By Lori Lamerand
As Planned Parenthood participates in Pride events statewide this month, we join in applauding the progress we’ve made together on behalf of gender equality over the past year. We continue to fight attempts by Michigan legislators to allow medical providers to refuse to treat patients with whom they morally disagree. We’ve worked to support local ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. And nationally, we have joined the fight for the fundamental right to marry. We understand issues like marriage equality are rooted in social justice principles that also underlie reproductive freedom. Politicians should not get to decide what you do with your body or what your family looks like.
There are a lot of reasons to celebrate Pride this year — let’s make your health one of them. Don’t let Planned Parenthood’s name fool you. Whether or not biological parenthood is in your future, we’re here to meet a broad array of sexual health care needs, from testing and treatment of STDs, to HIV testing, to well-woman annual exams. Last year, we conducted more than 48,800 STD tests across Michigan; 12,600 HIV tests, and more than 800 procedures to diagnose and treat pre-cancerous cells of the cervix. Many of our patients were treated free or on a sliding fee scale. For most, a trip to Planned Parenthood was the only health care they received last year.
We recognize that access to affordable, quality sexual health care can be an obstacle for many in the LGBTQ community. In addition to high rates of stress due to systematic harassment and discrimination — which has been shown to affect physical and mental health — LGBTQ patients face low rates of health insurance coverage, high rates of HIV/AIDS and cancer, and high rates of discrimination from medical providers. LGBTQ people of color are at an even higher risk for these disparities.
We have 17 health centers statewide including seven in greater metro Detroit: Ferndale, Detroit, Warren, Livonia, Ypsilanti and two in Ann Arbor. We work hard to overcome barriers to good health with compassionate, non-judgmental care in an environment of respect. Our doors are open to everyone–it’s a source of pride.
To make an appointment or get further information, call 1-800-230-PLAN, or go to http://www.plannedparenthooddetroit.org.