“Agency on solid footing with WIC contract choice” (Our Views, Oct. 9) contained little of the reality of what Planned Parenthood stands for and the work it does daily in Oklahoma with families. Yes, this includes women with children.
For the past 18 years, Planned Parenthood has been a provider for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in the Tulsa area, serving thousands of women and children. Taking WIC from Planned Parenthood was a political maneuver by some Oklahoma politicians to defund the organization. It came on the heels of attempts by the Legislature to reallocate state funding away from nonprofit organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
That legislation failed — as it should have. Now, with just one week's notice and only vague details, the state decided not to renew our WIC contract. Planned Parenthood was the only WIC provider in Tulsa County not to get a renewed contract.
Planned Parenthood's top priority is ensuring that women continue to have access to WIC services without interruption from a provider that they know and they trust. More than 50 percent of all infants born in Oklahoma get WIC services. How does eliminating the number of service sites help these infants?
Many Oklahoma families are struggling financially; eliminating three sites that provide more than 38,000 WIC visits annually would only make it harder for these women and their children to meet their basic food needs.
To claim that WIC funds would be better used by other providers is an insult to the thousands of women who consider Planned Parenthood their primary care provider. Women have different reasons for choosing Planned Parenthood, but the No. 1 reason is that they trust us to provide quality health care, including annual exams, Pap tests and breast exams, at a price they can afford.
Some politicians will stop at nothing — even using infants and children as political pawns — in their vendetta against Planned Parenthood. But we're not giving up on WIC funding in Tulsa. We will fight to regain our funding. We will continue serving our patients and our friends. We will fight this not because it serves Planned Parenthood's purposes, but because we owe it to the women and children we serve.
June is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.