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Planned Parenthood applauded the Department of Health and Human Services for a new report, released during National Women’s Health Week, which highlights the impact of the nation’s health care crisis on women--particularly women of childbearing age. The report, titled "Roadblocks to Health Care: Why the Current Health Care System does not work for Women" states that "women are more vulnerable to high health care costs… women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly Pap test, mammograms, and obstetric care." 


“This report highlights the critical need to assure that quality, affordable reproductive health care for both women and men is included as part of any health reform effort”, said Linda McCarthy, MBPP Executive Director.  These services are critically important to the 18,000 people (1 in 15 residents in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan Counties) utilizing MBPP services each year.


As the HHS report states, women are more vulnerable to high health care costs because women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly Pap test, mammograms, and obstetric care. Planned Parenthood health centers in Washington State are seeing an increase in patients who have lost their jobs, health insurance or who no longer have the money to pay for lifesaving medical care. Some women are deferring annual exams including preventive cancer screenings, buying fewer cycles of contraception, and increasing longer-acting contraceptive methods.


These tough economic times are especially difficult for women struggling to pay for basic health care. According to the Women's Research and Education Institute, women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services. A recent survey conducted for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that women are delaying their annual exams as a result of the economic downturn. And a Kaiser Family Foundation report shows roughly 16.7 million women are uninsured, and thus likely to postpone care and delay or forgo important preventive care such as cancer screenings.


Family planning centers, like Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood, serve as an entry point for millions of women. Guttmacher reports that six in 10 clients consider family planning centers their main source of health care. Oftentimes, it is their first interaction with the country’s health care system.

Stephanie Kountouros, Public Policy Coordinator: 360-603-7705


Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood has proudly been providing healthcare services for women, men, and teenagers in communities throughout Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan Counties since 1969. Services include HIV and STD testing and treatment; HIV counseling and referrals; HPV vaccine; pregnancy testing; all methods of birth control; cervical cancer screening; testicular, gynecological, and breast exams.


Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood


Report Highlights Roadblocks for Women in Current Health Care System


May 15, 2009