The Services of Planned Parenthood of NYC | Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed.TV

The Services of Planned Parenthood of NYC | Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed.TV


♪♪[THEME MUSIC]♪♪>>>BOB HERBERT: Hi I’m Bob
Herbert welcome to OP-ED. T.V. Few organizations elicit
the kind of fury that Planned Parenthood does. Some Republican lawmakers
have scaled the heights outrage to such a degree
that they have tried to shut down the entire
national government to prevent Planned Parenthood
from getting so much as one dollar in
federal funds. Why such venom for an
organization that provides a wide range of crucial health
services including contraception and prenatal care
to millions of American women? We’ll try to find out
from I guest Joan Malin, president of Planned Parenthood
of New York City and Louis Marchena, director of its Youth
Education Programs. Welcome. Thank you so much for
coming in. I appreciate it. So let’s start with an
overview sort of looking at this nationally.
Abortion rights always come up when we’re talking
about Planned Parenthood. Who at the moment, and I
guess it depends on where you live in the country,
but who has access to affordable and safe
abortions pretty easily and who does
not right now?>>>JOAN MALIN: Well I mean
abortion was made safe and legal in this country in
1973 with the Roe decision and women do rely on that
as they rely on the full range of reproductive
health care services. In the last few years from
2010 on there been more than two hundred
restrictions passed by state legislatures in more
than twenty states and those restrictions, they include
owners restrictions on buildings. Waiting periods,
scripting doctors, mandatory ultrasounds, all
in the guise of protecting women’s health but really
fundamentally what it’s about is ensuring that
women cannot get to an abortion. And so many states around
the country have far fewer clinics and centers.
Great example is Texas. There laws, and up
until five years ago, they had more than forty
centers throughout the state and the state is
actually the size of France, I mean, this is
a huge piece of land, those forty clinics are
now down to eight clinics and those clinics are
now in urban areas. So what that means is that
in broad rural areas women would have to travel more
than five hundred miles to gain access to
abortion care.>>>BOB HERBERT: Now
this might seem obvious to viewers in a metropolitan
area like New York but why is it important at this
stage of the game for women to have
access to abortion?>>>JOAN MALIN: Abortion
is one of you know several basic primary women’s
health care services and women need to be able to
take care of themselves, to find reproductive
health care and if they need an abortion to know
that they’re going to be able to get one
that is safe, that is legal and
that is affordable. Many women make the
decision because it’s for their future, for the
future of their families and we sometimes forget
the fact that many women who do obtain an
abortion are mothers. And what they’re
really focusing on is; I need to take care of
the kids that I have. And it can be
economic issues, it can be social issues,
but fundamentally it’s about every woman being
able to make the best decision for
herself and her family. And that’s why this to
me is a fundamental human right because if you
take it away you’re really saying that women are
second class citizens.>>>BOB HERBERT:
And Ms. Marchena, you take care of the Youth
Education Programs of Planned Parenthood here in
New York City so when we start talking about young
women and in some cases young girls,
explain sort of the, some of the consequences
of unwanted pregnancies.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: Well
unfortunately some of the young women don’t
know they have access to reproductive health care. And so what winds up
happening is when a young person has an unintended
pregnancy they don’t know what their options are. So they don’t know that
they have resources like Planned Parenthood and
other health centers- >>>BOB HERBERT: And we’re
not just talking about abortions here, we’re
talking about birth control and
other services.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: We’re
talking about prenatal care. A lot of young women
don’t know that they have prenatal care if they have
an unintended pregnancy and they plan
to carry it out. And so what we try to do
is really provide that information to
young women. We provide workshops and
resources but we also talk to the fifty percent of
the population that has to do with that unintended
pregnancy so we also offer a lot of services for young
men. So the conversation is about both young
men and young women. We try not to leave anyone
out of the equation.>>>BOB HERBERT: Which is
something that I think really gets overlooked, the role of
guys here, but I cut you off. Go ahead.>>>JOAN MALIN: What I
was going to say is, you know, our sexuality
education and Louise and her team do a brilliant
job of going into schools, afterschool programs,
settlement houses, libraries,
community centers, even into
church basements, we talk with parents, we
talk with young people, it’s all about trying to
get out information and it’s not just
contraception, which is very very important,
we want to bring down the rate of unintended
pregnancies but we also want people to have good
healthy relationships. So our sexuality education
deals with gender violence. It deals with
sexual identity. It deals with
accessing services. It deals with understanding
your own body. Consent. I mean a whole variety
of issues and Louise can speak to this far more
eloquently than I can but we fundamentally believe
that these are the values of our community. We, like every other
organization in the city that works in social
services and I have a lot of colleagues in
settlement houses, we all want kids
to grow up great. We want them to have
