Access to comprehensive reproductive and family planning care is vital to ensuring the health of our communities.
The American Public Health Association, the nation’s preeminent public health professional association, has long held that “access to the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion, is a fundamental right.” As a public health and health professional entrusted with protecting the health of all Missourians, I cannot stand idly by as this right is stripped away – by the very institution charged with protecting the health of the state’s residents, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
I call on all Missouri health departments, health professionals, lawmakers and the greater Missouri community to stand with Missouri residents and advocate to keep the doors of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood open, permanently.
Planned Parenthood of St. Louis provides critical family planning, cancer prevention and comprehensive reproductive health services for men and women in the St. Louis area and thousands of Missouri residents.
Closure of the clinic will have dire public health ramifications. These harms will be particularly felt by uninsured and underinsured residents of our state, who rely on the safety net these services provide, and who, as a result of their already limited access to care, already bear the highest burden of maternal and infant mortality. Missouri has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country (ranked 42nd); further restricting access to care is unconscionable.
Let us do what is best for Missouri women. Please support Planned Parenthood.
Will Ross, MD, MPH, is associate dean for Diversity Programs, a professor of medicine, and the principal officer for Community Partnerships at Washington University School of Medicine.