The Board of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette is outraged by the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others. As a healthcare and educational organization striving for reproductive justice, not just reproductive rights, we stand with The Movement for Black Lives. If we are to achieve our vision that all people have the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities, we cannot ignore the impact of physical and sexual violence, including police violence.
Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in Oregon and Southwest Washington have suffered physical and sexual violence for centuries. The violence and trauma are perpetuated in our healthcare system, our schools, our workplaces and our neighborhoods. At Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, we know that our goal of reproductive justice is not only about access to abortion, health care and birth control. It is about choice – which is unattainable until all people in our communities are able to care for their children and families without fear of violence from law enforcement. We believe we must rebuild our future through truthful examination of our painful past and active work to dismantle the white supremacist practices and policies of the present.
We stand in solidarity with those protesting to defund the police and reinvest in the following community healing and accountability measures because we must dedicate more resources to public health and community interventions instead of funding services geared toward escalation of violence. We support the goals to:
- Immediately reduce the size and budgets of our police forces and redirect funding to initiatives to support healthy, economically vibrant Black neighborhoods and communities in Oregon and SW Washington;
- Ensure stronger mechanisms in all healthcare institutions to ensure provider bias and systemic racism is addressed, along with meaningful resource allocation to improve health for those most affected by poor health outcomes and;
- Prioritize additional resources to improve the health for those most affected by poor health outcomes in Black communities, including investments to reduce maternal child health disparities, improve health outcomes for trans and gender nonconforming community members, and improve mental health outcomes.
As the board of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, we commit to work with our community and staff to accomplish these goals.