Reproductive Freedom

March 27, 2017 | SPH in the News

CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy faculty Dr. Lynn Roberts, and alumna Dr. Deborah Kaplan and Dr. Liza Fuentes, were recently featured in The New York Times in a letter to the editor in response to “Cutting Planned Parenthood Would Increase Medicaid Births, C.B.O. Says” (column, March 14, 2017).

To the Editor:

Cutting Planned Parenthood Would Increase Medicaid Births, C.B.O. Says” (news article, March 15) correctly describes the effect of federal cuts to Planned Parenthood on access to a wide range of health services, and rightly points out that these cuts will increase costs.

But focusing only on the resulting increase in births to women covered by Medicaid (code for births to low-income women) is concerning, suggesting that the goal of family planning is to reduce births to people of limited means.

In keeping with the reproductive justice framework introduced by black women more than 20 years ago, all people have the human right to make their own decisions about contraceptive use and whether or not to continue or end a pregnancy.

We must ensure that the social conditions exist, including access to quality, comprehensive services, so that all human beings are able to exercise these rights.

This is not an issue of dollars and cents; it’s about protecting human rights in pursuit of reproductive justice.

DEBORAH L. KAPLAN, LYNN ROBERTS, LIZA FUENTES, NEW YORK
Ms. Kaplan is an assistant commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Ms. Roberts and Ms. Fuentes are, respectively, an assistant professor and an adjunct professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

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