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Standing Up to Legislation

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Courtesy flyer

Courtesy flyer

Planned Parenthood has been under speculation throughout 2013. NC legislature has introduced a total of 10 bills restricting access to reproductive health care, something Planned Parenthood specializes in, from birth control to general health care, LGBT services to HIV and STD testing, vaccines to pregnancy testing and abortion services. Worse, a majority of the legislation has been passed.

One bill that did not get passed but raised concern for Planned Parenthood regarded confidential care for minors. Had it not been defeated, parental consent would have been required for a minor to seek medical services in fields like substance abuse, STD testing and treatment, mental illness and pregnancy. The bill’s mere consideration raised enough red flags to keep Planned Parenthood finding ways to fight back. On November 2nd “All Hands on Deck” will take place for the first time aboard the USS NC Battleship. Amanda Starkey, development associate with Planned Parenthood Health Systems for the Wilmington and Raleigh regions, heads fund-raisers for the organization and is a crucial voice backing support to individuals in need.

“If a woman decided abortion is the right choice for her, she should have a safe, non-judgmental option,” Starkey says. “As one of the most trusted names in healthcare, often Planned Parenthood is that option. [We have] long advocated that every child should be wanted and loved, and I share that sentiment. Through contraceptive counseling, Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization nationwide to prevent the need for abortion. In fact, over 90 percent of Planned Parenthood Health Systems services are not abortion related.” In fact, birth control consultations are the most utilized service offered through the organization.

Though the changes in legislation haven’t yielded an increase or decrease in patients or vendors, Planned Parenthood anticipates having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to fight bad legislation in court. The money used will do nothing to increase the safety issues surrounding both current and possible patients. In fact, the only government funding acquired by Planned Parenthood is through the patients who pay using Medicaid in North Carolina, an insurance program they accept. They also receive funding through Title X, a national fund set in place to be used specifically on family-planning services.

Medicaid has not been cut from the program, but in March, Governor Pat McCrory did sign a bill clarifying the state’s intent not to run a state exchange and reject its expansion.

“This action denies 500,000 poor North Carolinians health care and would have saved the state $65.4 million in the first six years,” Starkey says.

As 2014 approaches, Planned Parenthood prepares to face a couple of issues with the implementation of forthcoming Department of Health and Human Services regulations.

“These regulations will severely restrict access to safe and legal abortion by allowing an un-elected gubernatorial appointee the power to impose burdensome, costly and medically unnecessary requirements on facilities and doctors who provide abortion,” Starkey says.

All Hands on Deck is the first of many upcoming fund-raisers Planned Parenthood has planned to retaliate. Currently, they’re accepting sponsorships for the November 2nd event, with bids ranging from $250 to $5,000. Sponsorships include tickets to the event along with recognition throughout the evening. Gifts from sponsors help cover costs of the event, along with providing support to Planned Parenthood.

“Each sponsorship gift will help us take the necessary steps to ensure that we’re able to continue providing safe, affordable healthcare to the women and families of Eastern North Carolina,” Starkey notes.

A committee of 15 volunteers or so orchestrated the planning, including members or Friends of Planned Parenthood. The group met over six months and decided to set up the gala like that of a 1940’s USO party. Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks as they learn about the challenges Planned Parenthood faces. The Wilmington Big Band is slated to perform, and the event takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. All proceeds from the $100 ticket sales will benefit the programs offered at the health clinic.

“We also hope to reach new Planned Parenthood supporters that are either intrigued by the event itself, or so outraged by the actions of the North Carolina legislature that they wouldn’t miss a chance to publicly support Planned Parenthood,” Starkey says.

In the spring, “Operation Hibiscus” will take place—a luncheon that serves as an informative program where supporters are able to host a table and bring around seven friends to learn more about the organization.

“Abortion remains a safe, legal medical procedure, and the decision to have an abortion is between a woman, her physician, and her faith,” Starkey says. “To impose the type of restrictive measures introduced by the North Carolina legislature is a betrayal of North Carolina women. Despite persistence from anti-women’s health legislators that there measures are issues of safety, the truth is that they are intended to close abortion facilities, and thus place a further hardship on the women of our state.”

All Hands on Deck

Planned Parenthood fund-raiser
Nov, 2nd, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
USS NC Battleship
1 Battleship Rd NE • Tickets: $100

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