News: Rally at the Statehouse to Protect Our Patients
Hundreds Rally at Statehouse
to Support PPIN
Affordable, High-quality Health Care for Hoosiers at Risk
More than 400 women and men rallied on the South Lawn of the Indiana Statehouse to speak their minds and show their support for Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) and continued access to affordable reproductive health care.
Planned Parenthood and reproductive health care have been under attack by members of the Indiana General Assembly this session, as well as some in Congress – most notably U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, who represents Indiana's 6th District. Seventeen bills addressing reproductive rights have been filed in the Statehouse, and Pence has made it his primary mission to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
At risk in the attempts to eliminate funding to PPIN is preventive reproductive health care for 22,000 Hoosier women who rely on Medicaid and federal family planning funds. PPIN receives about $3 million each year in Medicaid reimbursements for patient care, grants for sexually transmitted disease programs and Title V, X and XX funding. In addition, other bills moving through the state legislature would require women to be given medically-inaccurate information prior to an abortion and further intrude into the doctor-patient relationship.
"Rather than cutting health care and telling us what to do with our bodies, maybe lawmakers can focus on things that will make Indiana better," said Deborah Simon, board chair for PPIN, during today's "Rally to Protect Our Patients." "My message to legislators? Get out of our doctors' offices and fix the economy!"
Ashley Holmes, a PPIN patient, told rally-goers that the health care provided by the statewide organization enabled her to become the first woman in her family to complete her college degree.
"It would have been easy to sacrifice my health for the sake of being the first woman to finish college, but thanks to Planned Parenthood it wasn't necessary. They know young women should not have to choose between an education and basic preventive care, and they're doing something about it," Holmes said. "Reliable access to preventive care and to birth control has made the difference between our opportunities as women for the past eighty years and women today."
"The war against women's equality has resumed, and we are in combat mode," said State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage). "We will not, in a few years, lose what it has taken generations to accomplish. Not on our watch."
"These bills are abusive, intrusive and inappropriate – and they do nothing but create unsafe conditions for men and women who need our help the most," said Endangered Species Chocolate Foundation President Wayne Zink, a PPIN board member. "These legislators are out of touch with reality, and have very little command of the facts surrounding what Planned Parenthood is and does for Hoosiers."
Zink pointed out that PPIN provided the following services through its health centers across the state in fiscal year 2010:
- 26,000 Pap tests that can detect cervical cancer;
- 74,000 screenings for STDs;
- 21,000 pregnancy tests and counseling sessions; and,
- education programs that reached 22,000 young people.
"This is unquestionably a legislative assault on women, orchestrated primarily by men," said PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum. "We're sending the message loud and clear that Hoosiers want lawmakers to stay out of their doctors' offices and focus on the real issues: the state budget, jobs and education."
Additional speakers during today's rally included lifelong activist Cordelia Lewis Burks, State Sen. Vi Simpson (D-Bloomington), Indianapolis Rabbi Jon Adland, Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott and Indianapolis Attorney Karen Celestino-Horseman, among others.
Following the event, PPIN supporters made their way into the Statehouse to speak directly with their local legislators about the importance of reproductive health care.