PPNC Newsletter | Summer 2014  
Saving Women's Lives

President & CEO JoAnn D. Smith headshot.jpg
Dear Friends,

Most of the people who turn to Planned Parenthood of Nassau County rely on us for the basic, preventive health care they need to lead healthy lives: birth control, a breast exam, an HIV test, and more. But did you know that, for some patients, a routine visit to PPNC can actually be life-saving?

It’s true! Our clinicians, doctors and health center staff are an amazing team, working cohesively to screen, diagnose and coordinate appropriate follow-up care for patients with potentially life-threatening health issues and medical conditions. Over the past few months, these encounters have included diagnosing an HIV positive patient, counseling a woman who was discovered to be a victim of intimate partner violence, confirming a case of cervical cancer and identifying a number of ectopic pregnancies.

Most recently, a woman who wasn’t feeling well and had not had any OB/GYN care for many years came in for her first visit with us. Based on her symptoms, our clinician diagnosed a molar pregnancy. Thankfully, we were able to get her to the hospital for the life-saving emergency care and follow-up she needed.

Stories like these demonstrate the essential role that Planned Parenthood plays in women’s lives, and why we are grateful that so many people support our work in the community—from leaders such as Assemblymembers Michelle Schimel and Chuck Lavine, who awarded our agency with legislative grants in support of our educational programs, to organizations such as the Komen Foundation, which invests in our breast health outreach work, to people like you, who support our vital programs and services and stand with us in the face of legislative threats. From prevention to literally saving a life, with your support Planned Parenthood is able to be there for the women, men and teens in our community…no matter what. Thank you so much!

Best Wishes,

JoAnn D. Smith
President & CEO

Taking the Affordable Care Act to the Streets

When the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) started last October, we knew the key to its success would be spreading the word about the free or low-cost health insurance options available through New York’s health insurance marketplace.

Taking up this charge, PPNC’s staff, interns and volunteers hit the streets in a large-scale education and outreach campaign to let the people in our community know about the benefits of the health care law, as well as how and where to enroll in a plan and access services. Our phenomenal effort was a huge success, reaching more than 9,500 people through activities including:
  • Providing over 4,300 patients in our health centers with information about the ACA, including one-on-one conversations with more than 350 individuals in our Hempstead health center waiting room
  • Knocking on 2,486 doors and making 1,808 phone calls to Hempstead residents who had been identified by a national database as likely to be eligible for affordable health care
  • Hosting community enrollment events in collaboration with Nassau County legislators, the NAACP and local churches
  • Conducting street outreach and crowd canvassing at bus depots, train stations and shopping areas
  • Disseminating information and materials during sexuality education workshops
  • Making presentations at colleges and community-based organizations
  • Tabling at community events and on the college campuses 
  • Engaging people with posts on our social media sites
  • Posting signs on our health center and mobile education unit, the Plan Van
And, to truly ensure that people got the health care they need and deserve, our campaign took a step beyond education and information by linking eligible individuals to enrollment services, either at PPNC’s health center, where we have dedicated staff available to provide hands-on application assistance, or through the New York State of Health website.

Education Update

Teen Pregnancy Rates Continue to Decline
Every year, more than 32,000 people turn to PPNC for sex education workshops that help prevent pregnancy and disease, stimulate positive family communication and empower people of all ages to make a lifetime of healthy, responsible decisions.

Now, there’s new proof that these programs are helping to make a difference: the latest statistics, from 2008 to 2011, show the teen pregnancy rate dropped 58 percent in Roosevelt, 22% in Hempstead and 21% in Westbury.

PPNC is the primary provider of sexuality education and teen pregnancy prevention in these three at-risk communities. Our adult and peer-based educators are entrenched in the schools and known as go-to sources for sexual health information. We’re so grateful, that together with other community stakeholders, we’re successfully leading the way to improving young people’s health outcomes and ending teen pregnancy.

And the Winner Is…
PPNC Team.jpgA big part of preventing teen pregnancy is making sure that young people have access to reproductive health care – which, for a lot of teenagers, can be confusing, overwhelming and frightening.

To address this issue, PPNC’s Teen Advocate Project (TAP) peer educators and the peer groups from three other Planned Parenthood affiliates in the region each worked to create an educational video, easing young people’s concerns about a health center visit.

Once complete, we introduced and promoted the videos through an on-line contest, with voting in several different categories. The winners were announced at a party in New York City, which was attended by 200 peers, friends, family, Planned Parenthood staff and industry professionals. PPNC was thrilled and honored that our entry, “No Matter What You Heard,” took home three prizes: Best Cinematography, Most Likely to Change Behavior and Best Video.

Be sure to check out all the videos, and stay tuned in the coming months as our TAP teens will be using social media to further promote their video and engage young people in our targeted communities in teen pregnancy prevention.