the information that they need, we want them to
feel empowered about their body, about making good
decisions for themselves and planning their future. And that’s why it’s so
frustrating to be attacked all the time because we’re
about helping young people figure out their lives. We’re not taking that away
and the whole notion of you know taking away the federal funding
for Planned Parenthood, there is no federal funding
used for abortion. Taking federal
dollars away from us- >>>BOB HERBERT: That’s
what a lot of people don’t understand that either. No money from the federal
government is used by Planned Parenthood
for abortion services.>>>JOAN MALIN: Right. So if you take away the
federal funding you take away contraception, you
take away HIV testing, you take away counseling,
you take away our educational
program, cancer screening, I mean it’s counterintuitive
and it’s really wrong.>>>BOB HERBERT: So I’m old
enough to remember the era before Roe v Wade and
I guess in most places abortion was illegal.>>>JOAN MALIN: 1970 in New York
state but before that illegal here.>>>BOB HERBERT: Right. For the women who do not
have access to abortions now in many parts of the country
do we know what’s going on? Are there
similar problems? Are there the
illegal abortions? Are there the
health dangers?>>>JOAN MALIN: Look what’s
true is that if a woman is going to make the decision
to have an abortion she’s going to figure
out how to have it. What you want is
for it to be safe, legal,
affordable, confidential, in the best quality
of care imaginable. And that’s what we fight
for and that’s what we think makes such a big
difference and I worry that women will not know that
those services are available. I mean even here in New
York you know there’s many new communities, immigrant
communities they may not know about
Planned Parenthood. They may come from countries
where it’s been illegal and not know that they can come in
for good quality services.>>>BOB HERBERT: Now we’ll
talk more about what’s going on here in New York
City but there’s another national issue that I want to
address at least briefly. And that is this whole
controversy that Planned Parenthood is somehow
involved in the illegal sale of fetal tissue. Can
you put that to rest?>>>JOAN MALIN: Yes. This is basically a
campaign by anti-abortion extremists who created
very heavily edited videos all geared to try and show
us, Planned Parenthood, doing something illegal
or doing something wrong. And the videos are just, they’re
lies. They’re just lies. And I should say, just
sort of, new paragraph. I mean, fetal tissue
donation is a good thing. It’s used for research,
it’s very very important. And the federal law allows
you to transport and store fetal tissue for research. We here in New York City
do not do fetal tissue donation. There are several of
my affiliate sisters in California and in another
state that do it and it’s a good thing that they
do it and it’s been blown completely out
of proportion. Really fundamentally to
get at the question of there is a
group, minority, that wants to deny
access to abortion. That’s really
what this is about.>>>BOB HERBERT: So
in New York you have, well now you have clinics
in all five boroughs right? You have a new
one in Queens so- >>>JOAN MALIN:
Very proud to say.>>>BOB HERBERT: Talk about
what you guys are doing right here in
New York City.>>>JOAN MALIN: Well I will
talk about our clinical and our health care work
and I’ll let Louise go through all of our
educational work, which we’re very
very proud of. So we serve now fifty
thousand patients women and men. The overwhelming majority of our
patients are women in their 20’s. We provide the full range
of reproductive health care services and
that’s cancer screening, GYN exams, breast
exams, HIV testing, STI testing,
birth control, counseling, and we also encourage men to
come in for testing. It’s a big part
of what we do. We recently opened up a
new center in Queens, which I am
delighted about. It’s a two story building
right in Long Island City where all the
trains come in. And my hope is that it
will serve as diverse a population as the borough
of Queens and I think we’re pretty much on our
way because we’ve only been open for two
months, we’ve met, served more than thirteen
hundred patients and they come from fifty countries. The other piece that we do
in our clinical services is that, as I said, it
does provide counseling but we also have
financial counselors. So if you qualify for
Medicaid or commercial insurance we have staff
that’s going to help you get onto health insurance that
makes the most sense for you. And if you can’t afford
it we still provide the services regardless of
your ability to pay. And we have another
program called Project Street Beat, which is a
mobile medical unit that goes out to folks most at
risk in the community of HIV, and these are people
living on the streets, commercial sex
workers, shelters, and there we
provide testing, counseling, dignity packs,
really work with people to make them aware of the
risks and in the hopes that we can help, if
they are positive, link them to
care and if not, help them really address
some of the risk factors in their lives to
keep them safe.>>>BOB HERBERT:
What’s a dignity pack?>>>JOAN MALIN:
Toothpaste, deodorant, soap, if you’re living
on the street those are really important elements
of like taking care of yourself. And it’s a way of
developing a relationship with someone in the
hope that eventually that person will come in our
mobile medical unit where we have a provider. We can provide reproductive
health care services. Even IUDs on the
mobile medical unit, which is long term acting
reversible contraception, which is great but
fundamentally it’s a chance for them to get
some basic health care and then we can continue
that relationship.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: And
also HIV rapid testing.>>>JOAN MALIN: And HIV
rapid testing is a big part of what we do.>>>BOB HERBERT:
What’s HIV rapid testing?>>>JOAN MALIN: You can get
a test and you can get the results within
fifteen minutes.>>>BOB HERBERT:
Oh my goodness. So talk somewhat about the
youth services and what the population is that’s
accessing these services.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: Well, I
mean, we do education for
all New Yorkers so the education and training
department actually services about twenty
six thousand New Yorkers a year with reproductive
health education and outreach. We provide workshops to
not only young people but we see it as an ecological
framework where we’re meeting the community
where they’re at so we provide workshops to
youth but we also provide workshops to parents. So we need to get the
parents involved in order, it takes a village really. So we definitely want the
parents involved in the sexuality education
work that we’re doing with their young people.>>>BOB HERBERT: And when
you talk about youths what ages are you
talking about?>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: We’re
talking, I mean, that’s a difficult
question because I think people define
youth differently. We really try to reach
young people between the ages of eleven
to twenty four. Some people don’t consider
twenty four as a youth but->>>BOB HERBERT: I do.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: And
it just depends on the information and where
they’re getting their information from so we
really do try to provide information that’s
age appropriate. Along with providing
workshops for parents and for young people we also provide
workshops for professionals. For the other
professionals that are working with young
people that we may not necessarily reach so that
we’re covering all the bases in the communities
and we’re creating a community of
askable adults. So whether we come in and
provide a workshop for a young person in a
school or community based organization or faith
based organization, because we’ve done
basement churches and we want to make sure that
when we leave we are providing information to
the adults that are in the lives of these
young people.>>>JOAN MALIN: I just
want Louise to tell the wonderful story about
our work with the Queen’s Library because
people I don’t think fully appreciate what library’s
are like but more importantly the importance
of integrating sexual education and
health into that work. So->>>LOUISE MARCHENA: Well,
a few years ago some of the librarians from the
Queens Public Library actually approached us
and said that they were getting multiple questions
from young people about reproductive health so
either they were pregnant and they needed services
but the librarians didn’t feel equipped to provide
them with the right information. We have the Internet.
It’s an age of information but not everything
on the Internet is accurate. So they actually reached
out to us and so from that endeavor we created what’s
called a capacity building program. And we were able to go
into the Queens Public Library and train over
one hundred librarians as askable adults and so now
they can actually talk to young people that come
into the library and provide information and
what capacity building does is that it
offers three things, it offers an organization
the ability to look at their values and how
reproductive health fits into those values and how
they can talk about that without compromising the mission
and values of their work. And then it trains the
staff to do the work and also offers technical
assistance moving forward. And we’ve had quite
a few partnerships. We work with the Fresh Air
Fund. And we work with a few of the settlement
houses in Queens as well.>>>BOB HERBERT: So
we hear about all the controversies nationally
with regard to Planned Parenthood but here in New
York do you guys run up against existence
especially when you’re providing services for
young people and that sort of thing or is it much
easier sailing here?>>>JOAN MALIN: It’s
easier sailing but it is, we have demonstrators.
The number of demonstrations and demonstrators have really
ratcheted up in the last couple years. And that’s pretty much at
Margaret Sanger but our other centers. I think among elected
officials there’s a fair amount of support but you
know there are parts of New York State that can look a
lot like the West and there’s a handful of state senators
even here in New York City that are not supportive of our
work. I mean, no organization has really said no
to us but it’s not necessarily->>>LOUISE MARCHENA: I think the
barriers are a little bit more subtle. So for example in New
York State there’s a mandate to provide health education
to middle school and high school
students, one semester, and part of that is to
provide reproductive health. However the schools aren’t
mandated to report back on whether that’s actually
happening so the sex education that’s part of
that mandate for young people varies widely
from student to student. And there was actually a
study done where one in every three students said
that they hadn’t had any reproductive health or sex
ed in their classroom and some also reported not
knowing if they actually had it or not so- >>>BOB HERBERT: I think
one of the things that’s astonishing and people
don’t recognize is the level of
ignorance about sex, sexuality, reproductive
health and that sort of thing and I saw that when
I was in the service so here you have these
fellows who were nineteen, twenty, twenty two, twenty
four years old and trust me, I mean, there were
things they just didn’t understand or they
had like these crazy misconceptions so it seems
to me that the education is so important, which
brings me to the issue, you guys have mentioned
a couple of times, about boys and men. What kind of services
do you provide for them?>>>JOAN MALIN: We do
provide clinical exams in our different centers.
