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SPRINGFIELD—The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF) has endorsed Yolanda Cancel for Mayor of Springfield. Cancel is an organizer and community leader who has worked alongside PPAF to protect the Springfield community’s basic rights.

“Local leaders have a responsibility to fight for their constituents’ rights and foster a community in which everyone can take charge of their health—no matter who they are or where they are from. Yolanda shares the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund’s commitment to protecting reproductive rights and tackling disparities head-on by raising awareness, implementing effective policy, and partnering with the Springfield community,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, PPAF president. “The Advocacy Fund is proud to partner with her in improving health care access and empowering all Springfield residents to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”

Cancel’s commitment to ensuring equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care and education is particularly important given the systemic barriers to and persisting stigma around sexual and reproductive health. Barriers to care and education perpetuate inequities, especially for young people: in 2016, Springfield’s teen birth rate was nearly three times higher than the state average. Between 2013 and 2015, Springfield’s HIV rates were more than two and a half times the national average. These rising rates of sexually transmitted infections and disparate teen birth rates underscore the urgent need to elect a Mayor who will work to eliminate these persistent health inequities.

“I'm proud to receive an endorsement from Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund and join them in the fight to protect reproductive health and rights of residents of the city of Springfield,” said Cancel. 

To earn PPAF’s endorsement, candidates for mayor must promote policies that make health care more accessible and equitable, improve sex education, and defend reproductive rights for all people. Cancel has made clear that she is committed to these issues: she understands that access to health care and comprehensive sex education play a pivotal role in disrupting health disparities, closing the achievement gap, and establishing economic security.

PPAF has also endorsed a slate of Springfield City Council candidates and candidates in the Boston and Worcester municipal races. PPAF is running volunteer-driven voter education programs and grassroots efforts informing voters about where endorsed candidates stand to ensure decisive electoral victories of these reproductive health and sex education advocates. The general election is on November 5.