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Cloke: We are watching and we vote

BY GUEST OPINION | AUGUST 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund held a rally Aug. 23 in Des Moines as part of the Women are Watching bus tour, which is crisscrossing the country to educate voters about what’s at stake for women’s health in November and mobilize them to get out the vote. The Action Fund is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Gathering at the Iowa Capitol, around 100 voters sent a clear message to candidates and politicians such as Mitt Romney who oppose women’s health. That message: Women are watching, and they vote. This year, women will decide the outcome of elections across the country, and they are watching very closely to ensure that they elect candidates who will protect women’s health care.

“This election is critical. I’m worried about my future, my family’s future, and the future of my country,” said local supporter Karla Bromwell. “Mitt Romney wants to turn the clock back on women’s health. We are here to do something about it.”

Efforts to eliminate access to birth control, cancer screenings, and basic preventive-health services started in Congress more than 20 months ago. Now, cuts and attacks are putting women’s health at risk in states such as Texas — where government cuts to women’s health services presage what Romney would do all across America.

Nearly 3 million patients go to Planned Parenthood health centers every year — not to make a political statement but to get high-quality, affordable health care. Planned Parenthood sees more than 2 million patients for birth control every year, and conducts nearly 750,000 breast cancer screenings and more than 4 million STI tests/treatments.

In Iowa, Planned Parenthood provides care for more than 43,000 women, men, and families every year. More than half of those patients are at or below federal poverty level. For these Iowans, access to quality care is a basic economic issue. And for the state of Iowa, supporting family planning is smart fiscal policy.

The political attacks against women’s health in Iowa are similar to those taking place all across the country. Extreme lawmakers are putting the lives of Iowa women at risk with proposals to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict reproductive health care. For many, that would mean taking away the only health-care provider they see every year.

“The challenges that we’ve faced and the fights for women’s access to health care have shown us time and again the importance of having pro-women leaders in office,” said Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa President Jill June. “There are real people and real issues on the line. We will do all we can to speak up for women’s health.”

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the leading advocate for Planned Parenthood health centers across the nation, has launched its largest campaign effort ever because so much is at stake for women’s health in this election.

Shelby Cloke
Public-relations manager, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland


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