Wallie Morris: Support Planned Parenthood

I am a woman and a mother pregnant with my second child, writing in support of Planned Parenthood. I understand the stress and financial burden associated with reproductive health care and pregnancy. I am outraged by the GOP’s constant attack on Planned Parenthood.

The unplanned birth rate and demand for abortion services are at historic lows in the U.S. from access to safe, affordable and reliable contraception. In 2009, Colorado led the way in reducing unplanned pregnancies with a privately funded, statewide program providing women free long-acting reversible contraceptives.

From 2009 to 2014, Colorado’s unplanned birth rate dropped 48 precent and 19.4 percent among low-income women age 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 respectively, repeat teen births dropped 58 percent and teen abortions were reduced 35 percent.

In May 2016, our state budget included a $2.5million increase for family planning services. Access to family planning and contraception is working.

What organization is our country’s largest provider of family planning services and contraception? Planned Parenthood.

In the 2016 cycle, Steamboat’s Planned Parenthood reduced cervical and breast cancer risk by performing over 225 annual exams, provided nearly 900 STI tests and 400 HIV tests; distributed 1,200 cycles of contraception and provided 90 long-acting reversible contraceptives to name a few services.

They also provided free sex education programs, encouraging abstinence, to 669 Steamboat youth. Similarly to Steamboat’s services, 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services nationally are focused on safe, reliable and affordable reproductive health care, unrelated to abortion. Yet, the federal government is threatening to pull all federal funding based on 3 percent of the services provided.

In 2016, Planned Parenthood served 80,000 individuals statewide. Steamboat’s clinic served over 800; 43 percent self pay, 39 percent insured and 18 percent Medicaid recipients. With Title X funding all but gone and federal Medicaid reimbursements at risk in any TrumpCare plan, 18 percent of individuals in Steamboat and 30 percent statewide will loose their current healthcare coverage at Planned Parenthood, as will an unforeseen number of self-pay individuals when Planned Parenthood lacks funds to treat them.

The loss of Medicaid reimbursements, alone, amounts to $10 million of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain’s $32 million annual budget. Planned Parenthood is bracing for a significant loss in funding over a service that, while controversial, is legal and hardly representative of the integral role Planned Parenthood plays in our health care system.

Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner, you see the positive effects of family planning in our state yet consistently vote to defund the fundamental provider of this service. State and federal dollars are prohibited from funding abortions in Colorado, so there is no logical reason to block federal reimbursements to Planned Parenthood.

Is your vote based on partisan politics or is it founded in a complete disregard for the reproductive health and choices of women?

Paul Ryan suggested community healthcare centers could provide reproductive healthcare services in lieu of Planned Parenthood. Where is our guarantee, Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner, that adequate support will be allocated to these clinics to meet the needs Planned Parenthood once served?

And why is it OK to deny the provider of choice to low-income women while vehemently criticizing this aspect of Obamacare?

Coloradans have seen the positive outcomes associated with access to contraception and family planning services. I urge our community and our representatives to look at our progress and consider the impact defunding Planned Parenthood will have on female reproductive health, the unplanned pregnancy rate and the abortion rate for low-income women in our community.

Those who are truly pro life should support Planned Parenthood and its family planning efforts as a proven way ensure reproductive health and reduce abortions.

Wallie Morris

Steamboat Springs

Community comments

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(dave mcirvin) stormpeakco says...

well said, thanks.

Posted 3 April 2017, 6:55 a.m. Suggest removal

(Nancy Spillane) NSpillane says...

Well done, Ms. Morris. Thank you for bringing this important topic up for discussion. I also am tired of the constant attacks on women's health care. If you are not in possession of a uterus you should not make laws governing them. Women should be in charge of their own bodies, and have every opportunity to make decisions regarding those bodies.

Posted 3 April 2017, 8:24 a.m. Suggest removal

(Chris Richardson) Chris_Richardson says...

Quick question for Wallie, Nancy, Dave, whoever: Why is it that we never hear or talk about alternative sources of funding for PP? Every claim above could be 100% true, but the way that the organization has been supported/funded in the past violates many tax payers religious or other beliefs. I'm not necessarily arguing one side or the other, but you fundamentally can not grant one's "freedom" at the expense of another's "freedom". So, like I was posing, why do we not advance the conversation into a different territory? If PP were able to rework their funding structures in a way that didn't require tax-payer monies, wouldn't everyone win? If it's possible then you also do away with the volatility of their operations linked to fiscal policy.