We also provide exams for the range of sexuality so for
the L.G.B.T. community we want to be as inviting as possible.
We integrate L.G.B.T.Q. and transgender and male
questions or issues into our sex education. We want to
make it as inclusive as possible. We’ve had programs at
times that have really focused on young men
mostly in our educational work. And there it’s really
giving them a place to answer those questions
where they can feel like it’s
confidential and they can, safe, and then giving them the
information that they need and then we have teen center
nights where the young men will come in and just demystify
what is a health care center.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: They
get a tour of the health center so they have the
opportunity to actually see what’s behind those
doors? What is it like when I come in and they ask
me for my information? What is it like to
make an appointment? What is an appointment
like? What are my rights as a young person in
terms of reproductive health? What kind of questions
should I be asking my provider? What kind of questions
will my provider be asking me? So it really give them the
opportunity to de-mystify like, Oh I’m coming
in for an appointment, should I be nervous, which
most of them are and many young people are very
crisis focused so they only come in for an appointment
when there’s a crisis.>>>BOB HERBERT: And
many old people too.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA:
Well, that’s true. But, the center teen night
is really made to encourage them to do regular checkups
and regular treatment.>>>JOAN MALIN: The teen
advocates? Because a half of the teen advocates are men right?
Young men.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: That’s
right. Actually right now we have more young men
in the program then women->>>BOB HERBERT: In the
teen advocates program?>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: So
it’s a peer education program where we recruit
young people from the South Bronx, the Lower
East Side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and we
provide them with seventy five hours of reproductive
and sexual health training over the summer, they
have to take a final exam, which when I started I
couldn’t pass the final exam. They have to pass it
with an 85% or above.>>>BOB HERBERT: Really?>>>LOUISE MARCHENA: Well
the expectation is that we’re making young
people go out and provide workshops for their peers
so we want to make sure that they’re providing
accurate information, that they themselves
are askable peers and can actually go out and if
somebody asks them a question, feel confident
that they know the information.>>>BOB HERBERT: So you
have a new center in Queens.>>>JOAN MALIN:
The Diane L. Max Center.>>>BOB HERBERT: So
what’s it like there? What’s a typical day like?
What happens in the morning? Who walks in? What kind of
services are they looking for and what do you
guys do there?>>>JOAN MALIN: Well we
have a call center that has about sixteen staff. We field about two hundred
fifty thousand calls a year including web
requests for appointments. So people on our website
are encouraged to call in and to make an
appointment. We also though
allow people to make an appointment for that day
or next day so again we’re trying to make our services
as available as possible. So if you’ve made that
call you’ve talked to someone in the
call center, they’re going to ask you a
fair amount of questions about what’s going on,
what kind of appointment do you want,
what do you need, do you have insurance, are
you interested in finding out about insurance and
all of that is not to be intrusive, it’s really to
find out how do we make it the most efficient and
effective appointment when you get there. So when you get
there you’ll come in, you’re at the front desk,
you’ll talk to someone. If your language is not
English and you want to speak in another language
we have a language bank. We can offer over
hundred thirty languages. We have a significant
number of staff who are bilingual and medical
interpreter trained to be able to provide
services in Spanish. And so we can offer that. And you will come in,
go to the front desk, you will probably will see
a counselor who will ask questions about, just
making sure why you’re here, what you
need, what’s going on. If you’re a young person
and you’re under fifteen coming in front for an
abortion you will see a social worker because we
want to make sure you are fully
comfortable, you know, whatever anxieties you
have, whatever concerns, if you what your parents
there we can bring a parent in. If you don’t
that’s fine too, which is really working
with that young person- >>>BOB HERBERT:
Under fifteen?>>>JOAN MALIN:
Under fifteen and- >>>BOB HERBERT: And if
you’re fifteen do you need any parental
consent at all?>>>JOAN MALIN: You do not need
parental consent for contraception or any
reproductive health care services. If someone comes in
and presents though with other concerns or there’s other
issues around intimate partner violence or other
questions the social worker is there to see them as
well and can counsel them. And then if that’s not
needed the front desk, financial counseling about
your insurance and then on to your visit so our goal
is to get you in and out within an hour and a half.>>>BOB HERBERT: Wow. Are you
surprised that in 2015 there’s still a controversy over
birth control?>>>JOAN MALIN: Yes. I mean Planned Parenthood
was founded one hundred years ago in Brooklyn.
