More than 99 percent of women who have ever had sex have used at least one birth control method in their lifetime. So virtually all women— regardless of race, religion, marital status, or political party— have had one thing in common at some point in their lives: Wanting to have sex but not wanting to get pregnant.
“I think with all the conversation around women’s health and birth control in the presidential elections, women have become much more tuned in to these issues,” said Serena Josel, Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. “Birth control is basic healthcare for women and these issues really resonate with them.”
With so many women relying on some form of contraception, it is interesting how much political candidates— presidential and local—have been attacking the issue in recent months.
Most recently, the state of Texas cut off all federal funding for family services, including the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program. The decision came after, the state cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood facilities earlier this month because the state government prohibits taxpayers to fund clinics that provide abortions. However, Planned Parenthood does not use any federal or state money for their abortion program.
The federal government currently funds about 90 percent of the $40 million women’s health program, which services 130,000 low-income women each year.
“The Texas situation is dire,” said Josel. “We are looking at several Planned Parenthood health centers closing their doors.”
In response, Josel says Planned Parenthood is reaching out nationally and locally to help engage women’s health supporters in Texas. Even in Los Angeles, volunteer phone banks have been launched to help educate Texas supporters and make them aware of rallies in their state.
But even as Conservatives carry out their attacks, organizations like Planned Parenthood have actually received a boost in donations.
“We especially experienced a bump in fundraising after the Komen situation, as our supporters tried to make up potential loss in dollars for our breast health programs,” said Josel.
Planned Parenthood’s national breast health fund received over $3 million in donations the week following Susan B. Komen’s decision to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood’s breast health program.
“We have even seen a major bump in the number of people who are signing up to receive our emails, to volunteer with us,” said Josel.
Though Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles branch didn’t have a grant with the Komen Foundation at the time, Josel said it received an overwhelming amount of requests for information from the media and the public.
“The Komen controversy was stressful in many ways,” said Josel. “But it was also an opportunity for us to be able to educate people about the broad range of services that we provide, which they might not have been aware of before this controversy.”
(image via Flickr / cecily7)
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