Thursday, December 26, 2013

Support Family Planning in 2014

It’s true that Oklahoma’s Governor, Senate, and House of Representatives all have a history of restricting family planning. As the new year creeps up on us, the legislative session also inches nearer, bringing with it new opportunities to limit family planning options for Oklahomans. Beyond offending women’s right to bodily integrity, anti-choice policies harm families in many unexpected ways. 

Family planning is a far reaching issue. It impacts families, the economy, state-wide health and most importantly, it impacts the lives of individual Oklahomans. Here are a few problems associated with Oklahoma’s lack of family planning resources:  

·         The teen pregnancy rate of Oklahoma is among the top five in the nation. Though the rate of teen pregnancy slowly and steadily decreased for a decade, in 2005 that trend turned around and the teen pregnancy rate jumped 5%. Perhaps not coincidentally, 2005 also saw the beginning of large scale bipartisan efforts in the Oklahoma legislature to limit emergency contraception and abortion services, with special emphasis on limiting minor’s rights.

·         Oklahoma ranks in the ten worst states in the nation for infant mortality. Sexual education plays a huge part in not only helping men and women avoid unwanted pregnancy, but also in helping families stay healthy before and during wanted pregnancies. A mother’s good health is directly tied to a baby’s good health, so it’s crucial that women understand their bodies. Unfortunately, though, Oklahoma does not currently require any form of sexual education.

·         This year a study indicated that Oklahoma has the second lowest number of OB-GYNs in the nation. This means there is 1 OB-GYN doctor for every 18,000+ women in this state. The flurry of laws restricting family planning makes Oklahoma a hostile state for doctors focusing on women and fetal health. Thus qualified professionals less likely to settle here. 

        Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma is working to stop laws that could hurt family planning, but the team cannot do it alone. Here are a few ways you can stay informed and support family planning:

·         Visit: to read about proposed bills and learn how to contact your representatives.
·         Email to join PPCO’s Action Alert mailer. Email with the subject line, “Add me to the Action Alert list” and you will receive email alerts about actions taken at the Oklahoma capitol that threaten family planning.
·         Write to your representatives! Use social media (no joke, your representatives are probably on twitter or facebook.), use email, write a letter, or train a carrier pigeon. Do what it takes to be heard!
There is power in your voice. Use it!