Planned Parenthood believes in access to family planning, reproductive health care and choice. We believe that every woman - regardless of income, age or marital status - has the fundamental right to decide when and whether to have a child. It is vital that public policies support personal childbearing decisions with medically accurate reproductive health information, including sex education, access to contraceptives and safe, legal abortion.
Family Planning Funding
Each year more than 400,000 people with low income in New York State access family planning services through health centers that receive public funding from state programs. These individuals are predominantly young and uninsured. Publicly subsidized family planning services allow them to get cancer screenings, STI testing, pap tests, and other basic health services. Also included are contraceptive services and family planning counseling, which prevent thousands of unintended pregnancies each year.
Despite overwhelming public support and the social and economic benefits associated with family planning services, these programs have remained significantly underfunded. While the number of people seeking these basic health care services, and the cost of providing them continues to rise, the funding for family planning in New York has remained level funded for the last several years, creating an unjust two-tiered health care delivery system.
85% of Americans support responsible, age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education in schools; Planned Parenthood believes that it is critical that our young people have access to accurate information and services.
Medically accurate programs acknowledge that individuals have the right to choose when they want to become sexually active. Those who decide to engage in sexual intercourse should receive honest, accurate, and responsible safer sex information. This kind of curriculum has been proven to delay the onset of intercourse, reduce the frequency of intercourse, and increase contraceptive use.
Planned Parenthood believes that individuals have the right to obtain a confidential, medically safe, legal abortion under the standards set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade decision.
In contrast to New York, the US Congress has singled out certain classes of people (low- income, federal employees, military personnel serving overseas, residents of the District of Columbia, or in federal prisons) and restricted their access to legal abortions because their health care is funded in part by the federal government. New York provides state dollars to fund abortion services for individuals who cannot afford them, even though there is no federal participation in funding.
Planned Parenthood believes that in all cases, individuals, their families and their doctors should be able to make decisions about the best way to protect a person's health. Anti-reproductive health organizations have tried to erode the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision (which ensures a person's constitutionally protected right to choose) by advancing vaguely worded and deceptive bans on abortion procedures without an exception for the health of the person. The ban on so-called “partial birth abortion” is an example. Such bans have been found to be unconstitutional by numerous courts, including the Supreme Court, specifically for failing to protect a perosns health.
We advocate towards maintaining New York’s pro-reproductive health legacy by strengthening the state’s abortion laws to protect people’s health and safety and oppose any efforts to restrict access to abortion services in this state or nationally.
In 2006, the FDA approved over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception (EC), also known as "the morning after pill” for people age 18 and older. In New York we have increased access to EC to people 17 and younger. EC is a high-dose combination of oral contraceptives that if taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex, can safely prevent a pregnancy from occurring. EC does not affect an established pregnancy. (NOTE: EC is not the abortion pill.)
Planned Parenthood believes that pharmacists have a duty to dispense drugs and devices lawfully prescribed by a provider. Some pharmacies and/or pharmacists refuse to fill valid legal prescriptions for EC and other birth control pills. Although Planned Parenthood does not oppose pharmacy policies that permit accommodation of a pharmacist's genuinely held religious beliefs, any accommodation that would undermine the patient's ability to access her prescription in-store, without discrimination or delay is unacceptable. We support policies that require patients’ prescriptions be filled in-store, without discrimination or delay.
Planned Parenthood believes that minors, as well as adults, should have confidential access to reproductive health services, including family planning, disease prevention, and abortion.
Affordable, Accessible Health Care
Making health care more accessible and affordable is one of the most important issues facing our country. Planned Parenthood’s health centers are an integral part of New York State’s health care safety net. Many individuals, including the majority of our patients, do not have general practitioner and rely on us as their primary source of health care. Ensuring that care is adequately funded and available to those in need is important for all of our communities.