Moving Forward Newsletter Fall 2018

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Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Newsletter



FALL 2018


Sheboygan’s New Health Center

Our Doors Are Open!

Together, We Are Unstoppable For more than 80 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has been standing strong for women and families. Today, when it seems like there are more threats than ever, PPWI is doing one of the things we do best — rising to meet these challenges. Together with you, we’ve created a history of overcoming obstacles and continuing on our path forward. The current threats to Title X funding, which benefits more than 31,000 Planned Parenthood patients in Wisconsin — along with the US Supreme Court nomi-

nation of Brett Kavanaugh, who threatens the future of women’s reproductive freedom — make this moment particularly challenging. Under the current administration’s proposed Title X ‘gag’ rule, medical staff at Planned Parenthood would be forced to withhold information from patients about all of their pregnancy options. This would include women whose lives are at risk due to a pregnancy. As I am writing this message, the hearings have just begun, and we know that Brett Kavanaugh has a dangerous track record of trying to block access to birth control and abortion care. His confirmation to the Supreme Court would seriously threaten the future of Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood, however, is determined to persevere — as we always have. We have never backed down and have continued to be there for the people who need us. Today is no different. Every day, many of our patients overcome significant obstacles simply to access the health care they need. They remind us why we must perservere: “Planned Parenthood was there for me when I was a victim of an attack.” — Meredith “My partner was HIV positive. I never knew the entire time we were together. Planned Parenthood was

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amazing and helped me through the most difficult time of my life. Your ability to make me feel cared for and comfortable during a time of loss, distress, confusion, fear, worry is amazing to say the least.” — Jeremy “I was living in a car with a 3-month-old baby and a oneand-a-half-year-old. Planned Parenthood was the only one who was there for me when I was in need.” — Pamela While the threat to people’s health and reproductive rights is very real, we see a path forward. With your

support, we built a new health center in Milwaukee last fall, and recently opened a new health center in Sheboygan. In this issue, you will read about the Sheboygan Health Center and our expanded services in Northeast Wisconsin. PPWI will continue to fight for our patients’ access to medically ethical care. We can do this because we have visible and dedicated supporters — like Genie Smith and her daughter Maggie, who are profiled in this issue. Together we continue to make history and build a world where all people have the freedom to control their own lives. Together, we are powerful. Together, we are unstoppable!

Getting to know Wisconsin Avenue Health Center Manager Adina Maruri transferred to my first job at PPWI, as a bilingual registered health assistant (RHA) at the Mitchell Street Health Center in Milwaukee. As a Spanish speaker, I was excited to work with the community and help people get the health care they needed. In 2014, the health center manager position became available at the Wisconsin Avenue Health Center, and I started working here.” What is it like working at the busiest PP health center in the state? What is your day-to-day like? “It’s very busy, all the time! My job is to implement systems that help improve patient experiences, like reducing wait times. The rest of my job involves employee management. Our main goal is to improve care, so that is what I am working on every day. This health center is often a pilot site for new procedures. Currently, we are rolling out an additional test used to identify antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea which has been on the rise in Wisconsin.” What are some things you’d like people to know about PPWI?

PPWI’s providers are among the best-trained and most experienced in sexual and reproductive health. It’s what they do — all day, every day. Adina Maruri is the health center manager at the Wisconsin Avenue Health Center, which sees the highest volume of patients in the state.

Hello, Adina! You have been with PPWI for about seven years. How did you first get involved with PPWI. “I first visited Planned Parenthood in Racine as a teenager, at the suggestion of my mother. She knew the importance of getting good health care, and a group of my girlfriends and I went. So PPWI has been in my life a long time. I was a biology major in college, and I waitressed – I really loved the human interaction of waitressing. These skills

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that we only treat women — that’s simply not true. We see lots of male patients who come in for STD testing and other services. We want people to know we are here for them, no matter their gender. I also want people to know that our patients can usually get an appointment at a PPWI health center much sooner than at other health care providers. For example, if you have a urinary tract infection, you need to get treated immediately. We really make an effort to get patients in a lot faster — even if they’ve never been seen by us before.” Thanks, Adina! Your compassionate care is what PPWI is all about! PPWI offers compassionate, nonjudgmental care, backed by medical experts and more than 100 years of research in reproductive health.

