Clergy and Religious Leaders Support Planned Parenthood’s Health Care Advocacy for Women of Color
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advisory Board (CAB) strongly denounces the recent efforts by anti-choice extremists to undermine Planned Parenthood's proud history of providing high-quality, unbiased health care services. These attempts to scare and misinform women about the services that Planned Parenthood provides are morally wrong. Injecting inflammatory and distorted racial issues about comprehensive reproductive health care into the public debate endangers the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of women of color who find themselves in a vulnerable and sometimes difficult time in life.
We are appalled that race is being used as a means to discourage women, already suffering from a lack of affordable health care, from accessing critical services. The truth is that race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status matter a great deal when it comes to health care in this country. The sad reality is that 47 million people living in the United States are uninsured. Poor women are twice as likely as women overall to lack health insurance. Women of color are disproportionately represented among the poor, making access to health care extremely difficult for them. Without access to critical reproductive health care services women of color suffer.
Recent statistics on sexually transmitted infections, teen birthrate, and cancer illustrate the need to address the widespread lack of access to health care and prevention programs:
- Nearly half of all African-American teenage girls carry a sexually transmitted infection.
- Unintended pregnancy is most likely to occur among women who are 18–24, unmarried, African American, Hispanic, or low-income.
- African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer or cervical cancer than the general population.
Planned Parenthood works to address this daunting reality of the health of women of color. Ninety-seven percent of health care services provided by Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers are related to prevention — including sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, contraception, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. By opening their doors to everyone, Planned Parenthood health centers affirm the inherent worth of each individual they care for by providing them with the resources necessary to protect their reproductive freedoms and their lives.
The United States government is not doing enough to help all women have equal access to reproductive health services. We ask all religious leaders to join us in assisting Planned Parenthood in making it possible for those suffering from a lack of affordable health care and other economic disparities to lead healthy lives.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advisory Board (CAB), launched in 1994, leads a national effort to increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health and justice. CAB members are dedicated pro-choice clergy from different denominations and communities throughout the U.S. who work with Planned Parenthood at the national and state levels to further the goal of full reproductive freedom for all women and men.