Letter: Abortion bans would impact women's health care in vulnerable communities
On April 21st, I testified at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health Committee hearing. The committee is having a series of hearings to push their aggressive anti-abortion agenda and highlight the three bills they have introduced to ban abortions in the commonwealth.
Many lies were trotted out, too many to address, as legislators used pregnant people’s lives and health as political pawns. Even more alarming was the insistent use of inflammatory rhetoric and refusal to use medically accurate terminology. But most disappointing was the failure to address how these abortion bans, led by mostly white lawmakers, would disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities — the same communities impacted the most by COVID-19.
Moreover, given Pennsylvania’s high rates of maternal and infant mortality, high rate of opioid addiction, and low vaccine rates in communities of color — it is time to focus on increasing access to preventive care, not on working to restrict access to health care. For many of the 22,000 patients we serve each year, PPKeystone is often the only provider accessible. Any erosion of access to abortion, and sexual and reproductive care, jeopardizes the health of our patients, their families and the state as a whole.
Melissa Reed, president and chief executive officer, Planned Parenthood Keystone