Meet Our New Educators
PPNC’s education department is growing by leaps and bounds, and we’re thrilled to welcome two new sexuality educators to our family: Michael Groover and Jonathan Rodriguez.

Michael, who worked as a Peer Educator at the Nassau County EOC, heralds from Freeport, giving him insight into how to expand our programs and services into this targeted community. And Jonathan, a recent college graduate with experience in engaging young people, brings great passion and energy to our work with at-risk youth.

After extensive training, both Michael and Jonathan have started providing evidence-based programs and workshops on birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, anatomy, puberty and healthy relationships. In addition, they will be ramping up our outreach efforts towards young men by updating a sexual health program for boys in middle school, providing more testicular health workshops, and conducting targeted street outreach.

Legislators Invest in PPNC’s Programs
This year, PPNC received two legislative grants to help underwrite our sexuality education programs. Thanks to funding from Legislator Charles Lavine, our educators will be able to conduct workshops for nearly 1,000 community members and provide information and education to Spanish-speaking women and students on the college campuses. In addition, a grant from Legislator Michelle Schimel will help support the work of our Teen Advocate Project (TAP), including trainings for the peer educators, workshops and outreach activities for teens in at-risk communities, and posting positive sexual health information on social media sites.

We are so truly grateful to Legislators Lavine and Schimel for their amazing support, and for championing the health and well-being of the people in our community!

Legislative Update  

Birth Control is Not My Boss’ Business
On March 25, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Conestoga Woods v. Sebelius, two cases where private corporations have sought to claim a religious exemption to the birth control benefit introduced under the Affordable Care Act.

A ruling in favor of these companies could create a slippery slope where employers would be able to deny coverage to their employees for any health care decision to which they object, as well as open the door for employers and businesses to discriminate in other ways against women and minorities based on their own personal beliefs. Preventive care, including birth control, is basic health care for women – and the decision to use birth control is between a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss.

During the arguments, hundreds of Planned Parenthood and women’s health supporters rallied outside the Supreme Court, holding a banner stating “birth control is not my boss’ business” signed by more than 130,000 people from across the country. We are continuing to keep our advocates involved and up-to-date on this issue, as a ruling is expected sometime this month.

Celebrating Victories in the States
In North Dakota, a federal district court judge ruled that the state’s “Heartbeat” Law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable (which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy) is unconstitutional and permanently enjoined its enforcement.

And in Arizona, the U.S Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the state’s restrictions on the abortion pill—some of the most extreme in the country that severely limited women’s access to medication abortion—should be struck down while the litigation surrounding these restrictions is resolved.

There’s also good news coming out of South Carolina, where lawmakers concluded their legislative session without passing two dangerous bills to limit access to abortion: one to criminalize the procedure after 20 weeks and another to require abortion providers to have admitting privileges from local hospitals.

Doctors Sue Over Revocation of Privileges in Texas
Texas recently-upheld a law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Two Texas doctors with admitting privileges filed a lawsuit on April 17th after a Dallas hospital revoked their privileges on grounds that their providing abortions is “disruptive behavior.” Texas law forbids a hospital from discriminating against doctors for performing abortions. A Dallas County judge issued a temporary restraining order reinstating the doctors’ privileges.

 Making Our Voices Heard at Day of Action

Earlier this year, PPNC’s staff and advocates joined hundreds of supporters from across the state for the Family Planning Advocate’s Annual Day of Action in Albany.

During the event, we called our legislators off the floors of the Assembly and Senate, speaking to them about the importance of family planning funding and the Women’s Equality Act.

Thanks to this opportunity to meet face-to-face with our elected officials, we were successful in reversing a planned decrease in family planning funding. Moreover, our advocates had the chance to learn more about our issues and share organizing tactics with other women’s health activists.

April in Paris Annual Gala
1 CEO, Chairs, Honorees, Board Chair.jpgAt this year’s annual gala, April in Paris, more than 225 guests were whisked away to a French springtime paradise, where they dined, danced, mingled—and helped raise over $250,000 to benefit PPNC’s programs and services!

During the event, we honored longtime supporters, Jane and Marty Schwartz, who received PPNC’s Margaret Sanger Award in recognition of their outstanding commitment to the health and well-being of the people in our community. This inspiring couple has a strong passion for protecting women’s health and rights and the mission of Planned Parenthood. They have marched on Washington, supported our advocacy campaigns in battle ground states, and helped provide essential health care and sexuality education through their unparalleled support or our fundraising efforts.

2 PPNC College Interns.jpgThe night’s festivities also included a moving and inspiring spoken word piece written and performed by PPNC’s college student interns, a photo booth, and fabulous live and silent auction prizes.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s gala such a success, including our creative and enthusiastic co-chairs, Francesca Laplaige, Ronnie Lavine, Audrey Schein and Ellen Waldman.
We Can't Do It Without You

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