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Planned Parenthood: Improving Population Health One Step at a Time

When students initially get accepted into college they expect to make new friends, explore new places, learn new things and much more but most never foresee having to deal with sexually transmitted diseases or unexpected pregnancies, among other things.

As much as we would all like to convince ourselves that we could never be in those situations, it could happen to the best of us no matter how careful we may be. Therefore it’s always nice to know our resources.

Luckily for the those that are in the Willimantic, Connecticut and surrounding area, Planned Parenthood of Willimantic prides itself on the care they provide for college students and other communities.

“This Planned Parenthood in Willimantic has been here since the 70s and along with all other locations we focus on population health which includes reducing unplanned pregnancies, reducing STI and STD rates through testing and treating, catching breast or cervical cancer before they turn into anything significant and just making our patients overall healthier,” said Beth Murana, Planned Parenthood of Willimantic manager.

“The most frequently requested services are STD testing and routine contraceptive methods because our patients mainly consist of students from UConn and Eastern Connecticut State University,” said Murana.

“We aim to provide a nonjudgmental atmosphere for students so they can come in here and feel like we’re on the same team with the same goal of preventing unwanted pregnancies or catching infections/diseases,” said Murana. “ People need to get the care they need and not be concerned with their image or privacy.”

Although Planned Parenthood offers a variety of services to improve and maintain sexual health, it’s primarily known in society for the abortion services they offer.

Abortions are one of the options available for unplanned pregnancies, but it receives the most backlashes from pro-life supporters.

Now more than ever under the Trump Administration, anti-abortion lawmakers and supporters are threatening to cut Planned Parenthood’s federal funds due to the current abortion services they offer.

Defunding Planned Parenthood would imply cutting federal grants like Title X Family Planning and preventing patients with Medicaid insurance from getting Planned Parenthood services, Murana said.

These two federal programs essentially provide the organization with the money it needs to provide affordable care to patients, but it’s not the organization’s only form of income. According to Murana, Money also comes from other major health insurances, medical fees and even fundraisers.

“In Willimantic, we can provide patients with a sliding scale based on their income that can slide their fees all the way down to $0, but if we were defunded that might no longer be available,” Murana said.

This could be devastating for Planned Parenthood, especially the Willimantic location, because they would lose a large section of their patients who rely on low cost services or Medicaid insurance.

“It would be a shame to keep people from safe and affordable health care solely because of one service we offer especially since only 3% of the services we provide are abortion related,” Murana said.

It’s important to keep these services available for those who don’t have the financial means to afford this kind of care through primary care doctors. Stay informed and help the cause, collegiettes!

Photos Courtesy of Camila Vallejo


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