In October of 2017, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) had the privilege to support House Resolution 61 (HR 61) in the California Assembly—a resolution that highlights California’s fiercely determined advocacy for breast cancer patients and research.
PPAC was later granted the opportunity to interview one of the resolution’s co-authors, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry of the 4thAssembly District, who we want to highlight during Women's History Month, just on the cusp of International Women's Day.
(Asm. Aguiar-Curry’s responses were mildly edited for brevity and clarity).
Describe what it was like to write and advocate for HR 61.
It wasn’t difficult at all. Many [of my] family members have lived with cancer. My mother had breast cancer and when she came out of surgery, the doctor said [to me], “You will always need a mammogram.” I started to really take care of myself and every year on my birthday, I get a mammogram. Something that’s important for us to do is to remind people to take care of themselves—mental health included. People [shouldn’t] look back and say, “I wish I would have.”
Prior to the discovery of a growth on your ovary in your youth, what were your feelings on Planned Parenthood?
It was back in the 70s and Planned Parenthood was just getting started [gaining national attention and household notoriety], so a lot of us didn’t know much about it. I knew that I needed birth control and that was a service they provided but I wasn’t sexually active at the time. I went to Planned Parenthood for a check-up and [the doctors] said I was pregnant and I said, “Well, I’d have to have sex first.” What it was was a cyst on my ovary that they figured had grown since birth. They referred me to a few doctors up in Chico and I was able to get that surgery and that care.
What kind of impact did you envision yourself making when you drafted HR 61?
I just wanted to bring awareness that breast cancer is something that can be cured, that if you catch it early, you can have a long life. It’s been 25 to 28 years but my mother could have been alive today. The importance of taking good care of yourself – it’s really quite personal because of my mother. If I can change one person’s life or a couple, it’s so important to me. I know so many people who’ve had cancer.
Watch and hear a powerful statement from Aguiar-Curry about HR 61 on the Assembly Floor.