Planned Parenthood is determined to overcome obstacles

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I would like to thank Sally Kalson for her insightful column "The World Before Roe" (Jan. 20) as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Yes, we can celebrate, but we at Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania are still facing a very difficult battle to provide our comprehensive services in a safe, legal and compassionate environment to the women in our community.

We are in the crosshairs of legislative attacks on women's access to reproductive care. Pitched to the public as a medical safety measure, the state has passed legislation that abortion procedures can be performed only in an ambulatory surgical facility. These legislative attacks have created serious and costly barriers for providers. Prior to this legislation we delivered accessible and safe abortion services for the last 10 years at the clinical office space at our current location.

The new onerous ambulatory surgical facilities code has already reduced the surgical providers from 22 to 14 statewide, leaving only three in Western Pennsylvania. Although abortion services represent a small part of what we do, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania is committed to offer the full range of reproductive care.

We have launched a capital campaign to raise $1.4 million. With this campaign we can invest in the long-term sustainability and a renewed commitment to reproductive health care for everyone in our community. Over 74 percent of our clients we currently serve are low-income families, as well as the uninsured or the underinsured, who simply couldn't afford gynecological care, cancer screening or birth control, and their needs would go unmet without Planned Parenthood.

The Planned Parenthood leadership has already raised $700,000 toward this goal, and we are dedicated. We have overcome a lot of obstacles over the 83 years we have served the community but none greater than we face today.

CATHY REIFER
Board of Directors
Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania
Downtown


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