Planned Parenthood Spends International Women’s Day Donating Medical Supplies to Haiti

Robin Marty

Haiti gets a special delivery of medical supplies in honor of International Women's Day.

Haiti is still recovering from the devastating earthquake that shook it over a month ago.  As the nation struggles to regain its footing, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) was able to lend a hand today via its relationship with Hospital University D’Haiti in Port au Prince.  In honor of International Women’s Day, and with the support of Affiliated Medical Services and Capitol Medical Clinic, PPWI delivered much needed medical supplies to the affected hospital.

From a release from PPWI:

Capitol Medical Clinic has developed a personal relationship with Hospital University D’Haiti as a result of Dr. Neville Duncan’s relief work in Port au Prince in the wake of the crisis.  While USAID indicates monetary donations are the most appropriate contribution from most Americans, Capitol Medical Clinic is able to arrange direct relief to Haiti as a result of this relationship.  

“Going to Haiti and providing obstetric care in hospital with limited access to water, gravel on the ground made me feel grateful for everyday things like fresh water and family.  These are the things that they lost, and the things we take for granted,” said Dr. Duncan, who went to hospital in the wake of the earthquake with the Association of Medicine D’Haiti.    

“I want to thank Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services for their generosity,” said Dr. Robert Wetzler, another physician at the Capitol Medical Group.  “Their substantial contributions will surely enhance the quality of care for patients at Hospital University D’Haiti are able to receive.”

PPWI was able to deliver four palates of medical supplies to Hospital University D’Haiti, a very welcome gift while the country is in such desperate need.

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News Law and Policy

New Hampshire Council Restores Funding to Planned Parenthood

Teddy Wilson

The council’s 3-2 vote to approve the contract comes ten months after the executive body voted to reject a similar contract. In both cases Councilor Chris Sununu (R- Newfields) was the deciding vote.

The New Hampshire Executive Council voted Wednesday to reinstate a contract with Planned Parenthood amid pre-election politics.

The council’s 3-2 vote to approve the contract comes ten months after the executive body voted to reject a similar contract. In both cases Councilor Chris Sununu (R-Newfields) was the deciding vote. 

Sununu is a Republican candidate for governor of New Hampshire. 

Council members Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Colin Van Ostern (D-Concord), a Democratic candidate for governor, also voted to approve the contract, while members Joe Kenney (R-Union) and David Wheeler (R-Milford) voted to reject the contract.

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The $549,000 contract will fund services like physical exams, sexually transmitted infection tests, and breast and cervical cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire.

There are five Planned Parenthood facilities in the state. All of them offer a range of other reproductive health-care services; only two provide abortion services.

“We are pleased that a bipartisan majority of the Council listened to their constituents and the majority of New Hampshire voters and chose to reverse course from last year’s vote,” Jennifer Frizzell, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, said in a statement“Blocking access to health care at Planned Parenthood threatened the wellbeing of Granite State citizens.”

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England served 14,191 patients at the end of 2014, according to statistics provided by the organization. That number dropped by 21 percent, to 11,119, by the end of 2015 following the council vote to reject its funding request. 

Last year Sununu voted against approving the contract for Planned Parenthood citing surreptitiously recorded videos from the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress.

The organization’s leader, David Daleiden, is facing a felony indictment in Texas for tampering with government documents.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan refused to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of the smear campaign. “We do not launch investigations in the state of New Hampshire on rumor,” Hassan said last August according to a local ABC affiliate. “We do not launch criminal investigations in the state of New Hampshire because somebody edits a tape.”

Hassan is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and a crowded field of Democrats and Republicans are competing to succeed her in November.

Sununu defended his vote in January because of Hassan’s refusal to investigate Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and because of political pressure from reproductive rights advocates after his vote against the funding. “They proved themselves to be bullies and I don’t do business with bullies,” Sununu said, reported Seacoast Online.

However, Sununu’s tone changed Wednesday. “As [Planned Parenthood] is no longer under investigation, they should be treated like any other organization that comes before the council,” said Sununu in a statement.

Sununu told reporters after the vote that he decided not to allow politics to interfere with ensuring health care access in the state.

“I’m not going to let politics [influence] the importance of funds that go to help low-income women. I’ve been a supporter of these types of funds since the day I became a councilor, and I’m going to maintain my consistency with that support,” Sununu said, reported New Hampshire Public Radio.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Frank Edelblut reportedly criticized Sununu for his vote. He remarked, according to New Hampshire Public Radio: “Clearly what this shows is we’ve got a lack of principle here. We need a governor who has principles that the voters can rely on.” 

News Abortion

Planned Parenthood: Medication Abortion Surge Comes to Texas After FDA Label Change

Teddy Wilson

"From our perspective, it’s restoring options for women. It’s putting decisions back in the hands of women instead of politicians at the Capitol," said Sarah Wheat, chief external affairs officer at Planned Parenthood.

Texans are using medication abortion in increased numbers since federal regulations were revised in March, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas officials said. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a label change for mifepristone, a drug used during medication abortions. The change brings federal regulations in line with scientific research and evidence-based medicine.

Sarah Wheat, chief external affairs officer at Planned Parenthood, told the Star-Telegram that the significant increase in medication abortions has had a positive impact on reproductive health in a state that has seen myriad anti-choice measures destroy access to legal abortion care. 

“We have seen a fourfold increase in the number of our patients choosing medication abortion since the FDA updated its protocol,” Wheat said. “From our perspective, it’s restoring options for women. It’s putting decisions back in the hands of women instead of politicians at the Capitol.”

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There are no official statistics yet showing the increase in medication abortion reported by Planned Parenthood officials since the FDA’s label change.

Texas lawmakers in 2013 passed HB 2, an omnibus anti-abortion bill that contained multiple restrictions on medication abortion. Former Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed the bill into law in July 2013.

HB 2 prohibits dispensing abortion-inducing drugs (the mifepristone-misoprostol regimen) by anyone other than a physician, and requires that the administration of the drugs follow FDA protocols as “outlined in the final printed label of the abortion-inducing drug.” 

HB 2 has had a significant impact on people seeking abortion care, in part because Texas law mandates pregnant people make four separate visits to a physician before receiving a medication abortion. Between 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women of reproductive age attempted to end a pregnancy on their own without medical assistance, according to a 2015 Texas Policy Evaluation Project study.

Anti-choice legislators have for years restricted access to medication abortion by charging that off-label use of abortion-inducing medication posed a danger to pregnant people. 

Mark S. DeFrancesco, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), said in a statement after the FDA revised the medication abortion regulations that the change was consistent with available scientific evidence. 

“Medication abortion, performed through a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol, has provided a safe, effective option for induced abortion that has benefitted millions of women,” DeFrancesco said.

Serious complications from medication abortion occur in less than 0.4 percent of patients.