A Statement from Patricia McGeown, President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood
On Monday, February 14, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood’s Hudson health center was the target of anti-choice protest activity—activity that was covered in the Register Star the next day. Picketing is not an unusual experience for those of us who work at Planned Parenthood. Our work to provide affordable, high quality, confidential reproductive health services to women, men and families has brought angry opposition since our earliest days. Despite such opposition, our professional staff has continued to focus on taking care of the women and families who walk through our health center doors seeking lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control information and supplies, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing and other services, including abortion.
Too many women and families cannot afford the health care they need and deserve. Prices are rising even as the economy continues to struggle, and women continue to earn less than men. The majority of patients who come to UHPP for health care services have incomes below the federal poverty level. Many see no other health care provider. They count on Planned Parenthood to provide affordable, confidential and compassionate service when there is nowhere else to turn.
Monday’s protesters were part of a national effort to malign Planned Parenthood at a time when new leadership in the House of Representatives is aggressively pushing a dangerous agenda to take health care away from women. This week, House leaders launched the most devastating legislative assault on women’s health care in American history. They are aiming to eliminate the national family planning program (known as Title X), which funds thousands of family planning providers nationwide, including many Planned Parenthoods. And they want to deny Planned Parenthood all federal funds it receives to provide affordable reproductive health services. Simply put, this legislative attack will cut off health care to millions of women who need it the most.
Under the guise of deficit reduction, these House leaders, who share an extreme agenda, are gunning to end this popular and effective program that does so much to prevent unintended pregnancy and provide essential health care. If they succeed, millions of women across the country will lose access to basic primary and preventive health care.
More than 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood health centers offer is preventive, yet Indiana Republican Representative Mike Pence and others are intent on defunding Planned Parenthood, because it also provides women with abortion care when they need it. Every year, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses carry out nearly one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams. They also provide contraception to nearly 2.5 million patients and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood sees over 11,000 patients each year at three health centers located in Albany, Troy and Hudson.
As for fiscal discipline and deficit reduction, family planning programs like Title X save money. For every public dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save nearly $4. New York State stands to lose millions of dollars now used to ensure that reproductive health care services are available and affordable to women and men, regardless of income. Yet, in their ideological zeal to attack women’s health, the House leadership doesn’t seem to care.
Monday’s protestors made reference to an undercover video recorded at Planned Parenthood of New York City by Live Action as part of that organization’s ongoing anti-Planned Parenthood efforts. Planned Parenthood of New York City has reviewed this video carefully, and it is clear that the video cannot be trusted. The conversation as portrayed on this doctored videotape is not accurate. The truth is that Live Action has a history of doctoring video, making false claims and has no credibility.
The House leadership is clearly out of touch with the needs and wishes of the American people, especially those of women. These extreme proposals are bad policy, bad politics and bad for the health of our women. That’s why we urge Congress to reject this dangerous assault on women’s health. We invite all those who care about women’s health to join us in this effort by contacting your Congressional Representative now!
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is a community-based non-profit organization providing advocacy, education and reproductive health care services in the capital region since 1934. Our service area includes Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer Counties. In 2010, the agency provided health care services to over 11,000 men, women and youth who made over 23,000 visits to our health centers located in Albany, Troy and Hudson. UHPP community educators also provided 366 programs to 4,805 participants.
The UHPP mission is to promote healthy sexuality and reproductive choice through exceptional services, honest education and fearless advocacy.