Gov. Wolf and his wife helped launch a Planned Parenthood initiative

Posted on September 21, 2017

Originally appearing online at www.buckscountycouriertimes.com
By: Freda R. Savana
Published: September 19, 2017

Gov. Tom Wolf and his wife, Frances, have long supported Planned Parenthood, including, years ago, serving as patient escorts for women going to the clinic.

The state leaders again showed their commitment to the health care services agency on Tuesday, when they attended a Planned Parenthood-sponsored community forum at Montgomery County Community College.

“As the U.S. Senate continues to consider changes to the American health care system, we need to reject flawed amendments and support bipartisan efforts to make healthcare more available and affordable for all Americans, including preserving Planned Parenthood,” the governor said.

“It’s particularly important that we fight to oppose any legislation that limits access to health care for all,” he said. “I am committed to doing all that I can to make sure Pennsylvania is a place that celebrates individual choice, liberty and personal freedom.”

The governor and first lady were joined by Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh; Sunday Gold, a Planned Parenthood medical assistant; and Danitra Sherman, senior regional field director with Planned Parenthood.

Helping launch a video initiative telling the stories of Planned Parenthood clients and others, the Wolfs took a short “selfie video,” stating their support for the women’s health and reproductive services organization. The videos will be directed to elected officials, showcasing support for Planned Parenthood.

The panel fielded a range of questions from Planned Parenthood supporters, one of whom asked about the use of Narcan, used to restore life to people who overdose on heroin and other opioids.

Sari Steven, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, said it’s likely the state’s clinics will be able to dispense the drug before the end of the year.

“We are in discussions with our medical directors,” said Steven. “We know we can do it, we’re just waiting for approvals.” If Pennsylvania does begin offering Narcan, it’s believed to be the first in the country to do so, she added.

Planned Parenthood, said the director, is an ideal place to provide the lifesaving drug, as patients consider it a “safe place” and one that doesn’t “carry the stigma of (going into) a pharmacy.”

Asked how he handles people who “push back” on his enthusiastic support of Planned Parenthood, Wolf responded, “I’m very confident I’m right, so that helps.”

Last year, Planned Parenthood served about 90,000 patients in Pennsylvania and provided nearly 170,000 screenings for sexually transmitted disease, over 9,000 cervical cancer screenings and 11.000 breast wellness exams, the agency said.

Almost 50 percent of the state’s health centers are in medically under-served areas. 

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