We Stand with Planned Parenthood

Those familiar with or have attended my workshops will know that I always have a portion or all of the proceeds go to a non-profit. This past year, I’ve focused those on the ACLU & Planned Parenthood. Through the support of attendees, I’ve raised over $500 so far for various organisations focusing on public health & human rights.

We at The Thirlby are thrilled that for the first time in 50 years, Planned Parenthood has a physician, Dr. Leana Wen, as its President. She is also an immigrant, woman of color, and an advocate for health care as a human right. Because . . .

Reproductive health care is health care. Women’s health care is health care. And health care has to be understood as a fundamental human right. Every year, 2.4 million Americans come to Planned Parenthood; they don’t come to make a political statement.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, a doctor will lead Planned Parenthood. Meet our new president, Dr. Leana Wen. Along with Planned Parenthood's 12 million supporters, Dr. Wen will lead the fight to protect access to reproductive care and sex education, and ensure medical decisions stay between a woman and her doctor. Video courtesy of Planned Parenthood.

We are aware that this also results in Baltimore’s loss of its Health Commissioner. This is a potential suffer as Baltimore, like many other counties across the nation, has dire public health needs, which stem especially from its high rates of crime. That’s palpable from FBI’s report from 2017, which states that there were 342 homicides in the city in 2017 alone, which is a 17 percent increase over the prior year. That translates to a rate of 56 killed per 100,000 people versus the 40 per 100,000 in New Orleans and Detroit. Its opioid epidemic has been experiencing increasing death rates seven years in a row, stemming from its place as one of the highest rates of heroin usage & overdose. One in three children are obese in the county. And, like many gentrified yet underserved cities across the nation, quality of life and therefore health is stark—there is a 20 year difference in life expectancy across its neighbourhoods according to the Baltimore City Health Department. 

Dr. Wen had to make a difficult decision. Through her role as the Health Commissioner of Baltimore for four years, she has made an impact and certainly had continuing plans to do so to ameliorate the city’s public health crises. On the other hand, however, there is also a national public health crisis. Reproductive health, or rather the human right of basic health care, has been under attack with the Trump a administration. Just one morning’s glance at the newspaper, NPR morning news, or even a Google skim of reproductive laws under review is telling & a daily reminder. 

Our hope is that with the Dr. Wen’s efforts at Planned Parenthood, we can reach an impact on reproductive and public health that’ll touch Baltimore and cities across the nation.

Those who will hurt the most are those who already bear the burnt of health disparities. They’re womxn of low income, of colour, they’re LGBTQA+ individuals, they’re immigrant communities, they are working families.
— Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood