The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Planned Parenthood Takes Women's Health Message to Capitol Hill

Protecting Women’s Health in Health Care Reform Must Be a Priority


Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), one of the nation's
leading women's health care providers and advocates, canvassed Capitol
Hill today with more than 300 staff, board members and volunteers from
across the country to discuss with members of Congress the importance
of making women's health a priority in health care reform. Among the
300 making Hill visits were Planned Parenthood affiliate CEOs,
staffers, supporters and Planned Parenthood teen peer educators and
young adult volunteers.

"As a leading women's health care provider and advocate,
Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the importance of making sure women
are a priority in health care reform," said PPFA President Cecile
Richards. "That's why we are taking our case to lawmakers. It's time
for Washington to learn what millions of American women have known for
a long time. Women's health care is basic health care. More than 90
percent of what Planned Parenthood health centers do is provide
preventive health care. Planned Parenthood health centers are essential
community health care providers."

Planned Parenthood staff, board members and volunteers made nearly
250 visits to members of Congress to discuss the need to make women's
health a priority. They brought Congress two messages: any health care
reform effort must include access to comprehensive reproductive health
care, and women's access to essential community providers must be
protected. This ensures that basic prevention care, such as
contraception, Pap tests, and other cancer screenings, are covered and
that women are able to access trusted health care providers in the
communities where they live.

"Women must not be worse off after health care reform than
they are now," said Richards. "That means we need commonsense proposals
that give women access to reproductive health care and the opportunity
to go to their provider of choice."

With the economic downturn, more and more women have turned to
community health centers such as Planned Parenthood as a source of
high-quality health care at costs they can afford. For many of these
women, Planned Parenthood serves as their primary or sole health care
provider. A recent Guttmacher Institute study found that more than six
in 10 patients who receive care at a women's health center like Planned
Parenthood consider it their primary source of health care. These
community health centers are an integral part of the nation's health
care system.

Today's lobby day was a part of the Planned Parenthood 2009 Policy
and Organizing Summit, a three-day event with a focus on PPFA's ongoing
campaign for health care reform. Other events include organizing and
advocacy workshops, panel discussions, and the presentation of the PPFA
Maggie Awards and Barry Goldwater Award.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is many things to many people. We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to millions of women, men, and young people.