I hope this opinion is considered valid given my lack of a uterus. Talking to you and your unequivocally sexist position, Nancy.

Posted 3 April 2017, 9:37 a.m. Suggest removal

(james Patterson) skypilot says...

Using your logic, could we please find another source of funding for war, which violates a lot of tax payers religious or other beliefs? Extraction industry funding? Weapons industry? Tax free religions, drug law enforcement, etc, etc. All of these can be seen as granting one freedom at the cost of another's. If we are going to look at "at the expense of another's freedom" as far as tax funding, that is going to limit tax funding for just about everything........ which I suspect would please some of the folks that post here. Instead, what if we look at the end cost to our society of not making these services readily available to everyone. I personally would prefer we look at most, if not all things, with the end cost in mind. Might lead us to a better functioning society/world.

Posted 3 April 2017, 12:36 p.m. Suggest removal

(Chris Richardson) Chris_Richardson says...

Of course James, you could make some of those arguments and some may be compelling, but my question was about PP. Please note that I object to public funding for many of the things you mentioned, so I am not trying to redirect, but refocus on my original proposition. If PP delivers the value (personal or social) that the author, you, and others suggest it does then surely another method of funding could be safely suggested if not viable. No?

Posted 3 April 2017, 2:31 p.m. Suggest removal

(james Patterson) skypilot says...

The obvious answer is it would depend on the alternate method and the conditions set for that funding. Because of my history, I do not trust the markets, religious or any other dogma driven source of funding for programs that are designed for the welfare of those in need. I realize this opens a huge can of worms. If, for example, education is profit driven then decisions are often made not in the best interest of the student but in the interest of the bottom line. When the "outside" motives are minimized, then decisions tend to be made in the best interest of those being served. If PP were to be funded by a "for profit", for example, would decisions be made in the best interest of the client or in the interest of profit? So I guess my answer to your No? question would be....probably not. IMHO

Posted 3 April 2017, 4:03 p.m. Suggest removal

(Martha D Young) marthalee says...

Planned Parenthood is also funded by private donors.

Posted 4 April 2017, 6:20 a.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Nancy - You say "If you are not in possession of a uterus you should not make laws governing them." <br><BR>That's such a idiotic, repulsive and blatantly sexist statement that I can't help but wonder how far that bigotry goes. If men can't represent women as you claim, do you think that an elected Latino can represent a white person?<br><br>The belief that elected officials can only represent those that share inherited attributes is identity politics at it's absolute worst and should be openly rejected by decent people everywhere.

Posted 3 April 2017, 11:03 a.m. Suggest removal

(Nancy Spillane) NSpillane says...

Ken and Chris, thank you for your comments. I sincerely respect your points of view. I agree with you that men and women of all types can represent men, women, races, and genders of all types. However, when it comes to medical issues, I believe women should be able to make choices for themselves and it should be between the woman, her partner, and her physician. I do not think politicians should be included in that conversation - men or women. I hope my position is a little more clear.

Posted 3 April 2017, 11:51 a.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Nancy - Thanks for your reply. It has been my life's experience that we are all much more alike than different. I suppose the "lobbying" aspect of human nature causes us to place more focus on the few areas where we disagree than the larger areas where we agree.<br><br>Regarding the involvement of government in healthcare decisions, I agree with your comment that politicians should not be involved in a conversation between a patient and their doctor; men or women. This matter of privacy is one of the reasons that I don't think the government should be involved in healthcare at all and support a complete repeal of the ACA.

Posted 3 April 2017, 12:11 p.m. Suggest removal

(Nancy Spillane) NSpillane says...

Hello Ken - also thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree that we are much more alike than different. Nice to know we agree on keeping politicians out of the conversations between physicians and their patients. That's a good thing. Where we disagree is that I firmly believe in a universal health care/single payer/medicare for all. It's okay to disagree, and please know I do sincerely respect your differing opinion. Cheers.