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Planned Parenthood Expands Services When PPWI was notified the lease for its Sheboygan Health Center would not be renewed, we understood the negative impact closing the center would have on public health. An essential health care provider in Sheboygan for more than 45 years, PPWI decided not to let that happen. The organization quickly mobilized staff and supporters to preserve PPWI’s services in the area. Sheboygan County has a real need for providers like Planned Parenthood. Not only are STD rates on the rise, there is also a lack of access to health care providers. Nearly 50 percent of women ages 18-44 live in medically underserved areas of the county, and care options are even more limited for those without health insurance and living in poverty. With over half of PPWI’s Sheboygan patients living below the federal poverty level, PPWI is an important resource. The Sheboygan Health Center sees an average of 2,100 patient visits annually, providing more than 3,200 birth control and emergency contraception units, and 1,700 STD and HIV tests.1 Without the center, there would be a gap in service for patients who depend on PPWI for their care. Fortunately, PPWI has many longtime supporters in the community who stepped up and helped the center find a new home. During the search, the Wholistic Health Center offered a temporary location, allowing PPWI to continue providing limited family planning services, while service

hours at the Manitowoc Health Center were expanded to accommodate patients traveling from Sheboygan in need of more extensive care. After several months, work began on a suitable new location, and PPWI celebrated its opening in May 2018. The newly remodeled, state-of-the-art health center was partially funded by our amazing supporters, and offers the full range of Planned Parenthood’s reproductive and preventive health care services, including cancer screenings, pregnancy testing, birth control, well woman checkups, STD testing and treatment, testicular exams, sex education, as well as referrals for prenatal care, adoption, and cancer treatment. PPWI also introduced four new services at the center: endometrial biopsy, early pregnancy complication assessment, polyp removal, and medication abortion. “Women travel from northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula all the way to Madison or Milwaukee as their only option to receive abortion care. We knew we could help meet this critical need by expanding medication abortion to our new Sheboygan health center,” commented PPWI President and CEO Tanya Atkinson. PPWI is extremely grateful to the generous donors and volunteers who rallied in support of the Sheboygan community — helping PPWI’s patients stay safe, healthy and strong. 1

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PPWI Data from 2015-2017

at New Health Center in Sheboygan! Dear Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin: At the age of 16, when I was having sex with my boyfriend for the second time, the condom came off. I visited Planned Parenthood of Sheboygan the following day to receive Plan B and start taking the pill. I was treated with compassion and care, and an unwanted teen pregnancy was prevented that day. I continued to receive preventative birth control from Planned Parenthood of Sheboygan for years. I continued taking the pill for several years, until I changed to an IUD. I had to pay nothing, which was wonderful for a college student without any extra money. I am now 30 years old. I have a masters degree, a great career, a loving spouse, and a second baby on the way. Both of my pregnancies were planned and wanted. I never needed to have an abortion because Planned Parenthood of Sheboygan was there when I needed preventative care. I am now a monthly donor, because I want others to continue to access the necessary services that Planned Parenthood provides. Thank you for all that you do!


Celebrating the opening of the new health center along with PPWI were members of the faith community, who penned a letter in support of PPWI’s work in the community, which appeared in the Sheboygan Press Letter to the editor: We, as faith leaders of Ebenezer United Church of Christ, Sheboygan, affirm that all are — mind, body, and spirit — a reflection of the multifaceted image and likeness of God. We further affirm the necessity of the safety and care of this vessel through which we experience, serve, and navigate the world. We, therefore, are vested in securing access to health services, education, and resources for all. Thus, we celebrate the presence of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin in our community. We are grateful for the blessing of their compassion, professional staff, knowledge, and skills as they expand their resources to meet the growing needs of all our neighbors and serve us in greater ways as they seek to facilitate our health and well-being. We pray for our local and state leaders, that they may listen to the voices and respectfully consider the needs of all constituents. We pray for those who have been waiting for access to the care, education, support, and dignity that Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin affords them. And, we pray that we, the people, may be blessed with the wisdom and courage to listen and learn, to wait and see, to seek and discover the ways in which Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin can make a difference in our community as we open our hearts to one another and the diversity of our needs. With Gratitude and Respect, Rev. Alex Cade-White Rev. Dr. Roger Mealiff Rev. Lorri Steward Fall 2018 | 5

In her own words: Genie Smith, PPWI Board Member ently than her son. Her expectation for all of us was to try our best. She made it very clear that gender should never be an issue when pursuing your goals. I’m sure I was naïve, but I really took that to heart. I was genuinely surprised and appalled in college when a professor dismissed me with a misogynistic remark, which of course, only propelled me further. I was lucky enough to grow up when the nation’s view of women was drastically changing. The birth control pill and Roe v. Wade brought about the largest productivity gains this country has seen. Allowing women to control their bodies and reproductive rights is deeply personal to me. I want to be seen as a human being with equal rights. That is not possible without the ability to control your own health care and body. My first interaction with PPWI came when I was in college. I received helpful information and care in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Through the years, I’ve had friends and neighbors on the board at PPWI. Several years ago, I attended a luncheon as a guest of PPWI board member Edie Brengel Radtke and I was so inspired by the speakers and electricity in the crowd, I started buying my own tables…lots of them. Two of my guests now buy their own tables at these events, too. When I finally retired from the financial services industry, I needed something to inspire me to leave my house. I found it in PPWI. I started attending finance committee meetings at the invitation of Edie and board member Andrea Khan. 6 | Moving Forward

