March 17, 2015 — "[I]n honor of National Women's History Month, Planned Parenthood and [its] supporters are asking lawmakers across the country to stand on the right side of women's history by moving forward -- not backward -- on women's health," Karen Nelson, president and CEO at Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, writes in a Rochester Democrat and Chronicle opinion piece.
"Thanks to expanded access to reproductive health care," the U.S. has "made great progress in public health outcomes," Nelson writes. She notes that teen pregnancy and abortion rates are at "a 40-year low" as a result of "[i]mproved access to a full range of birth control services." Further, she notes that "access to reproductive care is directly related to women's ability to finish school and succeed professionally."
However, Nelson writes that despite these outcomes, "what we're still seeing from the new Congress and in too many state legislatures are politically-motivated attacks on women and their right to make their own personal medical decisions."
Nelson lists several "solid ways" by which federal and New York state lawmakers "can protect and expand women's health." Specifically, she notes that lawmakers can "[e]xpand access to publicly funded family planning services"; "[m]ake birth control truly available and accessible" without copayments, both over the counter and in physicians' offices; and "[s]upport efforts to strengthen and protect Medicaid."
She concludes that "[a]t Planned Parenthood, we've seen what happens to women when access to health care is severely restricted," but "we've also seen the progress that's possible when doors are open to women -- when the people in office embrace science and medicine" (Nelson, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 3/13).