By Ashley Miller
As a nurse practitioner who cares for patients at Planned Parenthood of Kentucky, I am appalled by the dangerous agenda of some legislators in Washington, D.C. — an agenda that threatens the health of millions of American women.
Having failed to eliminate cancer screenings and birth control for millions of women, men and teen-agers, the most extreme members of the House of Representatives are back to replay their attack on women's health. Specifically, they are calling for votes in the House and Senate to close Planned Parenthood's doors to people who get their health care through Medicaid and other federal health programs.
The health center where I work in Lexington is but one of Planned Parenthood's more than 800 health centers, which provide nearly a million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams each year.
Planned Parenthood health centers like ours also provide affordable birth control to nearly 2.5 million patients and nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections. Planned Parenthood is the largest sexuality educator in the country, helping to protect young people and adults against HIV and other STIs, as well as unwanted pregnancy. Nearly 1.2 million youths and adults participate in Planned Parenthood educational programs every year.
Generations of American women have relied on Planned Parenthood for birth control and cancer screenings. In fact, one woman in five has turned to our health centers for care at some point in her life, and I am one of those women. In recent weeks, American women have voiced their support of Planned Parenthood and have soundly rejected these extreme attacks.
As a health care provider and as a woman, I believe the health and wellness of our nation's women affects everyone. The services we provide are of the highest quality. I take pride in the services we provide for our Lexington community. We are open and welcoming to all who seek our services, whether they are insured or uninsured, no matter their sexual orientation, financial status or need. We provide preventive health care, something many Americans would like to consider a right.
Planned Parenthood is bigger than the abortion issue our opposition tends to try to overshadow us with. We are an agency the women of this community rely on for many services. Can we sit back and allow officials to use this ploy as a means to deny preventative health care to women across the nation? I urge all who care about the health of women in this country to oppose this proposal.
Ashley Miller is a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood of Kentucky Inc.