This just in from Planed Parenthood Federation of America!

Six months ago, I thought that by this time we would be hammering out a health care reform bill that meant millions of low-income women and their families would have comprehensive health care coverage.

Instead, we are in the fight of our lives, for their lives. We need your help, urgently.

During the past week, anti-choice groups have turned out in droves to stop progress on health care reform in the name of ideology. The Family Research Council and the National Right to Life Committee published lies about a women’s preventive health amendment introduced by Senator Mikulski, claiming that it would mandate abortion coverage.

Fortunately for the millions of women in need of preventive reproductive health care, the women’s health amendment was approved — at least for now.

But there is no longer any doubt that anti-choice forces have zeroed in on the effort to build health care reform majorities in the House and Senate as their chance to strike a devastating blow to women’s access to reproductive health care, including cancer screenings, contraception, and abortion. They’ve already introduced at least 30 amendments attacking women’s health care — and you can bet they’re not done yet. Some of these anti-choice amendments could even result in taking away existing benefits from women and denying them access to the trusted providers of their choice.

The fact is that without genuine access to reproductive health care, a woman’s right to choose is made meaningless. You and I know that. So do our opponents. Please, join me in taking action now.

What bothers me most about what’s happening now is the effect on people who urgently need care. Like Amy Johnson.* At 19, with no health insurance, she came to a Planned Parenthood affiliate health center where a Pap test indicated cervical cancer. Thanks to the early detection, she was treated and recovered.

Amy is why we’re here — and why we urgently need your help. You and I have to make it clear that this is a price American women aren’t willing to pay — and should never be asked to pay. With Congress making decisions this very moment that will define the future of health care in America for a generation, we don’t have a moment to waste.

The bottom line: women’s basic health care must be a priority, and that means women must not be worse off under health care reform. Reproductive health care must be covered and women must be able to access that care through providers they trust.

This is the kind of defining moment when your support of Planned Parenthood and the people we serve counts most. Thank you for standing strong with us today.

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
P.S. Events are moving quickly — please bear with us as we communicate with you frequently on this critical struggle.

* pseudonym