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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine to Congress: We stand with Planned Parenthood to protect progress on women’s health

Summary

Public Health – Seattle and King County and Planned Parenthood announced significant progress in reducing the number of teen pregnancies and rate of uninsured women of reproductive age. King County Executive Dow Constantine pledged to work with Planned Parenthood and other health care partners to ensure the county’s most vulnerable women maintain access to family planning services.

Story

Public Health – Seattle and King County and Planned Parenthood announced significant progress in two key indicators for women’s health: reducing the number of teen pregnancies and rate of uninsured women of reproductive age (age 13-44).

More than 39,000 women of reproductive age are newly insured in King County since the expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act, allowing them access to preventive health care ranging from vaccines to mammograms to birth control. The percent of low-income women without insurance dropped by 62 percent.

With Congress proposing to de-fund Planned Parenthood and roll back the Affordable Care Act, King County Executive Dow Constantine pledged to work with health care partners to ensure the county’s most vulnerable women maintain access to family planning services.

"Nothing can replace Planned Parenthood and the health services they provide, and it's unconscionable for Congress and the White House to even consider reducing access to birth control and preventive health care," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Together, King County and Planned Parenthood have made great strides in improving women's health, and we won't stop now.  We will continue to fight for family planning services as a matter of social and economicTeenBirthRate justice, and plain common sense."

 

The threats come at a time when King County celebrates success in reducing unintended pregnancies, especially teen pregnancies.

King County is as large at 15 states, and it has the lowest teen birth rate of all of them – falling by 55 percent from 2008 to 2015.

 

While there’s no single cause for this success, there are two significant factors: The availability of new generation long-acting reversible contraceptives known as LARC’s, and expanded insurance coverage for contraception and women’s health through the Affordable Care Act.

 

More than 28,000 people in King County receive health care from Planned Parenthood, through their eight clinic locations. King County’s four Public Health family planning clinics meet the needs of 6,000 people.

 

“We understand that a woman’s ability to plan for herself and her family sets her up for success – and it can offer a life-changing path away from poverty. Eliminating that pathway is intolerable. Adding barriers that limit choices for all women is unacceptable,” said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest & Hawaiian Islands.

 

If Congress follows through with de-funding Planned Parenthood and weakening insurance coverage for contraception, the impact would hit hardest for women who can’t afford to pay for family planning themselves.

 

For lower income women, the progress has been particularly significant. Before the Affordable Care Act, 36 percent of low income women were uninsured and therefore without access to preventive care.  Now, that rate has fallen by two-thirds, to 13 percent.

 

The ACA also requires that insurance plans cover birth control, along with health screenings for cervical cancer, STD testing, and the HPV vaccine. And it forbids insurance companies from charging women more than men for coverage – a standard practice before the ACA. Uninsured

Continued progress depends on both maintaining existing coverage and working with local health providers to address any gaps and disparities in women accessing family planning services.  That’s why the Executive has convened a committee representing safety net providers to collect data and implement actions that strengthen the safety net.

“We do not want to backslide and see our unintended pregnancies go up, or our cancer rates increase. Family planning is one of the most cost-effective preventive health measures available, and it’s a life-altering service for the individual women and their families who want and need it,” said King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles.


Relevant links


Quotes

Nothing can replace Planned Parenthood and the health services they provide, and it's unconscionable for Congress and the White House to even consider reducing access to birth control and preventive health care.  Together, King County and Planned Parenthood have made great strides in improving women's health, and we won't stop now.  We will continue to fight for family planning services as a matter of social and economic justice, and plain common sense.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

We understand that a woman’s ability to plan for herself and her family sets her up for success – and it can offer a life-changing path away from poverty. Eliminating that pathway is intolerable. Adding barriers that limit choices for all women is unacceptable.

Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest & Hawaiian Islands 

We do not want to backslide and see our unintended pregnancies go up, or our cancer rates increase. Family planning is one of the most cost-effective preventive health measures available, and it’s a life-altering service for the individual women and their families who want and need it.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Councilmember, King County Council

For more information, contact:
Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966
King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography