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Lee Roper-Batker

Lee Roper-Batker

Courtesy, Women's Foundation of Minnesota

Roper-Batker: What's at stake in proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood

  • Article by: LEE ROPER-BATKER
  • February 23, 2011 - 6:33 PM

Commentary

If it weren't for Planned Parenthood, my sister would be dead.

So I am profoundly outraged by the injustice and discrimination of Friday's vote in the U.S. House to deny all federal funding to the organization.

The House majority leadership has tried to position this as being about abortion. It is not about abortion.

It is about access for low-income women to cancer screenings, to birth control, to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and to screening for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Simply put, it's about access to health care.

Women have a right to stay healthy, to finish college, to earn a living and to manage their futures. In fact, to this day I credit Planned Parenthood with saving my sister's life.

During a routine annual gynecological exam, their skilled nurses found a lump in her neck. They would not renew her birth control until she had this checked out by a specialist, for whom they provided a referral.

The lump turned out to be a malignant thyroid tumor.

Twenty-four years ago, Planned Parenthood provided quality health care during a routine annual exam that saved one young woman's life, my sister's. There are countless other stories out there like ours, and there are thousands of our sisters, daughters, wives and nieces who depend on Planned Parenthood each year for their health care.

Today, as president of the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, I am honored to work with hundreds of partners across Minnesota to ensure that women achieve greater economic justice, safety and security, human rights, political power, and health and reproductive rights.

Among these partners is Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

For 83 years, Planned Parenthood has served women and families by providing access to health care and accurate, science-based information. Many of these services are supported by the decades-old federal Title X national family planning program that the House just voted to end.

Friday's vote placed every low-income woman's health and life in jeopardy.

Please don't let the passage of the Pence Amendment jeopardize the health and well-being of low-income women.

At a time when President Obama has asked us to "win the future," the U.S. House has loudly signaled its intention to backslide by dismantling the national family planning program President Richard Nixon signed into law in 1970.

Whose sister and whose family would House representatives throw out along with Title X family planning? Mine. And maybe yours.

Lee Roper-Batker is president and CEO of the Women's Foundation of Minnesota.

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