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Where Will PA Women End Up in Health Care Reform?

August 17, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Behind the yelling and finger-pointing at recent Pennsylvania town hall meetings on health care reform are a number of issues, including whether there's a place in a reformed system for reproductive health care for women.

Sari Stevens, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and a new mother, says the spectacle of recent town hall meetings around the state can mask the real issues, one of which, she says, should be reproductive health coverage.

"These same activists, right wing extremists, who are disrupting these town hall meetings, are the same ones who are trying to eliminate women's reproductive health care from any health care reform."

Stevens says not including reproductive health is like America turning its back on huge numbers of women.

"For millions of women, the only nurse or doctor that they may see in a year, or in several years, is at a health center like Planned Parenthood or another community provider."

Stevens says the action taken now on health care reform will dictate what options the women of tomorrow, like her infant daughter, will have for health care.

"I want to be able to say to her whenever she can understand the basics of this debate, that her needs, when she will be a young woman, were not pushed aside."

Conservatives argue that hidden within the reform debate is a battle between supporters and opponents of abortion rights. The concern for groups like Planned Parenthood is that these opponents will pressure conservatives in Congress to keep reproductive health coverage out of any health care reform legislation.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA