On September 17th, Tell Them joined forces with Representative Beth Bernstein and fellow community members to fight for the availability of women's healthcare services through Planned Parenthood providers.
Last Friday, DHEC issued an administrative order of suspension to Planned Parenthood's Columbia clinic as well as Greenville's Women's Clinic for infractions like incomplete training documentation, expired medications, and too-hot water in a hand washing sink. Particularly since the Columbia clinic was found to have 100 percent compliance with all state regulations less than a year ago, these allegations reek of political posturing at the expense of women's health.
“Planned Parenthood plays an important role as an essential community health provider here in South Carolina,” explains Rep. Bernstein. “As a safety net provider, over 70% of the patients that Planned Parenthood serves are uninsured, eliminating Planned Parenthood as a health care resource would leave many of South Carolina’s citizens without a place to receive high-quality healthcare. Those who would use the recent attacks to threaten Planned Parenthood with politically motivated investigations and penalties are endangering the healthcare services, and well-being for over 6,500 patients here in South Carolina.”
In response, Tell Them did what they do the best. They took a stand for women's reproductive health rights and engaged Governor Nikki Haley in a community letter-writing campaign. This event took place at the Spotted Salamander on the evening of September 17th, and collected 54 letters in total. Additional letters were sent in by advocates who could not attend the event in-person. These letters, written by: mothers, daughters, families, and advocates, demanded respect for the women in our community. They were written by a locality of people who rely on safe and effective preventative services that Planned Parenthood provides.
One of the main points of the letter was to address the number of women's healthcare services provided by South Carolina clinics. In 2013, Planned Parenthood performed over 16,000 services including: providing contraception to nearly 3,000 South Carolinians, performing over 400 pap tests, performing over 400 breast exams, and performing over 6,000 STI tests and treatments.
As Tell Them begins to deliver these letters, we urge you to continue inviting fellow community members to get involved in this campaign and write to Governor Haley. Your voice could be the voice that helps save these vital health care services.
Because the most common way people give up their power, is by thinking they don't have any.
Stay tuned for more updates.