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For Immediate Release: June 2, 2020

Contact: Jesse Lawder, [email protected], 314-755-0944

ST. LOUIS — In response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers and the ongoing demonstrations resulting from his death and countless other incidents of violence against Black people, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri President and CEO Yamelsie Rodríguez issued the following statement:

“Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri stands in solidarity with our patients, staff, and with communities all over the country, demonstrating against the recent killing of George Floyd by law enforcement officers in Minnesota. His death is heart-wrenching and magnifies the trauma re-enforced by racism, injustice, and systemic oppression that Black and Brown communities experience every day.

“As a healthcare organization, our priority is to care for people holistically, with dignity and respect no matter who they are, what they look like, where they live, or how much money they make. 

“As we confront health disparities, including the disproportionate number of Black and Brown people dying of COVID-19 and the fact that Black mothers are 3-4 times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts, we recognize that there's no health equity without racial justice. That’s why today, we join the medical community, including the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) in declaring racism a public health issue.  

The truth is, it’s not enough to condemn violent acts against black and brown people. Racism permeates every structure in our society. We must also look inward into how white supremacy continues to show up in the institutions we are part of, and that includes Planned Parenthood. It is only when we acknowledge our own past and our own present that we may begin the hard work of progress.

“In all our health care, education, community engagement, and advocacy, we will keep learning, listening, supporting, and speaking up against inequity and injustice.  Dismantling the systems of oppression that invade the communities we serve requires that we demand justice, hold offenders accountable, and have difficult conversations inside and outside our organization.  We know that healing requires systemic change and collective action, and we are committed to staying in this work together with our patients, supporters, and our social justice partners.”

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri has provided high-quality, supportive health care in the region since 1932. They are the area leaders in sexual and reproductive health care, providing contraception, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, education and more to tens of thousands of people each year.