We Stand with Planned Parenthood

Written by Rhiannon Childs, VP Community Engagement & Social Impact at the Ohio Women’s Alliance

Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio will be closing two of their health care centers as a result of the Trump Administration's gag-rule. The gag-rule prevents Planned Parenthood from Title X funding, a national program for affordable birth control and family planning. No taxpayer dollars, including Title X dollars, are used for safe, legal abortion. However, anti-reproductive lawmakers take personal issue with Planned Parenthood as a preferred family planning provider servicing over 60% of Ohio's Title X patients. 

But wait—there's more. The gag-rule follows Governor Dewine and former Governor Kasich's extended game of cruelty with Ohioans lives at stake. They’ve passed a total of 22 anti-reproductive health measures in recent years. The closing of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio clinics will leave over 6,000 patients without access to care, and many have no other health care options. We are witnessing politicians put in more work to block access to essential health care, rather than prioritize expanding health care to more Ohioans.  

LET THAT SINK IN

A primary health care provider of full range reproductive services including birth control, sex education, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, and more life-saving care, is absorbing the brunt of ongoing political attacks. Meanwhile, Ohio has devastating disparities of black maternal and infant mortality rates that are more than 3-4 times the national average. Hamilton County, where the clinics are closing, has some of the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the state.

As a Black woman who's been a Planned Parenthood patient the majority of my adult life, I know who will be impacted the most by creating intentional barriers to access Planned Parenthood, and that is women, people in poverty, and people of color. 

Planned Parenthood was there for me when I was 17 years old and pregnant my senior year in high school, without insurance. I was treated with compassion and professionalism that was free from shame or stigma. I was told that whatever decision I made would be the best decision for me. I continued my pregnancy and received a referral for prenatal care. Planned Parenthood was my pathway to a healthy and safe pregnancy. Planned Parenthood was also there for me when I couldn't afford health care. Although further educated, credentialed, experienced, and a military veteran, I made less money than my white female and male counterparts. I could barely feed my children, and if not for Planned Parenthood, I would've been forced to decide what was most important. Gas to work, food, utilities, rent, or my health. 

The relentless attempt to take down one of the longest-standing health care provider’s in Ohio (over 90 years) servicing majority women, is nothing short of a sexist, misogynistic power move. These rulings and measures are racially bias and prey upon people who can't afford health insurance. Anti-reproductive rights politicians are manspreading across our health care—a desperate patriarchal tactic to diminish and silence our voices. These same lawmakers are attempting to erase our right to bodily autonomy and challenge our ability to make decisions for ourselves. Why? Because they can't fathom a world where people who they have othered rise up together. They are afraid to coexist as equals as if they may lose some control. But who are they to assume we would be submissive to their oppressive policies in the first place?

We hold the power to create a fair, just and equitable Ohio, starting with controlling our right to reproductive freedom. And yes, that unapologetically includes access to safe, legal abortion on demand. 

LET'S FIGHT BACK

We are coming together across the state in solidarity with Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio this Thursday, September 12 at 2016 Ferguson Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45238 at 7:00 p.m. to support Planned Parenthood's compassionate care and those who are directly impacted.

If you can’t make it to the rally, please donate here to ensure Ohioans continue receiving non-judgmental comprehensive health care.

No Matter What.

- written by Rhiannon Childs, VP Community Engagement & Social Impact

Erin Scott