Margaret Sanger opened a small birth control
clinic on Pitkin Avenue. It was closed
down by the police. She opened it up again,
they closed it down again. And then she wound up you
know really fighting and was eventually able to
keep it open but that’s considered the start
of Planned Parenthood. And what, you know,
Sangar was a nurse. She saw many women
dying and their health compromised by not having
contraception and she really felt that birth
control was going to be the transformative
gain for women. And I think she was right. So
here fast forward to 2016, and 1916 is
when it opened, 2016 and we’re fighting
the same issues around contraception, around
access to care and whether women can fundamentally
have the right to make good decisions for
themselves and have access to basic good
birth control.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA:
And equal access.>>>BOB HERBERT:
Equal access. Right.>>>LOUISE MARCHENA:
Because people who are of lower income don’t necessarily
have the same kind of access.>>>BOB HERBERT: Which I
was going to ask you and we’re running out of time
but just a quick final question, this whole
idea of the hostility to reproductive rights and
Planned Parenthood in general, it just seems
to me that there’s a component in there
that has to do with the hostility to the
poor, hostility to ethnic minorities, I mean
is that true or- >>>JOAN MALIN: It
certainly feels that way and I do believe that
the issues of health care disparities and really
helping create a more equitable world I think
Planned Parenthood is part of that by providing
reproductive health care services to everyone regardless
of their ability to pay and I do feel that there
is a group that says no. And there’s a
group that says, well you know whether the
public dollars are there or not women will always figure out
how to get access to care. And that’s just not true. So
I do feel it is, I mean, talk about a
war on poverty, I mean, this is
really a war in many ways. And having said that, I do feel
like there has been progress. There’s many more
forms of birth control. We have a campaign called
Building Healthy Futures, which is really about
saying to young women you can take charge and figure
out what works for you and there’s a range of birth
control whether it’s an I.U.D., the pill,
condoms, you know, whatever, talk to someone
and find out what works for you. And that’s different and
that’s very important.>>>BOB HERBERT: So there is
reason to be optimistic.>>>JOAN MALIN: Yeah. And the Affordable Care Act now
says no co-pay, no deductible. I mean, President Obama
fought very hard for this and there too I think
there’s a step up for women. And now we’re just
suffering with this backlash, which will just,
we’re going to be successful. Too many women need these
services and too many people love Planned Parenthood.
So we will succeed.>>>BOB HERBERT:
Well thank you- no, sorry. Got to cut you off.
I’m really sorry. Thank you so much for
coming in Joan Malin, Louise Marchena, I
really appreciate it. We’ll be back in a
moment with a final word.>>>BOB HERBERT:
Politicians have always had a troubled
relationship with the truth. Cold hard facts are
often alien to them. But usually they are
careful not to blatantly lie to voters, which
is why Ben Carson is in danger of kissing
his always slender presidential
hopes goodbye. As Politico and other
publications have pointed out, Carson said on more
than one occasion that he had received a full
scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy
at West Point. That would have been
impossible because West Point has never
offered scholarships. To gain admission to the
military academy one has to be nominated by a
member of Congress or some other prominent government
or military official. Once admitted the education
is free to the applicant. No scholarship
is necessary. Carson also said he met
and had dinner in the late 1960’s with General William
C. Westmoreland soon after Westmoreland ended his command
of U.S. forces in Vietnam. No evidence has emerged that
such a meeting ever took place. There have been several
other claims and episodes offered by Carson that
appear to be dubious at best. In short, Ben Carson, a
celebrated neurosurgeon and bestselling author,
may be a troubled man who has great difficulty
negotiating the corridors of reality that most
of us take for granted. If that’s the
case he needs help. On the other hand,
given his successful track record it may be that
Ben Carson is crazy like a fox. A fox with goals other
than the presidency. Stay tuned. That’s all for now.
See you next time. ♪♪[THEME MUSIC]♪♪

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