rewriting the story of Colorado Springs.  
 

To the staff of the health center, to the doctors and clinicians and the nurses, the counselors, the front desk folks as well as the volunteers, thank you on behalf of the entire Planned Parenthood family from across the country, actually across the globe.

Your devotion to each other and your devotion to the patients you serve – has been an inspiration to everyone.
 

And to my friend Vicki Cowart and the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains team - you have defined for all of us and do every day, what it means when we commit to care, no matter what.
 

And a special thanks to a woman who’s here, who along with her team really represents the heart and soul of this organization, and along with Vicki helped to make sure this health center was rebuilt and that’s Gail Kelly
 

I know also we have some incredible elected officials here and I thank them for their bravery and for going every day to stand up for the health and rights of people in Colorado, but I want to say a special thanks to Senator Betty Boyd who’s here today and who didn’t get a chance to speak but who has been such a champion. Where are you Betty?
 

This health center is a place of care and compassion. It is unimaginable for the rest of us the tragedy that has left scars that do not heal in five months. Your commitment to each other and to serving this community represents the very best of what Planned Parenthood is all about.
 

And someone just said to me, “What i think is so important about today is that love is so much more powerful than hate. It is so much more powerful than hate.”
 

One hundred years ago, when Margaret Sanger opened up the very first health center, it wasn’t even a health center - She was just handing out information about birth control clinic. She and her sister Ethel, even though it was illegal from the very first day. The photographs, you can see the atoned photographs of women with babies on their shoulders and baby buggies, desperate for the information and care that they wanted from Planned Parenthood. They were counting on them, and us.
 

And now 100 years later, one day after the tragedy here, health centers opened up across the country opening up the next morning, on a Saturday, because our patients were counting on us.
 

And just as they did 100 years ago, women were lined up outside of our health centers, hoping that Planned Parenthood would be there counting on us.
 

Counting on you.
 

I’ve never been prouder to be a part of this organization.
 

In fact, every single clinic escort in the state of Colorado showed up for duty on Saturday morning. And I want to shout out our clinic escorts that are here today.
 

Today, you open our doors for our patients — you hold their hands — you look into their eyes — you are there for them.
 

You know the difference that you make and the resilience that lives on in those we serve.
 

I was with many of you back in December and it was a day I’ll never forget.  You inspired me then — you inspire even more today.
 

The thousands of staff working at our health centers across the country and in the national office are completely in awe of your courage, your compassion, and the commitment you have to the patients and communities you serve.
 

One way we can honor the memories of those who lost their lives is to recommit ourselves to ending violence against women, against doctors, against clinicians, against health centers, and against America.
 

Rosa Parks said: “I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
 

Of course, some of us still do have fear.  What makes you courageous is that you are doing the work anyway — and you are standing up for patients who may be afraid themselves.
 

One of your patients had an appointment the very first week of December.  She told us that she was a little nervous.  But then she went in and she reported back:
 

“I choose to go to Planned Parenthood even though I have private insurance and could go anywhere for my health care.  I always have had really good experiences at Planned Parenthood, and the quality of the care is so high, that’s why I stay with them.  The providers there show they really care.”
 

She added:
 

“When I got inside, it was warm and comfortable; the very same Planned Parenthood.”
 

So on behalf of her, and behalf on the thousands of people that you will serve this year - thank you.
 

For 100 year we have been on the front lines of building a world in which every person can get access, full unfettered access to reproductive care and rights, regardless of their income, of their race, of their gender, of their immigration status, of their sexual orientation.


So today, I am more than any time in my 10 year at Planned Parenthood, I’m so honored to be your coworker.


Thanks for what you do

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

Source

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Contact

Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433

Published

May 02, 2016