Posted 3 April 2017, 12:35 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Nancy - Thanks again for your reply. A universal, single-payer system would necessarily place the government in the middle of the 'relationship' between patient and doctor. While I understand the compassion motivation for advocating for a single-payer system, I don't understand why a person that doesn't want government in the 'conversation' between a patient and doctor would accept the government managing the 'relationship' between the patient and doctor. That is much more invasive as the government would have complete access to everyone's medical records in a single-payer system and the doctor would be a government employee.<br><br>In a United States universal, single-payer system, the same government that has seen both democrats and republicans use the force of government against others for political purposes will have the notes of every conversation between every patient and every doctor. That alone is a good reason to not support a universal, single-payer system. When I also consider the economic harm that will be caused by a universal, single-payer system, there's no way I can support it, no matter how much compassion I may have for others.

Posted 3 April 2017, 1:33 p.m. Suggest removal

(Nancy Spillane) NSpillane says...

Ken, I think my thoughts on this stem from how well Medicare works for those 65 and over. For me, I would rather my health care providers be in a conversation with ONE payer entity vs. a different payer entity (e.g., insurance companies) for every single patient (and then the complexities of each person having a different plan). From the physicians with whom I have spoken, this is a very cumbersome and expensive system. One payer would simplify it. I think that taking out the middle man (insurance companies) would put money back into heath care vs. into the deep pockets of the insurance companies. In the countries in which I have had the opportunity to use their health care systems or have had discussions with those respective citizens, it seems to work quite well (of course there always are individual stories of failure, but I don't find those stories to be any more numerous than the health care failures in our country).

Posted 4 April 2017, 9:13 a.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Let's look at the concept of no government involvement in health care. That would mean no MediCare, no MedicAid, no VA medical services, no research on health care issues, no FDA to prove drugs and procedures are safe and effective, no requirement that hospitals treat anyone who comes in. What is left? Only those with money could buy health care. Is that the country you want to live in?

Posted 3 April 2017, 2:39 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Lock - I've never once suggested zero government involvement in the healthcare industry. I've also never objected to the FDA, the VA, providing healthcare assistance to the disabled and elderly or providing emergency medical care to everyone that needs it. In fact, I support all of those as matters of policy.<bR><br>How would the Trump administration having complete access to the medical records of every DNC candidate for every elected office in the country impact your faith in our elections?

Posted 3 April 2017, 2:56 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

But you said, "I don't think the government should be involved in healthcare at all"

Posted 3 April 2017, 3:05 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

"the government would have complete access to everyone's medical records in a single-payer system and the doctor would be a government employee"

Is that true now under MediCare and MedicAid?

Posted 3 April 2017, 3:32 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

I apologize for such a sweeping statement and stand corrected. I don't think government should be involved in a universal healthcare scheme. That was the context of my statement, but I certainly should have been more articulate. I also don't object to licensing requirements for healthcare professionals, which is certainly government involvement in healthcare.<br><br>Yes, people enrolled in all government programs, including Medicare/Medicaid, are at-risk of that information being leaked for political purposes. How would you feel about every single candidate in the Country at-risk of their medical information leaked for political purposes? You have much more trust in government than I have if you think that won't end badly.

Posted 3 April 2017, 3:36 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

“How would the Trump administration having complete access to the medical records of every DNC candidate for every elected office in the country impact your faith in our elections?”

I don't see how medical records of the candidates could be used to undermine our elections. Can you elucidate further?

Posted 3 April 2017, 3:46 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Ken, I know that you believe that government is nefarious and doesn't want to help the citizens that are supposed to be in charge. So why not try to make government a better and more moral institution? Just making government smaller does not make it perform better. The IRS's budget has been reduced, making it harder to collect the taxes due. Cutting the EPA's budget will result in more pollution.

Don't give up on the proposition that government can truly be "of the people, by the people, for the people." But we have to elect people that care for the well-being of the electorate, rather than just being in public service for personal gain.

Posted 3 April 2017, 4:03 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

It's naive to think personal medical information wouldn't be leaked and exploited for political purposes. To illustrate the inherent risks associated with the proliferation of medical records, contact Dianne Mitsch Bush and Governor Hickenlooper and ask if you could see their complete medical history. Next, find the most liberal person on the Steamboat Springs City Council and ask for their complete medical records. The responses from those Democrat's will effectively communicate the sensitivity of that personal medical information.<br><br>What happens when a foreign adversary hacks into the system and has the medical records of every candidate? Again, you have an irrational trust in government if you think it won't end badly.

Posted 3 April 2017, 4:04 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Again, just because the government pays for health care doesn't mean that they will have the complete medical records including doctor's notes in their system. Do the insurance companies have all the records in their files? Does MediCare have all the records of every patient in the system?

Posted 3 April 2017, 4:39 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

If the government is managing the system they will have access to the data. Proficient hackers will also have access to the system.

Posted 3 April 2017, 7:15 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Yes, cyber security is a huge problem we are neglecting to work on. We could make our systems much more robust, but we don't want to pay for it. Instead of giving the military another 54 Billion, how about spending the money on modernizing the government's computers so they are not so easily hacked? Lots of information gets out because of internal leaks rather than outside hacks.

But now our ISPs are allowed to sell our information, so why is that good and governments having information is bad?

BTW, I don't care who has my medical information. There is nothing there that can be used against me.

Posted 3 April 2017, 8:01 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Because government can use the information to manipulate the electorate and/or blackmail people. While you may not care who has your information, many others do care. I bet you lunch that Gov. Hickenlooper won't share his medical history with you. Hillary Clinton was the ACA's biggest cheerleader and I'd bet you dinner at the Oar House she wouldn't release her medical history. Does that mean they have something to hide? Maybe, maybe not. Some people think that if you don't have anything to hide you shouldn't mind the police searching your home and answering questions since the Fourth and Fifth Amendment's protections are only needed for people that are hiding things.

Posted 3 April 2017, 8:35 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

I never advocated that everyone's medical records should be public. I, for one, have no interest in Hickenlooper's or Clinton's medical records. Do MediCare records contain doctor's notes? The Fourth and Fifth Amendment's protections are for the innocent and the guilty. I have refused a policeman's request to search my car as per my right.

Just because there is a possibility of being hacked, does not mean we should not do anything. We all have lots of information out there in cyberspace and a tiny fraction of it has been hacked.

And Ken, I will buy you dinner at the Ore (not Oar) House just because I like debating with you, no bet needed.

Posted 3 April 2017, 9:12 p.m. Suggest removal

(mary walker) mew says...

I Stand With Planned Parenthood.

Posted 4 April 2017, 10:17 a.m. Suggest removal

(j mcginnis) JMcGinnis says...

Seems that this conversation has veered away from the heartfelt letter by Ms. Morris where she expresses a wish for individuals to remain responsible for important personal and family decisions versus having elected representatives dictate family matters.
In Colorado (2009 to 2014) offering birth control to low income teens reduced pregnancy by 48% and abortions by a similar rate. The rate of repeat births ( teens having a second child) dropped by 58%. Wow, that sounds like a successful program to me!!
( http://www.larc4co.com/)
People who are honest about wanting to reduce abortions should applaud efforts from Planned Parenthood. Most women who cannot afford birth control are not able to afford to deliver and raise a child either. Women who can choose when the opportune time is to start a family with a partner, will be able to complete her education and be in a much better place financially and emotionally to raise a child.
Planned Parenthood helps women in Routt County to avoid unexpected pregnancies and the abortions that sometimes follow, and to complete their education and become productive participants in the local economy.

Posted 4 April 2017, 5:45 p.m. Suggest removal

(mary walker) mew says...

Thank you for noting that the conversation had veered away from topic. This is precisely why I posted my comment, which is actually one of Planned Parenthood's official rallying slogans, if you will.

Posted 5 April 2017, 7:20 a.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Everyone who is fertile should have affordable birth control available, so there are zero unintended pregnancies. There are too many human beings on this planet and we cannot afford to add to the population willy-nilly anymore.

Posted 6 April 2017, 8:59 a.m. Suggest removal

(Brian Kotowski) Sep says...

[Trump Signs Law to Let States Defund Planned Parenthood][1]

[1]: http://www.newser.com/story/241281/tr...

Posted 14 April 2017, 12:57 p.m. Suggest removal

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