Not long afterward, I joined the board. Today, I serve as the finance committee chair. I was reluctant at first to join, as I didn’t know what I could offer. Aside from my financial skills, I learned the best

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I’m a first generation American. My parents came to the U.S. from Greece for my father to get his Ph.D. in biochemistry and physiology. My mother, Maria, is one of the strongest women I know. Although fluent in Greek and French, she spoke no English when they moved to Memphis, Tenn. She never once treated her daughters differ-





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thing I can do is be visible as a supporter of PPWI, women, and families. Given some of the misguided animosity in today’s environment about PP, it’s important I let my friends know about the incredible service PPWI provides to their patients. More than once, I’ve been embraced by friends and thanked for my work. I’ve been met with silence on a few occasions, but those are few and far between. I never thought my daughter and her generation’s ability to receive services and accurate information with respect to reproductive health care would be in such jeopardy. I do think the younger generation took for granted the hardfought gains of the ‘60s and ‘70s. I am deeply heartened there has been a reawakening and a passion stirred in the nation following years of complacency and the chipping away of reproductive rights. I’m also immensely proud of my daughter and her fellow medical students at UW-Madison. A few years ago, what started as a Facebook message among friends morphed into an impassioned letter with signatures from more than 300 physicians around the state, hand-delivered by roughly 50 medical students to Paul Ryan’s office in Janesville, asking that he not defund Planned Parenthood. As medical students, they see PPWI as an indispensable service to women and families. It shouldn’t be politicized. In January 2017, I saw many of those same students at the State Capitol, lobbying their representatives wearing “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” t-shirts. I could not have been more proud.

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It is easy to think all is lost with this current administration. One trip into PPWI’s offices and my faith in humanity is restored. The leadership and staff at PPWI never waiver from their mission, and always strive for new

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ways to bring safer, more affordable, and compassionate care. No matter what. I am so honored to be a part of this amazing group of women and men. Their passion and commitment to bringing needed care and education truly light a fire in me to be better and do more. To quote a phrase, “Find your tribe, love them hard.” I intend to keep doing that as long as they’ll have me.

Getting to know PPWI advocate Maggie Smith, daughter of Genie Smith

I’m a fourth year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood. I’ve known that I wanted to become a doctor from as early as I can remember. Although we didn’t have any physicians in the family, my mother served as an important role model to me. Growing up, I saw my mother work hard every day at a job she loved. I’d listen to her take work calls and hear her speak in intensely technical language and use logic to solve complex problems. Because of her, I knew that becoming a strong female leader and an intensely devoted mother were not mutually exclusive roles. In the coming months, I’ll graduate and receive my medical degree. I am pursuing a residency in the field of Anesthesiology. I still have many years of training ahead of me, and I’m lucky to have my mother as such a strong supporter by my side. After my mother retired from her full-time job in finance, she started regularly attending meetings and philanthropic events for PPWI. I’d get phone calls and voicemails from her after these events, where she’d

describe how energized she felt by the individuals she met there who were fighting for women’s health care and the ability to control their reproductive health. I had never heard my mother speak so passionately before. Her drive and enthusiasm were contagious.

I started talking to my classmates in medical school about PPWI and found that many were already looking for ways to get involved. Together, my mother and I were able to help ten of my classmates attend the 80th anniversary celebration for PPWI and hear Gloria Steinem speak. Later that year, when the Senate was moving to remove a critical source of federal funding from Planned Parenthood that would jeopardize preventive services to tens of thousands of patients around the state, I looked to these classmates to stand by my side as advocates. Together, we wrote a letter that was signed by more than 300 health care professionals in the state of Wisconsin and we traveled to Representative Paul Ryan’s office in Janesville to hand-deliver it. I want to see a future where patients can obtain affordable reproductive health care. I want patients to receive safe and reliable birth control in an environment that is free from stigma and outside influence. I want men and women to feel empowered to make decisions about their sexual health in cooperation with their doctors, and not fed state-sanctioned misinformation. When my mother saw others standing up for PPWI, she inspired me to do the same. I went to my classmates. We went to a congressman. Our voices are exponentially more powerful when we raise them together.

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JOIN PPWI’S FRIENDS AND ADVOCATES AT OUR 2018 ANNUAL EVENTS Madison Dinner Wednesday, October 17 - 5:00 to 7:30 pm Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center Purchase tickets at

Milwaukee Luncheon Friday, October 26 - 11:00 am to 1:30 pm Italian Community Center Purchase tickets at

Thank you Appleton supporters for an amazing event!

© 2018 Planned Parenthood® of Wisconsin, Inc. 302 North Jackson Street Milwaukee, WI 53202

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