Over the weekend, C-SPAN aired the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards lecture from March 28th at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The topic was “Keeping Politics out of Women’s Health” and Richards discussed the importance of getting accurate information out there to the public and to teenagers in an age when sadly our politicians are using women's health and access to birth control as a political football, and what her organization is doing to circumvent that obstruction in the age of social networking and smart phones.
You can watch the entire event at Princeton's site here or at C-SPAN here and I've got more of Richards' lecture below the fold.
And here's more from one of the media links at Princeton's site on the event -- Richards Defends “Basic Human Right” Of Access to Reproductive Health Care :
Describing the past year’s “unrelenting attacks” in this country on women seeking reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood of America President Cecile Richards spoke last week to a packed auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson School about “Keeping Politics Out of Women’s Health.” Her appearance, which was cosponsored by Princeton University’s Office of Population Research and the Center for Health and Well Being, was part of the Wilson School’s “Leadership and Governance Program,” which brings prominent policy makers to Princeton for a two to three day visit so that students can meet and learn from them.
Ms. Richards, who has led the 95-year-old organization since 2006, said that a confluence of events and issues have made this a “critical moment” in Planned Parenthood’s history. She cited the public outcry in response to Susan B. Komen For the Cure’s attempt to discontinue funding Planned Parenthood, the debates in Washington regarding contraception and religious organizations, and the current discussion about health care reform.
Social networking using texting, chatting, email, tweets, and Facebook, promises to be a powerful challenge to some politicians’ interest in limiting access to information and services, Mrs. Richards suggested. The current “revolution about how people access information is nowhere more visible than in reproductive health care,” she said.
With four million online website users, half of whom are using their cell phones to connect, Planned Parenthood’s has been a “living digital laboratory in recent years,” noted Ms. Richards. Statistics are only part of it, though. Ms. Richards described the almost palpable relief reflected in a young woman’s text response to a Planned Parenthood staffer’s answer to her question about birth control.
Currently, she reported, 15-to 24-year-olds represent over half of this country’s reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases. “This is pretty frightening,” she said, adding that a disproportionate number of them are young people of color. A smartphone represents “freedom” and is one of the most important tools being used “to keep young people from becoming statistics.”
And from the Princeton Patch -- Planned Parenthood Head: Keep Politics out of Women's Health:
Sex is everywhere, from music to movies to television, yet when it comes to sex education and reproductive health, there is a lack of credible information, says Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.
“I don’t have to talk about sex for young people to think about it,” Richards told the crowd at Princeton University on Wednesday. “I think of my own kids who grew up watching Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, let’s just go down the list…and yet somehow we don’t want to teach sex education or provide access to good information." [...]
“The single biggest struggle is dealing with the politics of it all,” Richards said. “It’s the barrier that politics are putting ahead on the wellbeing on young people in this country and of women. Every time we take two steps forward, we take another step backwards. Partisan politics rather than public health interests are driving healthcare policy in America.”
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