Saturday, January 30, 2016

Guess Who Responded to Flint Water Crisis Months Before Anybody Else?

This is community action.  This is public service.  This is dedication.  This is simple humanity in the face of disaster.  This. Is. Planned Parenthood.

The Planned Parenthood in Flint, in a modest brick building off a lonely stretch of highway, might not seem like an obvious first stop for a resident concerned about the strangely colored, bad smelling water that started coming out of taps in the city in early 2014.

But for those who work inside, tackling the issue of access to potable water was a no brainer once patients began voicing concerns. As a preventative health organization with deep roots in the local community, the conversation came naturally.

After hearing reports from their patients about chemicals in the water, the clinic sprang into action months before any state of emergency was declared, handing out water filters and teaching people how to use them.

“We’re more than just a reproductive health organization, we work for reproductive justice,” explained Christina Soliz, field organizer with Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan. “Having access to clean, safe water is a reproductive justice issue. It affects your health. Families deserve better than this.”

“It fits right in,” agreed Sabrina Boston, the health center manager. Water is “a basic human right.”


As the crisis continues to unfold — residents are still being tested for lead exposure, and the effects might not show up for years — Planned Parenthood will continue to focus on educating patients. But years of political attacks and austerity have gutted the resources it has at its disposal. Conservatives’ fixation on its abortion services has turned the organization into a political football. Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who led the charge in the Senate to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood’s funding, launched his campaign’s water distribution efforts at Flint’s crisis pregnancy centers, which seek to divert women from Planned Parenthood with misleading or outright false information.

Michigan funding for pregnancy prevention — some of which goes to Planned Parenthood — has dropped from more than $7 million in 2001 to just a bit over $600,000 as of 2012, with the most dramatic cut in 2009 when it was reduced by more than 75 percent. The cuts came as Planned Parenthood has been specifically targeted by Michigan lawmakers: last year, the state House passed a bill banning the organization from receiving state funding, even though it doesn’t allocate any dollars to Planned Parenthood as it is.
“We’re seeing the effects of [austerity measures] in a lot of different places,” Tunde Olaniran, outreach manager, said. “In Flint, there was a drastic cut and we’re trying to slowly rebuild.”

“People who walk in the door — they’re people, so we wanted to address something that was a huge issue,” Olaniran said. “We’re trying to make sure we care about the entire lives of people who come into our doors.”

1 comment:

Gerald Parks said...

Yet ANOTHER stellar example of GOP/Republican governance in 21st Century America!
ACORN organization that empowered "We THE PEOPLE" by encouraging and helping US citizens to register to vote ...GONE ...GOP/Republican relentless demonetization, lies and did I mention ...doctored videos!

Let's not be willfully ignorant of the evil these folks have done to USA IN 21st Century America to date!