Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome to Oakland County, Planned Parenthood

Welcome to Oakland County, Planned Parenthood

Craig Covey, Oakland County Commissioner March 26, 2012
25th District
Ferndale, Royal Oak, Hazel Park

One might have thought that in a large and prosperous cosmopolitan county like Oakland, there were plenty of resources for women who need access to family planning services, including help for decisions about pregnancy and birth control. One might have believed that Oakland County had places for low income women to get low cost breast cancer screenings, and other important preventative health care. Up until now, one would have been wrong.

In spite of the need for such women’s health and reproductive services, up until now, there were no Planned Parenthood facilities in Oakland County. But that changes this week. I’m so proud to help welcome Planned Parenthood to Oakland County, as they open a health clinic in Ferndale next week.

Political pressure from religious ultra-conservatives had kept Oakland County bereft of a formal Planned Parenthood presence for years. Anti-choice activists didn’t want you to know that 97% of all Planned Parenthood activities are essential life-saving cancer screenings, pap smears, breast health services, STD treatment, and health counseling and education. Yet for many of their patients, mostly poor, a visit to Planned Parenthood was the only health care they got.

Oakland County has the 2nd largest number of low-income women without health insurance in Michigan. We are thankful that an organization like Planned Parenthood provides health care for so many people. The alternative is much higher health care costs in emergency rooms and for advanced disease that would be borne by us all.

More than half of all pregnancies in Michigan are unplanned, and two thirds of those births are then publically funded, costing our state taxpayers $282 million annually. Each one dollar spent on preventing unplanned pregnancies saves more than six dollars in local, state, and federal Medicaid costs for maternal and infant care in the first year alone.

Ferndale is proud to be the location for the new Planned Parenthood clinic to open in April. It will offer a wide range of health screenings, std testing, birth control, and counseling and health education programs; not only to women, but to all people, including new services for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender communities.

This year, across the nation, legislatures are attempting to limit access to birth control and are moving to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, instead of addressing chronic economic problems and unemployment. As usual, the people of Ferndale offer a smart, sensible, and open-minded alternative. We needed Planned Parenthood services in Oakland County, and the City of Fendale is now proud to host them.


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