Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Victory for Oklahoma!

After women and families throughout Oklahoma voiced their strong opposition to a targeted attack on Planned Parenthood that threatened the health of needy infants and children, state lawmakers have allowed the bill to die in committee. At risk were critical food vouchers and nutrition services for the prenatal and pediatric clients that Planned Parenthood serves in Tulsa County. Legislative session formally concludes tomorrow.

The amendment, attached to SB 709, would have defunded Planned Parenthood’s Women Infant and Children (WIC) program in Oklahoma. The amendment applied to 9 organizations, but it was clearly a targeted attack that would have solely excluded Planned Parenthood from being able to provide nutrition vouchers to families participating in its prenatal and pediatric programs.

In opposition to the amendment, the Tulsa World editorial board (May 14, 2011) wrote, Here's the crux of the matter: In kicking Planned Parenthood out of the WIC program, lawmakers won't be punishing Planned Parenthood. They'll be punishing poor women who chose to have their babies and are trying to take care of them.

“We are extremely pleased that legislators in the State Senate and House have decided to end their dangerous political assault on the health of Oklahoma families. It is clear that the people of Oklahoma had no appetite for a bill that would have taken away much-need food vouchers from infants and children,” said Nancy Kachel, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. “This targeted political attack would have prevented Planned Parenthood from providing critical prenatal and pediatric care to women and children in Tulsa County. Allowing this bill to die has prevented what would have been a devastating impact on thousands of families.”

Earlier this month 150 Planned Parenthood supporters gathered at the Capital to express concern for Oklahoma women and families.

Planned Parenthood in Tulsa County has been committed to helping pregnant women have healthy babies for over 20 years with its prenatal program. They started full pediatrics 15 years ago when women and their families found it difficult to find a physician that had any openings.

Tulsa and surrounding counties’ patients rely on Planned Parenthood for prenatal services and later, full pediatric programs, which include immunizations, early screenings for hearing, vision, speech, physical and social development, and general health care. Planned Parenthood health centers in Tulsa County typically provide about 8,600 prenatal visits, and 5,600 pediatric visits a year.

Funding from the WIC program is critical to achieving healthy outcomes for Planned Parenthood’s prenatal care clients who badly need the nutrition and food vouchers provided by WIC to ensure healthy babies. After birth, WIC staff weighs, measures and tracks babies’ growth, and provide food vouchers to parents for their babies – and their babies’ siblings – to ensure healthy growth and development.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Revenge of the pink wave

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Video of our pink wave event last week! Looking good, ladies! Thanks to everyone who showed up to support us!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My own private Poland

I hope the conservatives here aren't paying attention to what's going on in Poland. It might give them ideas. After all, what's more American than the desire to privatize anything, even abortion? Regulation, safety and women's health just aren't as important as having the moral high ground (and a great opportunity to make money)!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Misery loves company! And we have plenty of both

This link sums up my feelings exactly about the onslaught of anti-choice, anti-woman legislation being brought up in Oklahoma and in other states. Guttmacher estimates there are about 570 proposed bills in 48 states that would restrict abortion. That is a mind-boggling amount. The article correctly notes that this anti-choice sentiment totally ignores the many issues facing the pregnant woman (and, as evidenced by Oklahoman legislation attempting to cut WIC funding, the newborn child). Makes you optimistic for the future, huh?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Planned Parenthood targeted for defunding in Oklahoma

A recent amendment in the Oklahoma State Legislature was passed in the house which would cut funding for Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) health programs at 9 Oklahoma Independent WIC Clinics including Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, Inc. (PPAEO) in Tulsa.

During debate, the focus was STRICTLY FOCUSED ON DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

This effort represents an extreme political attack that would have a devastating impact on thousands of Oklahoma families. Our fear is the bill is going back to committee to be amended to zero in on WIC funding for PPAEO only!

WIC is a program that provides women, infants and children free nutrition education and vouchers which can be used to purchase WIC-approved foods. Of the 76,000 visits made in Tulsa County last year by WIC recipients to independent contractor sites, 42,000 of them were to Planned Parenthood sites. Over 9,300 Tulsa County individuals are served by the Planned Parenthood WIC program.

If SB 709 as amended is passed the women, babies and children now receiving nutritional support at the same convenient location they receive their healthcare services will be Oklahoma victims of a larger debate in which they are not involved. They did not have an abortion. They had their babies. They need help in feeding and caring for their babies or they would not qualify for the WIC program.

This sort of discriminatory legislation, striking at the wrong target, serves only to make the Oklahoma legislature, and the state it represents, look extremist, reckless and uncaring for women and children.

Please call your Representative and your Senator today and ask them to vote against SB 709!

Check out these articles from The Huffington Post, care2.com, and the Tulsa World.